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S1 E8 - Providing CPD as a Subject Leader with Stuart Rogers

The Subject Leaders Podcast From Aidan Severs Consulting S1 E8 - Providing CPD as a Subject Leader with Stuart Rogers

In this, the 8th episode of The Subject Leaders Podcast, Stuart Rogers, another Computing primary subject leader, answers the following questions:

  • How can subject leaders decide on what professional development needs there are?

  • How can subject leaders develop staff so that teaching and learning in their subject improves?

  • What are the implications and outcomes of using instructional coaching as a subject leader?

Find this podcast episode on your preferred podcast service:

Below you can find the transcript for this episode of The Subject Leaders Podcast:


[00:00:06.170] - Aidan

Welcome to the Subject leaders podcast. Stuart, can you tell us a little bit about you and where we can get in touch with you?

[00:00:14.690] - Stuart

Yeah. Hi, I'm Stuart Rogers. I'm a year five/six teacher in Cheshire. I'm the IT computing digital lead for our school. I'm a big Twitter user, so if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can use the handle of @StippleEffect to get in touch with me.

[00:00:35.530] - Aidan

Great. And can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a primary teacher and as a subject leader?

[00:00:44.350] - Stuart

Yeah, so I've been teaching now, I think it's my 27th year as a primary school teacher. During that time, I've mostly been IT computing lead, although I have also been PE lead as well. I have mostly taught year five and six during that time, with the odd dip into lower key stage two. But, yeah, it's generally speaking, because I'm a bit techie, computing, anything digital has been my remit in every school that I've worked in, from BBC Micros when I first started teaching, to now heavily I'm involved in Google workspace.

[00:01:22.650] - Aidan

So is computing, it your favourite subject to teach, or have you got some others as well?

[00:01:28.330] - Stuart

No, I do like teaching it, especially now. Obviously, we got AI coming along, but you take computer aided design, which is more of a new focus, even though it's been in the curriculum for a while. I just think the new opportunities, digital opportunities for children is so much greater than it's ever been. And obviously we're dealing with the PlayStation generation with these children who've been brought up with devices, so actually giving them scope to use these new bits of software or new devices where it's physical computing as well. I think it's just a great opportunity to develop their skills because particularly with physical computing as well, you take microbits, children aren't necessarily aware of these things. But I did computer aided design with my class a few weeks ago and because they're so used to using Minecraft and Roblox, for example, they just took to it like a duck to water. My examples were just fairly mediocre compared to what they put out. So I think there's a lot of creativity in computing, but I do like teaching other subjects, like, for example, design technology, which probably is a poorer relation in the curriculum, although it shouldn't be. That creativity aspect of them building things, making things, evaluating things. I think it's something we need to focus a bit more time on.

[00:02:48.310] - Aidan

Yeah, definitely. So if the curriculum were being slimmed down, which subject would you fight hard to keep?

[00:02:56.950] - Stuart

That's a good question. I mean, I just mentioned design technology, definitely. Although I'm not a musician and staff will laugh at me in our school for even mentioning that word or even art, I think those subjects that traditionally you tend to sideline or have been sidelined for your history and your geography, for example, any subject like that, which, generally speaking, we don't spend enough time on. And it still has value at the end of the day. Curriculum should be equal now, shouldn't it? And so you take music, you take art, you take DT. Those subjects really need to be at the fore of everybody's planning because actually your children can just shine in those subjects whereas maybe they don't in others and we generally speaking don't give them enough opportunity in those other subject areas. It might be through lack of expertise. You can train me up as much as you like. I'm never going to be a music teacher but my colleague next door absolutely is and is a great music teacher. So I think we've got a place to our strengths as well.

[00:03:58.410] - Aidan

Yeah, there's definitely a few subjects, isn't there, that can sometimes be sidelined? I think often depending on the staff and the specialisms that exist in any given school and certainly the ones you mentioned are ones where people perhaps are more likely to say oh, I'm not very arty or I'm not very musical and therefore find it difficult to overcome that confidence barrier. What do you love about being a subject leader?

[00:04:28.470] - Stuart

I think it's the opportunity to be an agent of change, particularly post pandemic. Obviously ed tech and computing for example are much more high profile, much more prevalent. We had the government dishing out I think it was 1.2 million devices to schools and so on. And I think now we're at that crossroads of we've got this amazing technology but actually teaching staff how to use it effectively. And I always say it can't be a gimmick. If you're going to use technology, whether it's for computing or other subjects you've got to use it to enhance children's learning and engagement. And so being a subject leader, particularly for computing gives me that opportunity to embed technology as a resource that as a go to rather than just something we might use from time to time. But also I think there's a lot of new opportunities. There's so much software out there which generally speaking is free, that gives children a lot of opportunities that they might not have in other subjects. So just being able to go to our staff and say all right, okay, so you're teaching desktop publishing as part of the curriculum. Would you know that Adobe actually now their Creative Cloud have just offered a number of new features. They've just launched something called Firefight which is an AI generated software tool. So I just think having an opportunity just to showcase new features and software out there maybe you don't get the opportunity with other subjects, I don't know. But I just know when I was PE lead it was great, but it was quite static in terms of things don't change in hockey and football and rugby and such. But in terms of technology, it's always evolving and I think being able to be that agent of change for that is really exciting.

[00:06:23.490] - Aidan

Yeah, great. And I think there probably are parallels for other subject leaders as well. For example, a history lead might really love keeping up on the latest archaeological finds and passing those on to the children and through the curriculum and so on. So I definitely think that keeping abreast of the subject, finding out what's new and being able to pass that on is something that many subject leaders might be able to experience as well. Thank you. So for listeners who know our normal, the listeners who know the way that we normally do the next part of the podcast, where we normally ask two questions which are applicable to all subject leaders and then a third. That's related to a particular subject. You'll notice that today's episode is going to be a bit different because although Stewart has talked about his passion for computing and for DT as well, we're going to keep it more generally applicable for all three of the next questions. And so everything here today is going to be really useful regardless of what subject you lead. So we'll get into Stuart's three questions now.

How can subject leaders decide on what professional development needs there are?

How can subject leaders develop staff so that teaching and learning in their subject improves?

What are the implications and outcomes of using instructional coaching as a subject leader?

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