Gove and Osborne launch £500k “Year of Code” campaign to raise programming awareness

By Peter Gothard
04 Feb 2014 View Comments
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

Michael Gove and George Osborne, backed up by several UK tech luminaries, have dubbed 2014 the "Year of Code" in a campaign costing £500,000.

In the campaign's promotional video, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne explained how the campaign wants to "make sure that kids in our schools are not just consumers of technology and computer programs," and that they shouldn't just "know how to open up Word and PowerPoint; they also need to understand how those computer programs are put together".

Further reading

Osborne was keen to point out that this concept wasn't just designed to make students "app designers or web designers of the future", but also that it will contribute to their ability to "understand more about the world around them".

The campaign, chaired by ex-Number 10 special political adviser Rohan Silva - now "entrepreneur in residence" at technoloy venture capital firm Index Ventures - intends to carry out a number of events during 2014's lead-up to a revised national curriculum for IT studies.

The eventual aim is to have school children devoting at least one hour a week to coding.

Other voices for the campaign include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Tech City-based founder of Revision App - a study sharing app for students - Jermaine Hagan.

The £500,000 has been ring-fenced for awarding to businesses who agree to match a portion of the funding and will help provide projects for teacher training "by the experts".

It's conceivable that a financial incentive may help to bolster a pool of IT teaching experts which currently does not look set to be full enough by September 2014's curriculum changes.

With the BCS' Computing at School initiative working slowly towards its "Master Teacher" appointments target of 400 by 2015, an appeal to the private sector to scout talent may be the shot in the arm Gove's new curriculum desperately requires.

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