Last year, the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation (DJRFF) piloted a syllabus focusing strongly on data science, in a bid to “give young people the ability to understand and solve real-world challenges”.
Claiming the pilot to have been a success, the charity has announced that it is scaling up its work by partnering with Astrea Academy Trust to introduce new courses at four secondary schools across South Yorkshire.
“We believe the advancement of computing education in state schools will help young people to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial, just the sort of skills we will need in the future,” said David and Jane Richards.
“We are thrilled to be working with Astrea and share the trust’s commitment to creating equal opportunities for young people to succeed in life, whatever their background.”
DJRFF provides schools with detailed educational materials, hardware such as Raspberry Pi microcomputers and environmental sensors, one-to-one teacher training and technical support.
“Our goal is to create a scaleable syllabus that enables schools to incorporate a new way of teaching computer science into the curriculum,” continued the charity’s founders. “The most important feedback we had from our pilot course was how it succeeded in engaging and inspiring students of lower educational attainment as well as the high achievers.
“We want to make computer science fun, exciting and relevant, because we need people from all backgrounds to join our growing industry and help solve the challenges of the world.”
Their new partner, Astrea, was founded in 2016 to chiefly work in areas of high socio-economic deprivation. Today it comprises 27 academies across Cambridgeshire and South Yorkshire.
“Equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed is a fundamental part of life at our schools,” said Astrea’s chief executive, Libby Nicholas. “We are absolutely delighted to be working with the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation on this innovative programme to build on the work that we already do – it is wonderful to have this additional support and will make a significant and sustained difference to the lives of our pupils across the four academies.”