OK Computer!

Ri Mclasses


This summer’s Year 9 Computer Science Masterclass series was hosted by Dr. Priya Pavan at The Billericay School and was attended by 36 students from The Billericay School, KEGS, Shenfield, St. Martin’s, Appleton, Plume and Boswells School.  The six sessions were delivered and supported by leading professionals from both industry and education and funded by the Essex Employment and Skills Board’s Education & Industry STEM Programme that aims to inspire young people to continue their learning and take up careers in STEM.




Masterclass Subject


Brendon Shaw (Bertrandt UK)

The Internet of Things


David Whale (Software Engineer, IET Schools Liaison Officer and Micro:bit Wiz!)

Cyber Security


Leonardo UK

3D Printing/VR/Radar Technology


Iain Duncan (Inventor and Industry Pioneer, Mousetrap Innovation Ltd, Essex Fablab, UCL



Penny Cater (Head of Computing at Boswells School)

Raspberry Pi/Physical Computing


Paul Knighton (ICT Lecturer at Chelmsford College)

Communications and Security

As ever, without the help and support from volunteers representing industry and education, these fantastic sessions wouldn’t be able to go ahead. We’re indebted to the following individuals for providing support to Masterclass presenters throughout the series: Dr Pryia Pavan and her team from The Billericay School, Ed Bye from Explore STEM, Ian Lewis (Essex Fablab and Creatorspace Basildon), Olly Smith from Boswells School, and Denis Stretton from Stow Maries Aerodrome.

Each Masterclass series ends with an opportunity for parents and siblings to come along and celebrate the commitment and application their child has shown over the 6 weeks and to hear what they’ve been up to over the various workshops. This series was no different, with David Whale returning to give an inspirational presentation to everyone gathered on the day. Students were not only presented with a certificate to record their participation, each was also given a Micro:bit to take home and continue ‘having a go’ in the comfort of their own homes.


At the end of each series we ask our student participants for their reflections on the previous 6 weeks. We use that feedback to guide future Masterclass series planning, to understand the impact of sessions and to gauge what learning students have benefited from over the sessions.

87% of our participants said that they intended to/had taken up computer science at GCSE

50% of participants indicated that they were more likely to pursue a career relating to Computer Science thanks to their experience of the Masterclass series

74% of students gave an end of series score of 7+ in terms of what they’d gained from the series

We also asked our participants to complete the sentence ‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s…’:

  • “I learnt more about coding!”
  • “I learnt all about codes and ciphers!”
  • “I learnt how encryption works!”
  • “I learnt about parts of a computer and how they work!”
  • “I learnt about optical fibres and how they work!”
  • “I learnt how to code a Raspberry Pi!”
  • “I learnt how much of the world involves computing and programming!”

And finally Students were also asked what else they would have liked included in the sessions and what if anything they would have liked to change:

  • Students would have liked to learn about Games/Website design, coding languages including C++
  • Students would like to go through tasks step by step instead of being talked through the details then going off and doing it

We’ll be delivering further Computer Science Masterclass Series’ across the county in 2018/19 and will publish dates and venues in due course, via the Essex Employment and Skills Board’s website (www.essexesb.co.uk/events). We’ll take what we’ve learned from our Summer series to inform the make-up of our workshops next year. We’ll also publish details of planned Engineering and Mathematics series for 2018/19 and will invite year 9 students from schools across Essex, via their STEM lead in school.

It’s our hope that the students that have taken part in our Masterclasses in 2017/18 will join us again next year, this time participating in a mixture of our key sector taster days (at Colleges and Universities in Essex), our competition and project activity (eg. the Colchester Zoo Engineering Project or ADS Build a Rocket Competition) and benefiting from activity delivered in their school itself.

We would like to thank everyone involved in this Masterclass series, as follows:

  • Dr. Priya Pavan and Billericay School, for hosting the series and playing a key part in organising our Masterclasses…
  • Each of the presenters named above and those helping out each Saturday morning…
  • All of the students that gave up their Saturday mornings to come along and showed such commitment and enthusiasm throughout…
  • And to all of the parents that joined us at our final Masterclass, for coming along to hear about what their children have been up to and of course for getting students there each morning!