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Parents call for help with coding homework

Kayleigh Bateman

A third of parents (33%) are worried they will not be able to support their children with homework from the new computing curriculum, according to a study by O2.

The survey of 2,000 parents found 64% were not aware of the computing curriculum starting in primary and secondary schools this week with many admitting they did not think they could complete tasks expected by five year olds.

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For instance, 63% said they do not understand what an algorithm is and 32% said they cannot use technology to create, organise or store digital content.

Despite this, 72% of parents said they want to improve their digital skills to better support their children with the computing curriculum.

In response to the survey, O2 will launch digital workshops in its stores, allowing parents and children to bring in devices and learn digital skills. The company aims to have set these up in 100 locations by Spring 2015.  

The Guru Bytes workshops will focus on "Keeping your family safe online" and "Discovering the web". 

In partnership with the NSPCC and DigitalMe, the O2 Digital Family workshop will include advice on safety features, how to keep details private and where to go for help. 

The O2 Discover the Web workshop invites children aged 11 and upwards, along with their parents, to learn about web page design and how to build apps.

Ronan Dunne, CEO at O2 said: “A new computing curriculum fit for the 21st century is a step in the right direction for young people. Young people are brilliant. They are brave, ambitious and possess native digital talent that we need to nurture.

“Much is already being done across the UK to nurture that talent, but a greater emphasis must be applied to the support network to allow them to put their digital expertise to practical use. Simply put, more needs to be done to help parents get to grips with the fast-changing world of digital technology.”

Claire Lilley, head of online safety at the NSPCC, said: “For children and young people, the Internet is part of everyday life, rather than being a separate online world. 

"It is crucial that parents are involved right from the start of their children’s digital journey and feel confident about guiding and protecting them as their online footprint grows into their teenage years.

“We know some parents would like and need help getting to grips with the latest technology and digital environment, and we’re proud to have helped O2 to develop their Guru Bytes workshops launching in communities across the UK from this September.”

On the launch of the new computing curriculum Melissa Di Donato, vice president of APAC and EMEA at salesforce.com, said: “The introduction of programming to the national curriculum is a strong sign of the UK’s commitment to becoming a hub of IT talent and innovation.

"It represents a critical step towards ensuring the next generation has the skills they need to excel and that the industry has the people it requires to flourish.”

She added: “However, the UK tech industry has a shared responsibility in boosting interest and skills in tech. To truly seed the garden for IT talent in Britain, tech companies must also provide role models, offer resources, and give advice to every youth even considering a future in computer science."


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