BCS co-sponsors DfE scholarships to attract computer science teachers

The British Computer Society (BCS) and IT companies will fund DfE scholarships for graduates to train as computer science teachers

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced scholarships to encourage graduates into teaching computer science.

The British Computer Society (BCS) is managing the project for the DfE, with the department providing the funding alongside large IT companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, BT and IBM.

About 50 £20,000 scholarships will be handed out each year to graduates of any subject with a 2:1 degree or above and who can demonstrate an understanding of key computer science concepts and approaches such as algorithms, data representation and logic, said the BCS.

The Computer Science Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course will replace the previous ICT training courses, which the DfE deemed outdated.

“Computer Science is not just a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject,” said education secretary Michael Gove. “It is also vital to our success in the global race.

“If we want our country to produce the next Sir Tim Berners-Lee, we need the very best Computer Science teachers in our classrooms. They need to have the right skills and deep subject knowledge to help their pupils.”

The government also announced a project to help train current teachers to get up to scratch with computer science methodologies. Partly funded by a £150,000 grant from government, the scheme should see 500 ICT teachers boost their knowledge and join a partnership scheme to pass it on to other teachers in the network.

“We need to attract outstanding new computer science teachers and we must support our existing ICT teachers as they start to teach the subject,” said Simon Peyton-Jones, chair of the Computing at School Working Group (CAS) and principal researcher at Microsoft Research.

“CAS fully supports today’s announcements, which give unmistakable government support to both these challenges," said Peyton-Jones.

"We look forward to playing our part, and working with government to make a substantial and lasting improvement to our children’s education in the vital subject.”

Both schemes will only be running in England. For more information on the scholarships, click here.

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