Ada College and London CLC: bridging the digital skills gap

Caitlin McMillan, teaching and learning consultant, shares the connections between London CLC and Ada, the National College for Digital Skills

Computer code
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Some meetings were just meant to be. 

When our teaching and learning consultant Rowan Roberts got chatting to Tina Götschi from Ada College at a National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) facilitators course, it was clear that this was one of those meetings.

Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, is an FE college which places tech at the heart of their curriculum; all of its students take computing as part of their programme of study. 

At London CLC, we have long been fans of the work of Ada College and the work that it does, so we were delighted to welcome Tina and her colleague John Mella to London CLC this term. 

During our conversation, it became clear that our two organisations have rather a lot in common, from our belief in the core necessity of digital education in the 21st century to our hands-on approach to learning, and even that a former CLC teaching and learning consultant and current Google software engineer Joe Halloran had been part of Ada’s first cohort of apprentices. 

The connections between London CLC and Ada College don’t end there. One of Ada’s unique features is its close connection with industry – its curriculum is designed with direct input from founding industry partners industry partners Bank of America Merrill Lynch, King, Gamesys, Deloitte, IBM and the Aldridge Foundation, and industry partnerships and opportunities for students are core to their offering. 

This direct connection between education and industry has been at the heart of our TechPathways London project. Funded as part of the Mayor of London’s Digital Talent programme, the project helps educators support young people in developing the digital skills they need to succeed in the modern workforce. 

Chatting to Tina and John, it became clear that our goals are aligned: bridging the digital skills gap between education and the 21st century job market, and providing young people with the best possible opportunity to take advantage of everything that the digital workplace has to offer. 

Watch this space for future collaborations.

We’ll leave you with some words from Joe Halloran, who we’re very happy that London CLC and Ada College have in common:

“Like some Darwinian fallacy, I am the ‘missing link’ between London CLC and Ada. During my software engineering apprenticeship, I was extremely fortunate to attend Ada to get a foundation degree in digital innovation. Before my apprenticeship I spent 10 years working for London CLC where we helped primary schools to use technology to support learning.

These two organisations, Ada and London CLC, nurture the relationship between technology and learning. Both teams are bristling with innovators. Both harbour a healthy suspicion for fads and instead take a thoughtful and long-term view of technology and its role in our society. Both have young people, with all their energy and insight, at the heart of everything they do. I am lucky to be linked to these amazing organisations and lucky to know the amazing people who make it all happen.”

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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