Google, Microsoft and the Royal Society Partner to Strengthen Computer Science Teaching in Schools



Google, Microsoft and the Royal Society are joining forces to develop excellence in computer science education in schools and colleges.

The Royal Society is commissioning a study, funded by Google and Microsoft, and led by Professor Stephen Furber FRS, to understand the challenges faced by teachers delivering computing and computer science and share best practice which can be adopted more widely.

The research will establish the progress that has been made since the introduction of the new English computing curriculum in 2014, identify areas that still need to be addressed, and will be used as the basis of a wider action plan to transform computing in schools.

The proposals made in the action plan will help children and young people get excited about technology and provide them with creative, digital and computational thinking skills, crucial to securing their success in the world of work.

The project will also equip teachers to teach young people the skills required to help solve tomorrow’s challenges and help inspire more children to take up digital careers in the future.

The partnership will provide teachers with high quality classroom resources, guidance, and continuing professional development programmes. It will also develop effective assessment tools for teachers and help equip schools to address the gender imbalance and inspire young girls to take up computing.

The plan will also identify opportunities to help young people relate to digital careers through partnerships with businesses.

Professor Tom McLeish, Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee said: “As a subject with a rich and vital future, computer science not only needs high-quality teacher training and development, best practice in the classroom, and inspiring materials for pupils; it also needs solid, evidence-based research about what works.

"In a world where technology is increasingly embedded into our daily lives we need to ensure that the computer science curriculum equips young people to take advantage of the opportunities the digital world offers."

Hugh Milward, Director, Corporate External and Legal Affairs, Microsoft UK, says, “Our collaboration with the Royal Society is part of our overarching YouthSpark programme which aims to increase access to computer science education and encourage young people to explore digital skills and careers.

The UK economy will require 745,000 additional workers with digital skills by 2017, which is why quality computer science education in schools is vital. This project will help shape and inform computer science education best practice and support educators with rich materials to inspire the next generation in whatever career they choose.”

In 2014 a new computing curriculum for five to 16 year-olds was introduced in English schools, replacing ICT and establishing computer science and computational thinking as a foundation subject alongside mathematics and the sciences.

England is the first country to formally recognise the importance of teaching children computing.

Creative Teaching & Learning