Newly appointed Director of Computer Science, Jaime Beaumont, has been impressed by the standard of computer literacy among our pupils. Having been at Framlingham College for a few months, he has taken the time to settle into his new role and understand where he can make improvements to the structure of the department before drawing up his comprehensive vision. Along with developing clear pathways for Prep school pupils to continue their computer science learning right through to GCSE and A Level, Mr Beaumont also plans to develop new initiatives such as E-sports and community groups for shared learning about best-practice in education for computer science. We caught up with Mr Beaumont to hear about the exciting plans he has to spark pupils’ imagination in computer science.
“I generally like learning things that I find fun, or enjoyable in some way. And I will try to bring that concept to pupils when they are learning about computer science,” says Mr Beaumont. Computer science skills are unquestionably some of the most in-demand among UK professionals today, and that trend only looks likely to continue as more of us become ever more reliant on technology. But one of the challenges for educators can be helping pupils to see the link between the computer skills they learn at school and the quality careers a good level of computer literacy could create for them later in life.
One of the things I will be doing from next term is spending a day or two per week teaching at the Prep school, where I can really begin to get pupils interested in computer science early on.”Jaime Beaumont, Director of Computer Science
One way in which computer science continues to capture imaginations, especially among young people, is the emerging industry of e-sports. E-sports is a collect-all term for competitive video-gaming, which has grown into a sizeable industry because of its popularity as a spectator sport and widespread accessibility. It is estimated that E-sports will soon become the biggest spectator sport in the world, and Connected Magazine reported that the 2017 League of Legends Championship Final (an annual E-sports event) drew 106 million viewers globally. Mr Beaumont has plans to make use of this popularity by developing an E-sports team made up of pupils, who will work together to compete in already-established national e-sports leagues. Mr Beaumont says: “E-sports is such a big thing, so we really want to set up a team and begin competing against other schools. We’ll begin with the game, Rocket League, which is a football game and therefore demands teamwork, collaboration and the development of tactics and we will see if there is demand for more E-sports to be introduced later on.
Mr Beaumont also has plans to strengthen the links between Prep school computer science and the subject and modules taught at the Senior school. He says: “One of the things I will be doing from next term is spending a day or two per week teaching at the Prep school, where I can really begin to get pupils interested in computer science early on. We’ll be running a few computer science clubs at the Prep school as well. That way, when they get to Senior school, they already have the passion for the topic and want to learn more and take every opportunity available to them,” he says.
“Competitions are also something I’m looking to bring into the school year. So pupils will be able to take part in coding competitions and other computer skills competitions. We’ll hold them in the College and there will be opportunities for pupils to participate in external contests as well. It’s a great way to both learn new abilities and have fun at the same time.”
Community integration is something Framlingham College has a proud history of, and Mr Beaumont has already bought into this idea by setting up a new Computing at School Community, which aims to bring educators together from across the local area to discuss ways in which computing can be taught to young people and share best practice. There are already 12 members of the community and Mr Beaumont has plans to grow this over the next year and beyond. He adds: “We are looking to further develop links with industry partners so that our students can benefit from their expertise and so that we can be sure we are shaping a workforce to meet the needs of the future.
“With the Computing at School community, we hope to develop links with other schools and even local businesses, in due course, so that we can begin to bring in guest speakers in professional computer science roles to speak to our pupils. The department is on an exciting journey. We have lots of new projects, events and initiatives planned for next year so watch this space and get involved!”
Mr Beaumont would like to add that if you, or someone you know, is a member of a technology company, please do get in touch with the school, and Mr Beaumont specifically, to find ways in which we can work together for mutual benefit.