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Computing for Schools programme

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Computing for Schools programme

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Computing for Schools programme

Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) recently added a new programme called Computing for Schools to its course portfolio. The program aligns with the new England's Computing curriculum, more specifically with the strand "Communication & Networks" as defined in the Computing Progression Pathways document published by Computing At School (CAS).


The programme is available for free to any teachers and schools that would like to adopt it. In order to access it, schools can become part of Networking Academy, that is a free Education programme offered by Cisco, or alternatively the materials are available on OpenLearn Create.


For a brief overview of the Computing for Schools programme and the free Network Simulation Software called Packet Tracer, please watch the videos below or follow this link to watch them on a separate window.



1. Why should you join NetAcad?

The Computing for Schools programme gives you and your students access to Packet Tracer, a free and exciting network simulation and visualisation tool. If you have not seen Packet Tracer, take a look and these videos.

Some of the advantages to being a Cisco Academy, rather than just having access to the resources online are:

  • give each student their own account (using Gmail or school email addresses if under 13 years old)
  • create a class and enrol students in it
  • tailor the course to your requirements (adding or deleting content)
  • use the 8 quizzes which are marked by the system with instant feedback and a grade book
  • create your own assessments
  • export your courses for future use (or to share in your clusters/academy trusts)
  • download and install Packet Tracer
  • use any other of the freely available courses for CPD or other purposes
  • use other freely available courses, such as Cybersecurity, Linux, Python (due to be released soon), for CPD or other purposes


2. How to Become a Cisco Academy

NetAcad is available to all Schools, Colleges and other Education institutions, offering the new Computing curriculum in England. They can apply to become a Cisco Academy and access programme courses, tools, and systems – for free, because Networking Academy is truly a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.


2.1. Secondary Schools

Secondary schools can apply to become a Cisco Academy by completing this form. The form is accessible at https://www.netacad.com/get-started/educators, if you scroll to the bottom of the page and select Become an Academy. See the video here (kindly recorded by Duncan Maidens from BCU) for a walk through of the process. Please don't forget to write in the notes "CAS" or "COMPUTING AT SCHOOLS", as this will help Cisco quickly identify the lead and proceed faster.

While filling in the online form, please consider that not all of the sections will be relevant. Under Academy Plans please tick

  • Other instructor-led courses such as Get Connected or Internet of Everything
  • Part of a core curriculum 

Although generally Cisco require learners to be 13 or older to become students, the course can still be used by younger pupils by using managed email accounts. For example students can have a Gmail account managed by the school or a managed school email account. OpenLearn Create platform has similar age requirement, but allows students to read the materials without having to create an account.


2.2. Primary Schools

Primary teachers can access the resources by becoming ‘students’ on a course. This gives access to download and use all the resources, run the quizzes as a ‘whole class’ activity and enrol on many free courses for CPD. At this time, there is no intention for primary schools to ‘run classes’ and ‘enrol’ students. The intention is for secondary schools to run ‘classes’ for their primary feeder schools.



If you are interested in accessing the resources as a Primary Teacher, please email caswestmidlands@computingatschool.org.uk.


If you decide to apply to become a Cisco Academy, once you have received the welcome e-mail, you should continue by reading this page. You can also download this document containing the current text and its continuation. 



Note: the Computing for Schools programme is a Community developed course that is currently available under a pilot in the UK. If you have any questions not answered on this text, please contact netacad-teamuk@cisco.com.