Thinking Computationally: The Introduction of Computer Science to the Curriculum

In September, primary and secondary schools across the UK embarked on a new academic year complemented by a new curriculum. In a bid to prepare children for life in the 21st century, Computer Coding was introduced as a mandatory subject to be taught across the Key Stages.

Despite a shaky start, most notably the Director of the programme cracking under the pressure of Jeremy Paxman and grudgingly admitting she did not know how to code, the initiative gained momentum and was implemented for the current academic year.

So, why exactly are we teaching algorithms to five year olds in their first year of primary school? Experts in the technology industry claim that there is a huge gap between jobs available in the sector and candidates qualified to fill them, thereby calling on the need to prepare the future workforce for the digital age.

The Government announced a £500,000 fund to train primary school and secondary school teachers in software coding. However, many teachers felt under confident about the new aspect of their job and short time allocated to prepare for it. Concerns were also raised over the heavy significance placed on the need to grasp computing skills and the potential negative effect it could have on pupils. Adding another mandatory lesson to the curriculum could increase levels of apathy and see students who do not grasp the basic concepts of computing fall behind.

Supporters of the progressive step forward have hailed the new addition to the curriculum as a much needed modern shake up to the UK education system. Not only should these skills aid the language and mathematical abilities of pupils; it should also set Britain on track to becoming a world leader in innovation and technology. Giving students the opportunity from a young age to explore the world of Computer Science should inspire the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.

What do you think – brilliant enterprise destined for greatness or underprepared, under-resourced flop waiting to happen?  We would love to hear your views on this, whether you are a teacher, technologist, or just have something to say! 

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