University of Chester

Programme Specification
Teaching of Computer Science in Schools PGCert
2015 - 2016

Postgraduate Certificate

Teaching of Computer Science in Schools

Teaching of Computer Science in Schools

University of Chester

University of Chester

Thornton Science Park and online

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year part-time

3 Years

Triannual - January - April - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Computer Science



Computer Science Postgraduate Board

Thursday 1st May 2014

  • To promote the academic, vocational and personal development of students;
  • To encourage a critically and theoretically informed and reflective approach to academic study;
  • To foster learning and research related to the academic, personal and vocational concerns of its students and staff;
  • To facilitate access to higher education and lifelong learning by flexibility in admissions procedures, and learning and teaching styles;
  • To develop skills and knowledge appropriate to preparation for further study or research, and to a range of vocations and careers, particularly in the area of Teaching Computers in Schools;
  • To provide effective, structured learning opportunities for postgraduate study in Teaching Computers in Schools which promote the development of knowledge and understanding, research skills, skills of analysis and interpretation, skills of coherent argument, skills of communication and presentation;
  • To increase self-awareness and insight into both professional and ethical issues relevant to the discipline of Teaching Computers in Schools.

  • The critical application of appropriate methodology to a range of sources, problems and issues within Computer Science. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • The investigation and interpretation of scientific terminology; key subjects in design and implementation. Computer Sciences; programming skills, WWW. Interactive Digital Media: media creation. CO7202, CO7203
  • The understanding of legal and ethical issues relating to the industry. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • demonstrate a high level of relevant subject knowledge, enabling them to teach Computer Science effectively up to A' level; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Demonstrate and employ good pedagogical knowledge and understanding of the varying methods to teach the new Computer Science curriculum; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Curricular documentation, both statutory and advisory; in the management, organisation and delivery of Computer Science; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • How to identify and draw upon academic sources to inform and enhance professional practice. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203

CO7201, CO7202 and CO7203 are equivalent to FHEQ Level 7.

  • Solving problems and communicating solutions in a professional and rigorous fashion; CO7201, CO7202
  • Making connections between subjects taught in separate modules; CO7203
  • Evaluation of methodologies within the discipline; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Planning and conducting classroom activities; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Synthesis and integration of information from a variety of sources. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Identify their own learning needs as part of their on-going professional development; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Reflect critically on their own professional experience and development in the light of the new National Curriculum for Computer Science in Schools; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Engage critically with relevant educational issues within the subject; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Analyse and respond to relevant issues in their subject specialist areas; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Be able to communicate new ideas, principles and theories, arguments and analysis effectively to pupils; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information relating to the emerging curriculum, and to propose solutions to problems arising from this. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203

CO7201, CO7202 and CO7203 are equivalent to FHEQ Level 7.

Practical Skills

  • Ability to use library resources in order to identify and retrieve source material, compile bibliographies, inform research and enhance presentations. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Ability to identify different programming languages and techniques and to use at least one of them to construct a programming-based project CO7201
  • Ability to use information technology (IT) and computer skills for data capture, to identify and retrieve material and support research and presentations.   CO7203
  • Ability to use computer hardware and software to design, develop and distribute games in a professional manner across a range of devices and platforms.  CO7202, CO7203
  • Carry out effectively the work roles expected of a professional in a school or educational setting implementing the new National Curriculum for Computer Science in Schools; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Communicate effectively with children, parents and other professionals; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • Design, implement, monitor and assess specific activities which support the individual development and learning of children and which meet the new National Curriculum for Computer Science in Schools. CO7201, CO7202, CO7203

CO7201, CO7202 and CO7203 are equivalent to FHEQ Level 7.

Key Skills
The programme provides full coverage of the key skills outlined in the proposal from the Key Skills Advisory Group at University of Chester. These are derived from the QCA list of categories (and the specified level related outcomes).

  • communicate ideas effectively in the use of Computer Science; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • improve their own performance through critical self-reflection, the implementation of evidence-based practice, and on-going professional development activities; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • work with team of peers and professional colleagues in school and educational workplace settings to contribute to their own and others' learning; CO7203

Transferable Professional Skills
Professionalism is central to the educational aims of this programme. Although the programme itself is not directly linked to graduate memberships of professional bodies, the programme is delivered using best professional practice and current techniques.

  • demonstrate the skills of reflective practice; CO7201, CO7202, CO7203
  • work with a range of other professionals within the school setting. CO7203

CO7201, CO7202 and CO7203 are equivalent to FHEQ Level 7.

In January 2012 a radical change in the teaching of ICT in schools was announced by the Government. This was in response to growing criticism by major industry leaders of the quality of the teaching of this subject in schools.

The British Computer Society (BCS) together with Microsoft and Google formulated a suggested curriculum and it is  upon this which the programme has been constructed.

This course divides the suggested curriculum into two categories, Internal to the Computer (e.g. Hardware, Programming, Logic etc.) and External (Networking, Internet etc.) and each of two modules cover one of these topics. A third module concentrates on the application of this knowledge to the particular teaching environment of the student.

It is anticipated that some students will wish to take the first two modules (CO7201 and CO7202) as CPD - without taking the assessment. CO7203 is not structured to be delivered in a CPD manner.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CO7201 7 Teaching of Data Structures , Algorithms & Programming 20 Comp
CO7202 7 Teaching of Networking, the Internet and Mobile Computing 20 Comp
CO7203 7 Implementing a Computer Science Curriculum in Schools 20 Comp

Students graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate on completion of the three Level 7 modules having obtained 60 credits.

Not applicable

Not applicable

The admissions data provided below was correct at the time of creating this programme specification (August 2014). Please refer to the prospectus pages on the corporate website for the most recent data.

Applicants would normally hold a PGCE in Education or equivalent. They are expected to be practicing teachers with responsibility of teaching ICT or Computer Science or an enthusiasm to do so.

For international entry requirements, you will need to visit and select the appropriate country.

‘Subject benchmark statements provide a means for the academic community to describe the nature and characteristics of programmes in a specific subject’
[QAA, 2007]  

Whilst this is a Postgraduate programme aimed at teachers, we feel that the following Benchmarking Statements are still valid.

[QAA, 2007] clearly distinguishes between graduates in general Computer Science and graduates with a particular specialism. However, it places a responsibility on programme designers to meet the following criteria:

  • the course is designed as a coherent whole with theory, practical skills and applications integrated in a harmonious manner; it should be up to date in terms of developments in computing and current thinking on curriculum development and delivery; it should take appropriate account of issues such as the employability of its graduates and the needs of employers
  • it has clear and achievable aims, objectives and intended learning outcomes which match its title and the programme specification
  • courses are imaginatively designed to meet as effectively as possible the needs of the full range of intended students in terms of course length/duration, modes of attendance including part-time possibilities, location, structure and sequence, and optional elements
  • on each pathway every student will have exposure to those key topics and practices most relevant to its central objectives and title; the design of this should be informed by considerations articulated below
  • the course shows progression with later parts complementing, extending or building upon earlier ones
  • the programme presents coherent underpinning theory appropriate to the aims of the course, and this is further developed and used throughout the course. This should be such as to enable graduating students to adapt to future developments in the field. Overall, the course should reflect the rapid rate of change in the field and ensure that coverage is given to a selection of emerging topics so that students are aware of likely future developments in the subject together with their potential impact
  • courses need to be designed to possess themes that ensure students are equipped to contribute to the development of major components of computer systems in a manner that ensures they are fit for the purpose for which they were intended. The latter implies an understanding of the mechanisms that will ensure quality in both process and product and this will often mean a comprehension of how systems should be designed for use by humans
  • in those parts of the curriculum that relate to an engineering approach to the subject, the concepts of requirement, specification, design, implementation, evolution and maintenance are pervasive and an appropriate engineering ethos is present
  • in those parts of the curriculum that have a mathematical, scientific, psychological, aesthetic, systems, management or organisational orientation, there is appropriate underpinning which ensures that students acquire well-founded insight into the range of possible approaches
  • in practical coursework there is an opportunity for students to gain experience of working both in groups and as an individual
  • in relevant parts of the course students are encouraged to reflect, evaluate, select, justify, communicate and be innovative in their problem solving
  • there is provision for the development of a range of personal and transferable skills generic to all graduates
  • the assessment strategy associated with the course is clearly documented and will allow the institution to show that graduating students meet the criteria set in this subject benchmark statement.

This programme has been designed specifically to meet the above criteria. Also, in line with the current benchmark statement the course matches the typical outcomes for a programme in a computing related discipline, namely that students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a sound understanding of the main areas of the body of knowledge within their programme of study, with an ability to exercise critical judgement across a range of issues
  • critically analyse and apply a range of concepts, principles and practice of the subject in an appropriate manner in the context of loosely defined scenarios, showing effective judgement in the selection and use of tools and techniques
  • produce work involving problem identification, the analysis, the design and the development of a system, with accompanying documentation. The work will show problem solving and evaluation skills, draw upon supporting evidence and demonstrate a good understanding of the need for quality
  • demonstrate transferable skills with an ability to show organised work as an individual and as a team member and with minimum guidance
  • apply appropriate practices within a professional, legal and ethical framework and identify mechanisms for continuing professional development and lifelong learning
  • explain a wide range of applications based upon the body of knowledge.

Reference QAA (2007) “Computing benchmark statement” QAA for Higher Education

Learning and Teaching will take place through a variety of methods. Two thirds of the course will be university-based, where learning will take place through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. These tutorials will run over a weekend.

The learning in school will take place through mentor-delivered professional and subject sessions, and through the students’ observation of and practice in practical teaching. Throughout the course, students reflect on their professional development as teachers, and these form an important tool for their own learning.

The course is designed to meet individual needs, and will thus endeavour to build on prior experience in developing training plans for students.

Learner Support                          

Every trainee will be assigned to a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who contributes to the programme and has oversight of the trainee's progress. This academic/pastoral relationship lasts for the duration of the programme.

The three modules will normally be assessed through written assignments or their equivalent. Assessment is undertaken in accordance with the University of Chester's regulations and requirements. In general terms students are assessed, at level 7, on their ability to: demonstrate knowledge and understanding, in breadth and in depth, of the subject-matter studied; to discuss, interpret, and critically analyse a range of literature; and to utilise effectively the transferable communication and rhetorical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing, and arguing; use new and relevant computer technologies to enhance their knowledge and skills. Students will be informed about the assessment requirements of each element of their programme. The formal assessment requirements are described in each module descriptor and will be communicated through assignment briefs. Students will be provided with assignment specific criteria that relate to the learning outcomes for that module in the module handbook as well as generic level assessment descriptors appropriate for level 7.

Students enter the course as qualified teachers and by the end of the course, they would be expected to exhibit:

  1. Confidence and competence in relating to the demands of the new National Curriculum for Computer Science in Schools in context;
  2. Strong subject knowledge, enabling them to teach across the full age and ability range of their school;
  3. Flexibility and adaptability in relating the new National Curriculum for Computer Science in Schools to all ages and abilities;
  4. The knowledge and understanding required to initiate, research, and sustain projects centred on the effectiveness of their own and others’ practice, based on individual initiative and/or research;
  5. A proactive approach to their own continuing professional development.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard there are no other cultural issues. 

As a technology-oriented degree there is a high likelihood that the majority of disabilities can be addressed using appropriate specialist hardware and software; individual applicants will be invited to discuss their individual needs with the programme leader and the applicant will be advised as to the provision that can be made for them, prior to accepting a place.


Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel