BT has extended its funding for the Barefoot Computing Project to enable more teachers to receive training for the computing curriculum training.
BT previously agreed to support the programme until March, but the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, announced this had been extended until the end of the school year 2015.
Since last summer the Barefoot Computing project has reached almost 3,000 teachers from over 800 schools in England.
The Barefoot Computing workshops are run by volunteers from the IT industry and were launched to introduce the computing curriculum to primary school teachers. It was originally funded by the Department for Education.
Pat Hughes, project leader for Barefoot Computing said: “The announcement that BT is providing funding to extend the Barefoot Computing project is great news. The scheme has proved popular so far. As well as training thousands of teachers, there have been 6,000 registrations to the Barefoot Computing website with 2,500 new teacher registrations in the last two months.
"Barefoot helps teachers understand ideas and concepts such as algorithms, abstraction and data structures; how they occur naturally in many other disciplines they also teach; and how they can teach them to children from age five.”
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School Reform Minister, Nick Gibb said: “I am delighted that BT is extending the successful Barefoot project, providing innovative support for primary teachers on the new computing curriculum. This is an excellent example of industry working together with schools to support teachers - ensuring pupils leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.”
Clive Selley, CEO of BT Technology, Services and Operations said: “Computing is a very important skill for BT and, through our engagement with schools, we’ve seen that children really enjoy it and that it can have a profound impact on other Stem subjects.
“We’re proud to be partnering with Barefoot Computing and the workshops BT and other volunteers across England have been involved have been such a success; it’s great to hear from teachers that the programme has boosted their confidence. The programme is due to end in March 2015 but, given its popularity to date, BT is pleased to announce it will be working with BCS and Computing At School (CAS) to ensure that it continues to run through the summer term."
Hughes added: “This programme of events will help equip teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to incorporate the computer science elements of the new computing curriculum into their lessons. By providing high-quality, cross-curricular computer science resources for primary school teachers, supported by explanations of the key computing concepts, we are providing support for teachers who may have little previous knowledge of computer science.
“A lot of teachers are already introducing many of these concepts in to their classrooms without realising it and we want them to see that it’s not as complicated as they may think.”