Department of Education

Computer Science

Course Leader: Michelle Williams

What does the Sussex ITE partnership offer?

You can apply directly to the university to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in Computer Science. Alternatively, many schools work in partnership with the University to offer School Direct places which also lead to a Computing PGCE award. Either route will prepare you, as a trainee teacher, to teach Computer Science at Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) with enhancement opportunities in the Post-16 A level Computing curriculum.

This course can also be undertaken part-time over two years by suitable candidates. 

Successful trainees will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Why is Computer Science teacher education distinctive at Sussex?

Computational thinking skills are the set of mental skills that convert “complex, messy, partially defined, real world problems into a form that a mindless computer can tackle without further assistance from a human.” BCS 2014 p3

Teaching in Computer Science should be rooted in the development of pupils’ understanding of important concepts and progression within the lesson and over time to enable learners to make connections between individual topics and to see the ‘big picture. At the heart of the Computer Science PGCE course at Sussex is a belief in the importance of heuristic learning and creativity. Enabling learners to become independent, critical thinkers who develop expertise in formulating problems and their solutions is crucial, and helping them to identify and talk about scenarios with teachers and peers leads to success not only in Computer Science, but also in other areas of the curriculum as well as life in general.

You will gain an understanding of how to develop the computational thinking skills of your learners, developing connections between your own knowledge and passion for computing and the importance of trial and error, reflection, analysis and evaluation. You will help learners become the creators of technology, not just users of technology, by understanding the role of computing in the classroom, teaching and learning theory, moral and social issues arising from the widespread use of computers and, of course, the teaching of the Computing National Curriculum and examinations at both GCSE and GCE level. Opportunities to study and reflect with other trainees ensure you can be part of evolving an invaluable network of peer support.

The Computer Science team here at Sussex is drawn equally from the University and our schools partnership. Teaching faculty include tutors with experience as Heads of Department and teacher-educator researchers who specialise in developing heuristic learning.

Many teacher trainees and mentors progress to our Masters courses, in order to continue to enhance their teaching abilities and deepen their subject knowledge, by researching best practice.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to become a Computer Science teacher through a combination of taught sessions at the University and school-led professional development and classroom practice. You will start your course with a 2-3 week induction at the University in September, which is followed by a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops every Friday. These involve presentations, group work, role play, classroom modelling and peer teaching, for which you will explore ideas and approaches and reflect on your own experiences.

Over the course of the academic year, you will undertake two periods of professional practice in two different schools (these may vary slightly in length, but will equate to a minimum of 120 working days in total). You will be supported in your professional placements by a Computer Science specialist, who will act as a mentor, offering you tutorial support and developing a programme of practice-based professional studies for you. Your progress will be assessed through observations, feedback and discussion and you will create and maintain a portfolio of evidence demonstrating how you have met the various Teachers' Standards.

You will engage with the theoretical foundations of classroom practice and demonstrate the depth of your professional knowledge by completing three academic assignments during the course.

Additional entry requirements

To be accepted on this course, you must meet the partnership's established entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally, you should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong knowledge and understanding of a range of programs for programming, coding and games creation, and a sound awareness of how Computer Science is currently taught within Secondary state schools
  • A good honours degree (2:2 or above) in Computer Science. For computing-related degrees, candidates need to demonstrate that they have excellent subject knowledge to degree standard.

Undertaking a short classroom type teaching task and showing an awareness of the curriculum and school life is part of our interview process, so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.

All candidates offered a place on a teacher training course will be required to satisfactorily complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a CRB check), including a check of all cautions and warnings as well as convictions, before their place can be confirmed. The University will pay the costs of this check on your behalf.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the Government's Department for Education websiteSee also our 'Applying' web page for a step-by-step process for how to apply to train to teach at Sussex.


See our Scholarships, fees and living costs web page for information on fees and eligibility for financial support. Specific information on bursaries, financial incentives and other sources of funding for Initial Teacher Education are available on our PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and from the Department for Education.


See full details of the Secondary Computer Science PGCE course at Sussex on the Prospectus.

General enquiries about any ITE course, including application queries, should be directed to the ITE admissions team: 

Specific course enquiries can be directed to the Course Leader: