Computers: Primary Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Baker of Dorking Lord Baker of Dorking Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many primary schools taught computer coding in the current academic year.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The computing curriculum in England was introduced in 2014 across key stages 1 to 4 to ensure it better reflects employers’ needs and the increasing demand for digital skills. There are over 10,000 state-funded primary schools in the academic year 2019/20 which are all required to teach the computing curriculum from key stage 1, with England being one of the first G20 countries to introduce teaching of coding in primary schools. Other schools, such as academies and free schools, have freedom to design their own school curriculum, but are required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum to their pupils, with many using the computing curriculum as an exemplar.

To strengthen the teaching of the computing curriculum and GCSE/A Level computer science, and to improve take up of computing qualifications, we are investing over £80 million in the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE). The NCCE is providing free high quality continuing professional development (CPD) and teaching resources for both primary and secondary teachers, as well as overseeing a network of 34 computing hubs to support schools across the country. Support from the NCCE includes resources specifically mapped against the whole primary and secondary computing curriculum up to and including key stage 4, a Computer Science Accelerator Programme for GCSE teachers that includes programming-specific CPD elements, and the Isaac Computer Science A level online platform which provides resources for teachers and student workshops.

Computing science is one of the fastest growing subjects at GCSE with over 77,000 pupils sitting the exam in 2019.

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