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The conference focused on next steps for the computing curriculum in England.
Delegates discussed how a high-quality computing curriculum can be developed and implemented moving forward - and how the sector, as well as the DfE, should respond to issues raised in Ofsted’s computing research review that looked at the quality of computing education in England.
The conference was an opportunity to assess DfE initiatives aimed at improving recruitment and retention - including increased funding in the form of bonuses and bursaries, and the establishment of the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) - and whether these measures would be enough to succeed in strengthening computing teaching across England.
It came as Ofsted flagged that a lack of specialist computing teachers could have significant consequences for pupils’ education.
We are pleased to have been able to include a keynote session with Samina Kiddier, Computing and Digital Skills Policy Team Leader, Department for Education.
There was also a contribution from Mark Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Ada. National College for Digital Skills, on the future of computing education in England’s schools.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- the curriculum - design - quality and standards - development of the computing offer
- responding to Ofsted’s recommendations following the computing research review:
- recruitment and retention of specialist computing teachers - impact of new incentives - practicalities of increasing teaching time
- ensuring online safety is rooted within the curriculum - help for pupils to become skilful programmers
- school staff - teacher training - support and CPD
- life skills - further steps needed to improve young people’s digital literacy - children who are digitally excluded - preparing students for higher education and employment
- progression & inclusion:
- qualification choice at GCSE and A Level - increasing uptake - vocational options and progression to digital T-Levels - choices post-16
- pathways - uptake from underrepresented groups, including girls
- pathways into digital careers - careers guidance in the sector and raising young people’s awareness of the options available
- the future IT workforce - coding for future careers, including cyber security - the potential of online play-based learning, such as esports, to build transferable skills
- equipment - keeping pace with technology - digital infrastructure updates to improve the delivery of computing education
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from DfE; DCMS; Department of Education, NI; Department for the Economy, NI; and the DfT.