Curriculum trial will have schoolchildren learning coding at GCSE level
The Register reports that secondary school pupils could be taught coding, programming and how to write their own software at GCSE level as part of a major overhaul of the IT curriculum for UK schools.
An initial trial will involve 100 pupils at 4 schools (Manchester Grammar, Bradfield College, Reading, Park House School, Newbury, and Townley Grammar in Bexleyheath, Kent) in a two-term experiment that will be rolled out across the UK if successful.
For years, the UK’s IT curriculum for secondary schools has been criticised for concentrating on only one widely used proprietary operating system and only teaching the children how to be passive users of well-known proprietary software products instead of firing their curiosity to experiment.
One of the most high profile critics has been Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. At the recent McTaggart lecture in Edinburgh he was reported to have said:
“I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even taught as a standard in UK schools. Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made. That is just throwing away your great computer heritage.”
The scheme is called “Behind the Screen” and was launched on Thursday by the Secretary of State for Universities and Science, David “Two Brains” Willetts, at the British Science Festival in Bradford.