ICT: Primary Education

Education written question – answered on 27th March 2014.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance, Belfast East

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to improve opportunities for children in primary school to learn computer programming.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As part of the reforms to the national curriculum, the Department for Education is strengthening the teaching of programming in schools by replacing ICT with computing. The new computing programmes of study, which will be taught in maintained schools from September 2014, have a much greater emphasis on computer science and include a significant focus on programming. Primary school pupils at key stage 1 will be taught to understand what algorithms are, create and debug simple programs, and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs. Building on this, primary school pupils at key stage 2 will be taught to design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; and use logical reasoning to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs.

The Department is funding several projects to help teachers acquire the necessary subject knowledge and skills to teach the new computing curriculum. We are funding the British Computer Society (BCS) to help primary school teachers improve their subject knowledge through online teach-yourself resources and 800 in-school workshops. We are also funding BCS to build a network of 400 'Master Teachers'. A further £500,000 competitive match-funded scheme was announced on 4 February to support excellent computing teaching and lever additional investment and engagement from business.

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