Six months into the new computing curriculum, 90% of teaching professionals in the UK now consider the skills it teaches as important to the future career prospects of school children. However, limited budgets, lack of equipment and gaps in teachers’ skill sets continue to pose challenges in delivering the new curriculum for the majority of educators. The findings are the result of a survey of professionals working in the UK education sector conducted by CPC.
Significantly, while much has been made of the coding aspect of the new curriculum, 98% of respondents said the new curriculum is also teaching their pupils additional, non-computing focused skills. As well as inspiring creativity and developing literacy and numeracy, 87% said the other main benefit is in developing problem solving and logic skills.
Jason Fell, head of computing at Kingsmead School, Wirral, said: “The ability to code opens up a new world to students and when taught in the correct way it can boost their confidence. It allows pupils to engage in a skill which looks difficult initially, but is actually quite simple once broken down.”
However, the majority of those surveyed said challenges continued to hinder their efforts to deliver the new computing curriculum. More than half said they still lack the equipment they require to deliver classes effectively, and over three quarters said that finding the budget to purchase the required technology remained an issue.
As a result, 97% of respondents said business had a role to play in supporting schools; whether that’s providing more equipment, offering expert support in lessons, or mentoring teaching staff.
Joel Beavis, assistant principal at Harris Academy, Battersea, said: “For many schools, recruiting a good computer science teacher can prove very difficult – if not impossible. At the same time many good, existing members of staff lack either the knowledge or teaching skills required to teach the new curriculum adequately.
“It’s here that businesses and universities have a big role to play, supporting staff in addressing their own skills gap and ensuring they have access to all the equipment required.’