In early 2022, we launched a project to explore the experiences of computing teachers in the UK and Ireland. The aim of the project was to look at the development of computing as a school subject in the UK and Ireland and to gather computing teachers’ own perspectives on their teaching experiences through a wide-ranging survey. 

We presented a paper on this project, Computing in School in the UK & Ireland: A Comparative Study, at the UKICER conference in September 2022. The paper explored the differences in computing education policy and provision across the UK and Ireland, and looked at what the survey data told us about the extent to which these differences impact computing teachers’ experiences. 

Today we have made the survey results available to anyone interested in exploring the data we collected. You can download the report here.

The UK and Ireland Computing Teachers’ (UKICT) survey

The UKICT survey ran from February to March 2022 and was open to all teachers of computing in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the Republic of Ireland. In total, 758 teachers took part in the survey, and after data cleaning the final data set comprised 512 teachers. 

The survey was a localised and adapted version of the MEasuring TeacheR Enacted Computing Curriculum (METRECC) tool, a comprehensive and validated survey tool developed in 2019 by an international working group to measure many aspects of how computing curricula are taught and the experiences of computing teachers. The intention of the METRECC project was to create a survey instrument which could be used to monitor computer science education in schools around the world. To date, teachers from Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, the UK and the US have all taken part in a version of the METRECC survey.

The UKICT survey included ten sections, asking questions about topics such as qualifications, support and resourcing, classroom practice and professional development. 

Computing in the UK and Ireland

In the context of growing global focus on the development of computing as a school subject, we were interested in looking specifically at the four countries of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 

A 2021 report by the Brookings Institution comparing computer science education around the world found a great deal of variation in the extent to which computer science is taught in schools and the approaches taken to the implementation of computer science education.

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland share certain cultural and educational similarities, as well as being geographically close. However, these five countries vary greatly in size, with populations ranging from 56.55m in England to 1.9m in Northern Ireland, and they each set their own curricula and educational policy priorities. This means there are differences in the development of computing as a school subject, the provision of computing education, and the experiences of computing teachers, which this project sought to investigate and illuminate.

Next steps

At the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre, we are committed to sharing our work as widely and transparently as possible, and today’s publication makes our survey results available to anyone who would like to explore them.

We are also conducting a more detailed analysis of the survey data on classroom practice, professional development and computer science self-esteem, which we will be publishing later this year — watch this space!