Computing Teachers: Cuts by Local Authorities
CASScotland, Computing, News
Charlie Love
April 18, 2012
9

I’ve been looking at the statistics produced by local authorities in response to FOI requests by Kate (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/kate_farrell?page=1). It makes disturbing reading and provides real evidence of what we have, anecdotally, known for a long time: Computing is being cut almost across the board.

  • Highland Council is one to highlight in that in 2007/08 they had FTE in Computing of 29.7 and now they have FTE 17.1 – a cut of 42.4%
  • Scottish Borders didn’t provide any FTE figures but show in 07/08 a total of 12 computing teachers with computing available in all but 2 of their 9 schools. In 11/12 they have only 9 computing  teachers and computing is no longer available in 5 of the 9 schools. A 25% cut in staffing.

Also, having looked at the figures for some local authorities, I’m sure they have chosen to show the number of teachers rather than the FTE of the staff and it also looks like they have decided to show “Computing teachers” as a combination of Business Education and Computing (I may be wrong here, let me know if your local authority declared figures look questionable).

It’s a depressing picture which needs Government action to turn around. Mike Russell made some encouraging comments about Computing before Christmas but we’ve had silence since. Where do we go now?

9 Responses
  1. Hello,

    I have now had half of the Councils respond to my FOI request. I
    asked them how many Computing teachers work in Secondary
    schools in their local authority currently and how many Computing
    teachers worked in Secondary schools five years ago.

    I have collated the responses to these here:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjD1PWOzTKX8dDlrV1haT2otb2dGRXFZX0xBdTRtWlE

    I also did an FOI request to the SQA to find out which schools have
    presented students for various Computing subjects over the last ten
    years. There is a lot of data here but I think it might be useful
    when looking at particular schools. It does not include awards like
    PC Passport, Digital Media Computing and Computer Games Design. I
    will request this information though.
    This information is collated here:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjD1PWOzTKX8dGtYd2FaaWNJRWhOZmttYkl1b0pKdVE

    I still need more evidence and reports from teachers please! Let me know examples of where staffing has reduced, staff not replaced, and departments closed. I need examples of how much time your school gives in the timetable for ICT and Computing in S1-2 compared to other subjects (particularly Science). I need examples of schools where pupils are not getting level 3 and 4 Computing experiences. I need examples of schools where there is not a class limit of 20 (as is the case for other practical subjects) or where there isn’t a regular one-to-one ratio of pupils to computers.

    Email me at kate@katefarrell.co.uk.

    Cheers,

    Kate

  2. Hi Kate
    There is at least one error in the figures returned by Fife Council. Kirkcaldy High School has only 3 CS teachers this year and not 5 as stated. Some of the other school’s figures look bizarre to say the least. They may have given you Bus Ed/Comp faculty numbers instead of just CS teachers. If this is the case then any rise in Bus Ed/Admin/Enterprise uptake will mask the true state of the decline of CS. I can confirm that the uptake of CS has declined incredibly within the time frame of your FOI. E.g. From five S3 classes in 2007/8 down to only one for 2012/13!

    Cheers

    Stu

  3. The Scottish Borders figures look wrong to me but I might just be miscounting. I think there might be 9 teachers but pretty sure not all of them are full time Computing teachers. Having also looked at the comments from the schools one of them is really interesting since I know a Geography teacher is the only one doing ICT with them.

    The information about pupils being presented is also interesting and certainly for Galashiels it shows that the Standard Grade pupil numbers are rising and this has continued onto this years Higher numbers.

  4. East Lothian figures are slightly inaccurate, but not as bad as some! Dunbar Grammar went down to 1.0FTE on the 18th April (their response is dated the 23rd!). Ross indeed have 3 teachers but only an FTE of around 2.0 afaik. Knox currently have 0.8FTE, with 0.2 being made up by a Maths teacher (who I think is qualified in Computing, which would make that correct if so). We expect further reductions during this year due to retirements.

  5. For those of you fighting to retain or resurrect Computing in your school / local authority, you might find useful ammunition in this pack (which was designed for England, but could easily be adapted for Scotland):
    http://academy.bcs.org/category/16655

  6. I’d suggest Falkirk Councils figures for Falkirk High School are wrong at least. I did my probation year there from 2006 – 2007, and there was 3 FTE Computing Teachers there, as well as myself doing 0.7 probation, so their 1.5 FTE teachers looks way off. Think TracyP will back me up on that.

  7. Hi David,
    Part of the reason that I have been doing this research is that Quintin Cutts and I will be sending a similar pack to all Scottish schools.
    Cheers,
    Kate

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