Microsoft and CAS team up

Microsoft and Computing at Schools group (CAS) are joining forces to help teachers inspire a new generation of young people

Backed by a £334,000 investment from Microsoft, CAS is holding a series of ‘Back to School’ training sessions to show teachers how they can take the complexity of Coding and Computer Science and make it engaging to the touch screen generation.

The ‘Countdown to Computing’ programme will see Microsoft and CAS create two training courses for teachers; one for primary and one for secondary, together with supporting classroom resources that teachers can use in their first term.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Making sure our children are equipped with the right skills for the future is a key part of our long term economic plan. The new computing curriculum teaches students not just how to use computer applications but how to write them too, and we need skilled teachers to deliver it. So with a field that moves as fast as technology, it is absolutely right we work in partnership with industry. It is great to see Microsoft and the Computing at Schools group backing our new computing curriculum and providing this level of support for teachers. Together, if we encourage more of our young people to be producers, not just consumers of digital content, we will keep our technology sectors booming and help build a more resilient economy.”

Using the CAS hubs, experts including the CAS master teachers will deliver face-face training across the country with 2,500 local events. There will also be more flexible training options via Skype so that all teachers can make the most of the training and resources available. 

“In 2009 a nine-year-old boy from Singapore built an app that has been downloaded more than 800,000 times, in 2013, a seven-year-old girl from Philadelphia became the youngest person to build a mobile game app,” said Michel Van der Bel, UK MD Microsoft.

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He added: “If we want the next success story to be based in Britain then we need teachers who have the right skills and the confidence to inspire, support and enable them to do so. That’s why, as part of Microsoft’s ‘Countdown to Computing’ programme, we have partnered with CAS to deliver a series of personal training sessions across the country as teachers get ready for that all important first term.”

Microsoft’s partnership with CAS will deliver training and resources for roughly one in every five primary school teachers in the county and at least three specialist teachers in every secondary school. Part of the British Computer Society, CAS is a grassroots organisation chaired by Simon Peyton-Jones from Microsoft Research Cambridge and they have been at the heart of the Computing curriculum reform.

CAS is the Government’s partner for teacher training through the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science (NoE) and the Barefoot Computing programmes, both of which are run by CAS and funded by the Department for Education (DfE).The partnership was forged given CAS’s huge involvement in the education community with a network of 103 regional hubs, where teachers meet face-to-face to share ideas and feedback on what works best in the classroom. 

The ‘Countdown to Computing’ programme is part of Microsoft’s long-term ambition to ensure that every school leaver in the UK is computationally literate and that 80% of all jobs requiring computer science knowledge are able to be filled by a UK graduate by 2025.

Earlier this year, the company launched a brand new suite of materials, aimed specifically at primary school teachers in partnership with educational publishers, Rising Stars.

Nearly 30,000 Switched On Computing materials have been distributed to teachers across the country with the aim of helping teachers develop computer science skills in children as young as five. 

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