BCS given £1.1m to help teachers prepare for new computing curriculum

By Sooraj Shah
05 Dec 2013 View Comments
Students and teacher working with computer

The British Computer Society (BCS) will be given a £1.1m fund from the Department for Education (DfE) to help primary school teachers prepare for the new computing curriculum.

The funding is aimed specifically at teachers who have no prior experience of computer science. The project, which was unveiled by education minister Elizabeth Truss and aims to reach 20,000 teachers, will provide online resources, in-school workshops, outreach activities and create 800 local support groups within the ‘Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science'.

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Under the new curriculum, primary school children from the age of five will be taught what algorithms are and how they are used in digital devices, while pupils aged seven will learn about computer networks, including the internet.

The latest funding follows on from £2m that the DfE is funding BCS between now and 2015 to develop a network of teaching excellence in computer science. The ‘Computing At School' project aims to create a network of 400 ‘master teachers' by 2015 who will be able to lead ongoing professional development in their local areas and pass on their knowledge to 40 schools, enabling technology teachers in 16,000 primary and secondary schools to teach the new curriculum and computer science GCSE.

"We want children to be enthused by the possibilities of computing – writing programs for computer games or designing apps for smartphones," Truss said.

"The new curriculum will do that and this funding will mean that primary school teachers – even those with little or no experience in teaching computing – will be able to deliver it," she added.

In August, education secretary Michael Gove told Computing that the government has been trying to attract graduates "with the right background" into teaching. As well as the network of teaching excellence, he said the government has launched a bursary scheme for teacher training in computer science to replace the previous ICT scheme.

And to accompany this, BCS launched a scholarship programme with awards worth £20,000 given to "excellent computer science graduates who are interested in a career in teaching", with the funding provided by the DfE.

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