Primary teachers still lack computing confidence

One in three UK primary teachers still lack the confidence to effectively teach the new computing curriculum, according to survey

One year after the implementation of much needed updates to the UK’s computing curriculum, many teachers are still struggling, according to a survey by global electronics distributor Farnell element14.

In a poll of more than 400 UK educators and course leaders, almost a third (31%) admitted that they did not feel confident in their ability to teach coding effectively, while nearly half (42%) did not believe that they had received adequate training and support, and 30% did not have access to the right equipment.

Despite these concerns, more than 85% of respondents claimed that their pupils had reacted positively to the new curriculum, although a mere 20% had utilised coding in the teaching of other subjects.

Shane Loynds, Computing Subject Leader at Trawden Forest Primary School in Lancashire commented: “The change of the computing curriculum is a big step forward and will help many children discover their talent in coding early on. However, many teachers feel that they have not received much support in teaching coding.”

Chris Haworth, European Business President of Farnell element14, said that the results reflect a need for further investment in programming skills in schools: “The curriculum changes implemented in 2014 were a huge step in the right direction towards helping young people to develop the real-world programming and computer literacy skills they’ll need to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven job market.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils is testament to the fact that the new curriculum is on the right track’

“The overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils is testament to the fact that the new curriculum is on the right track. Now the key challenge is to ensure that all teachers receive full training and support, empowering them to pass on the highest quality learning experience to their pupils and to foster the next generation of innovators in computing and electronics. 

“At Farnell element14 we’re dedicated to supporting engineering in education, working closely with partner organisations such as Leeds Beckett University to provide access to equipment, facilities and learning resources. With demand for talented, experienced programmers far exceeding the current supply, we see championing young engineers and technicians as a responsibility, if the UK is to overcome its critical skills shortage in the technology sector.”