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Schools minister announces programme of support for computing teachers

A National Centre of Computing Science Education has been launched to help the government meet its commitment to training up to 8,000 computing teachers

The schools standards minister, Nick Gibb, has announced the launch of a National Centre of Computing Science Education to help the government reach its target of training up to 8,000 computing teachers.

The centre will work alongside 40 schools across the country to deliver a programme designed to support teachers in delivering the computing curriculum.

Gibb explained the aim of developing a programme to support teachers in delivering the computing curriculum would contribute to ensuring pupils have the skills UK employers increasingly need.

“The fast-paced world of technology is constantly evolving, and it is important that our computer science teachers are trained in the very latest digital skills,” he said.

The UK is currently suffering from a technology skills gap, where firms are unable to find people with the skills they need to fill empty roles.

The UK’s computing curriculum was developed in 2014 to teach young people skills such as coding and computational thinking, with the hope that the UK could develop its home-grown pipeline of people with these skills.

But teachers in the UK do not think they have the skills needed to properly teach coding and other technology-related concepts.

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The government’s programme, alongside the National Centre of Computing Science Education, hopes to focus not only on training teachers in delivering coding education, but also skills the technology industry is currently in demand of such as cyber security.

In 2017, the government missed its target for the number of postgraduates choosing to start training for a career in teaching computing for the 2016/17 academic year.

Training computing teachers to deliver the computing curriculum was allocated £84m during the Autumn Budget, and is also part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy which aims to invest more in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) education to help feed the Stem skills pipeline.

It is estimated that 90% of jobs in 20 years will involve digital skills, and many children in education today will end up filling roles that do not yet exist and require skills not yet taught as part of the computing curriculum.

Though the government aims to develop computing teaching across all levels, some funding will be used specifically for an A-Level support programme to ensure students are better prepared for the future workplace and the digital skills it will require.

Many believe the only way to properly address skills gaps is through collaboration between industry, government and education providers to ensure young people are given skills that are appropriate.

Alongside the launch of the national centre came the process of finding organisations and suppliers willing to run the centre, which is expected to open in autumn 2018, in time for the 2018/19 academic year.

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