The Department for Education announced a new £84 million National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) on Wednesday. The Centre, composed of a consortium of industry partners and non-profits, will focus on improving the teaching of computing in schools across English primary and secondary schools.
The announcement follows a long push from both industry and schools to improve the teaching of computing and STEM in schools. In our 2015 manifesto, techUK urged government to address the computer science teaching gap and government has slowly addressed this concern. Teachers are the cornerstone of the education system, a teacher equipped with the right skills and CPD training can inspire students to continue studying computing through secondary and higher education, hopefully this will go some way in remedying the decline in GCSE computing participation.
The announcement of the NCCE has been long awaited since the Chancellor first announced in the 2017 Budget that there was £84 million earmarked for upskilling computer science teachers. As more detail has emerged about the Centre, techUK is glad the Department for Education has chosen to take a ‘hand’s off’ approach by creating the NCCE as a network of empowered school-led hubs focussed on providing value for their immediate communities.
There’s still much progress to be made if we are to encourage more students into computing and push for an education system that prepares individuals with the skills and competencies required to thrive in the modern world. Government is clearly stepping up: as we have seen from Wednesday’s announcement; the establishment of the Institute of Coding; T-Levels and other actions taken by this Government. However, there is still work needed to address the drop-off in diverse students with the introduction of the new computing GCSE and to empower businesses to act as hubs in their local community to upskill and inspire their community into tech – as I discovered at the launch of the CBI’s annual skills report this week, four interactions with business whilst in school makes an individual five times less likely to be unemployed in later life!
The Centre’s consortium will be led by the British Computer Society, Raspberry Pi Foundation and STEM Learning with the support of the University of Cambridge, Google, FutureLearn and the Behavioural Insights Team.