More than 200 secondary school teachers from across England have become the first to achieve a nationally recognised teaching qualification from the new National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).
They attended a graduation ceremony this week at Google’s offices in London for the course, which aims to address the shortage of qualified GCSE computer science teachers.
Run by the NCCE, it helps teachers take the first step to obtain vital computing knowledge and ensures that their students are equipped with the digital skills needed to access future career opportunities.
Google has provided practical in the form of mentoring and engineers, while Google.org has invested a grant of £1 million to help create free online training courses for the programme.
NCCE said that researchers have found three-quarters of teachers in the UK do not have an academic background in computer science and that most pupils are unlikely to get any computing lessons after the age of 14 if they have not opted to study computer science for GCSE.
Professor Simon Peyton Jones (pictured), chair of the NCCE, said: "Our new National Centre for Computing Education has an ambitious but achievable goal: for every child to understand the foundational principles of computing, so that they can become the masters and creators of technology rather than merely its slaves and consumers.
“We can achieve that goal only through the very best computing teachers. We have made a very successful start with more than 200 teachers completing our accelerated programme to teach computer science GCSE.
"But to really make our country proud, we need senior leadership teams in schools, politicians, school governors, among others, behind us. The new computing curriculum is for every child, in every school, in every part of our nation – we must reach far beyond passionate few. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
John Feleppa, head of department at Harrow High School said the Computer Science Accelerator Programme had made him more confident to teach the Key Stage 4 computer science curriculum and recommended it to other teachers.
The NCCE is funded by the Department for Education to ensure that every child in every school in England can have a computing education, and is run by a consortium made up of STEM Learning, Raspberry Pi Foundation and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Image from NCCE