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New £84m National Centre to improve teaching of computing and drive participation in computer science

A consortium made up of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has been backed by a £84million Government investment. The project intends to provide every child in every UK school has access to a world-leading computing education.

The National Centre for Computing Education will work with the University of Cambridge, while Google will also support the project with a further £1m.

Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, said: “As our digital industry makes an increasingly significant contribution to our economy, it is important that our computer science teachers are trained to teach the latest digital skills, ensuring young people benefit from a high quality computing education.

“The new computer science GCSE has more challenging content such as computer programming and coding. This new National Centre for Computing Education, led by some of the UK’s leading tech experts, will give teachers the subject knowledge and support they need to teach pupils the new computing curriculum. This is part of this Government’s drive to raise academic standards so that pupils have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy.”

The Centre will start working with schools across England later this year, looking to improve teaching and driving up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-Level.

The Centre will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led computing hubs to provide training and resources to primary and secondary schools, and an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-Level qualification in computer science.

Philip Colligan, Chief Executive, Raspberry Pi, said: “This level of investment is unprecedented anywhere in the world for teacher training in the field of computing and computer science. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way that computing and computer science is taught.”

A preceding report from the Royal Society last year highlighted the scale of the challenge, says Colligan. This was followed by a commitment from the Chancellor in the 2017 Budget statement that Government would invest £100m in computing education across England. “Earlier this year,” Colligan continues, “the Department for Education launched a procurement process focused on England, and this announcement is the outcome of that progress."

Bethan Grylls

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