Can anyone learn to program? I think so, and I think it’s important that those teaching computing think so too. I’ve been at a couple of conferences in the last month where the question came up, and I was really surprised by how many in these audiences thought there’d be at least some in their classes who would just not get programming. This worries me, I think because it suggests that some teachers are approaching the new curriculum with a fixed model of pupils’ ability, as if this were presented to us as a given with which to do what we can.
This morning, alongside Hugh Milward, Policy Director for Microsoft UK, and Mike Warriner, Engineering Director for Google UK, I gave oral evidence to Baroness Sally Morgan’s Select Committee on Digital Skills. The session was recorded and starts approximately 1hr 9mins through the following video clip (the first hour of the clip is an earlier evidence session with three other panelists) – http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=15870.
In our Policy Priorities document, our submission to Maggie Philbin’s digital Task Force, and in all our informal communications, we have stressed the importance of a medium/long-term, appropriately funded programme of CPD for teachers aligned to the new curriculum. This is a critical part of any overall government strategy around increasing the digital skills of the UK workforce. We are currently undertaking our own survey of schools to ascertain how ready they are to deliver the new curriculum in September 2015, where we believe that adequate CPD will in many cases be a pre-requisite to readiness.
A new House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills was recently announced, chaired by Baroness Sally Morgan, outgoing chair of Ofsted. The text of the Call For evidence is included below. The embedded link to a YouTube video by Baroness Morgan outlines their focus.
UKForCE will of course make a submission as almost all the issues Baroness Morgan highlights for investigation are within or adjacent to our remit.