In September 2012, the UK Government made Computer Science part of the national curriculum. In a bid to bring future generations into the 21st century, to promote the UK as a centre of excellence for technologists, and reduce the ever expanding skills gap present throughout our societies, all pupils were to be given access to Computer Science lessons from age 5.
Bill Mitchell, of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “It is tremendous that Michael Gove is personally endorsing the importance of teaching computer science in schools.” We could not agree more, high level endorsement, both from Government and the BCS is imperative to any success of a transformation of this kind.
Bill Mitchell followed his statement up by saying “There are, of course, significant challenges to overcome, specifically with the immediate shortage of computer science teachers.”
It is this comment that still today, in 2019, stands true. We see a significant shortage of qualified teachers with the resources to deliver Computer Science lessons to young people. One of our Directors, Tom Noble, has been delivering Computer Science tutoring sessions for students aged 11-18 throughout Gloucestershire since 2015 and has seen a continued growth in uptake but very little noticeable shift in the quality of teaching from students schools.
"...immediate shortage of Computer Science teachers"
We have seen some fantastic schemes start up from the likes of QA and the NCSC with their CyberFirst programme to BCS Apprenticeships. These schemes are in place to help students who are coming to the end of their compulsory education journey, however we still see a growing need for tutoring across the board to help students develop and refine their skills.
Tom Noble took part in a BCS course in teaching Computer Science, which we are very pleased to say he passed in May 2018. A course designed to appraise an individuals skills in delivering Computer Science lessons to students, it consisted of:
- An up to date CPD log with relevant links to education;
- A software development project;
- A study on the pedagogical methods of teaching Computer Science.
This is a great offering from the BCS and helps teachers to develop their skills in this area of the curriculum. For those who are coming out of a PGCE or considering diversifying into Computer Science teaching from their current topic, this would serve as a good foundation.
Whilst this is a great start, more needs to be done. As businesses, how could we help? What policy should Government implement to expedite the aims set out by their predecessors? How much of an involvement will private tutoring play in the progression of Computer Science students in future years? These are all still questions to be answered but one thing is for certain, without a significant change in finances and resource, substantial and sustainable progression may be far in the future.