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Year of Code adviser slams scheme and abandons post in less than a week

10 Feb 2014
An empty IT classroom

An adviser for the government's Year of Code scheme has withdrawn her support after slamming the initiative, its organisation and the people involved, as the shambles around the project continues.

The Year of Code was launched last week alongside a £500,000 fund to allow the technology industry to assist in training teachers to teach the new computing curriculum to their pupils.

However, writing on her blog, chief executive of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, Emma Mulqueeny, labelled the scheme and the government's other efforts to teach the nation to code as "BS". 

Mulqueeny labelled Lottie Dexter, the woman placed in charge of the Year of Code, a "PR girl who has no idea". She said Dexter had been "hurled out to slaughter" by Year of Code chairman and former government adviser Rohan Silva as well as his colleague at Index Ventures Saul Klein.

This follows Dexter's difficult outing on BBC Two's Newsnight last week when she admitted that she does not know how to code, continuing to claim that teachers can pick up the new curriculum "in a day". 

Mulqueeny wrote of her "frustrated attempts to have a conversation with Lottie", which "ended in an actual chat last Sunday [2 February] afternoon" only to discover that the launch was scheduled for the following Tuesday, 4 February.

Mulqueeny was added to the scheme as an adviser but stated that it had been made clear that she would not be undertaking any advising, despite her title. She noted that her name and job title were both initially incorrectly written on the Year of Code website.

She called the government's £500,000 fund to assist computing teachers a "bs strategy".

"I want nothing to do with this. And I do not support this government policy," she said.

V3 reached out to the Department for Education for a response to Mulqueeny's concerns, but it declined to comment on the issues raised in the blog post.

The government has made teaching children to code a key part of its business and education strategy, intending to set the UK apart from the rest of the world with a robust and relevant computing curriculum that is mandatory for all state school pupils. Many additional schemes have since emerged from various non-profit groups, as well as those backed by the government.

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Michael Passingham

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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