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Google, Microsoft and ARM pay up to train computing teachers

Firms contribute £426,500 and Department for Education adds £338,000
Thu Jun 05 2014, 09:45

GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, ARM AND IBM have pledged time and money to the UK government in order to train more tech-savvy teachers to teach the computing curriculum from September.

The vendors and other organisations have stumped up a total of £426,500, while the Department for Education (DfE) will throw in £338,000, which will be used for a variety of teacher training schemes.

The hope is that 45,000 new teachers will pass through the schemes, equipping them with the necessary skills to teach the new computing syllabus, which will focus on programming and algorithms.

The largest project involves Microsoft, which will donate £284,000 to work with the British Computing Society (BCS) and Computing at School (CAS) to create another 250 lead schools for the CAS Network of Excellence that provides IT teacher training, doubling the number to 500.

Another 100 CAS hubs are also being created where teachers and lecturers can come together to share ideas and training tips for computing teaching. The project is backed by £150,000 from the DfE.

Microsoft UK managing director Michel van der Bel said that providing the funding was a vital investment from Microsoft, especially as the firm is wary of a major skills shortage that could blight the technology industry as soon as 2025.

"If we want the next technology success story to be based in Britain, we need teachers who have the right skills and the confidence to encourage, support and enable them to do so," he said.

"Industry support is vital to help bring the curriculum to life, which is why Microsoft has partnered with the CAS group to deliver a series of personal training sessions and to develop a suite of online training materials as teachers get ready for those first lessons."

Another notable project is Code Club Pro. This will train 3,000 primary school teachers on the new computing teaching requirements, run by volunteer trainers and teachers who will be recruited to help with the project.

This is being funded by several donations, including £25,000 from UK success story ARM, £10,000 from Postcode Anywhere, £10,000 from Google and £41,314 from the DfE.

Meanwhile, IBM has offered £15,000 as part of a project led by the London Connected Learning Centre to provide tailored computing teacher training to 10 primary and secondary schools.

Computer scientists will also lead seminars at the schools to help teachers better explain to pupils how computing is used in the real world and give more immediacy to the lessons.

Other projects involve schools and universities providing more training courses for teachers in areas such as coding and helping fund 'master teachers' who will visit other schools to pass on ideas and expertise on how to teach computing classes.

The projects are the latest government-backed ideas designed to kickstart a surge in computing improvement in the education sector. The BCS is already recieving £2m in funding from the DfE to train 400 teachers by September 2014. µ


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