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The aim is to give pupils the right skills for the jobs of the future
A network of 400 “master” computer science teachers is being recruited to deliver a new computer science curriculum in schools across England.
These specialist teachers will train teachers in other schools and provide resources for teachers to use in class.
Funded by government, the scheme is run by the British Computer Society.
The new computer science curriculum, which replaces the current information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum, starts this September.
Opening the Bett learning technology show in London, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “This new curriculum will be… much shorter and less prescriptive than the old ICT curriculum and it will allow schools to innovate and be much, much more ambitious.
“ICT used to focus purely and narrowly on computer literacy, teaching pupils over and over again how to word-process, how to work a spreadsheet, how to use programs which are already – were already, I should say – creaking into obsolescence.
“Now our new curriculum teaches children computer science, information technology and digital literacy. It will teach them how to code, how to create their own programs, not just how to work the computer but how a computer works, how to make it work for you.”
From as young as five, pupils in England would learn to code and programme, he said, and from age 11, children would be taught at least two programming languages.
He went on: “These are precisely the sorts of skills which jobs of the future, and for that matter the jobs of the present, demand and from now on these changes will ensure that every child gets a solid grounding in these essential skills.”
Computer science GCSEs will also count as a science in the English Baccalaureate for secondary school league tables, alongside physics, chemistry, biology and pupils taking double science.
It will be included as one of the science options that count towards this measure.
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) requires pupils to get good GCSE grades in English, maths, sciences, history or geography and a language.