The Royal Society has urged the government to address the lack of skilled ICT teachers working in UK schools in order to ensure the nation does not fall behind as the demand for skilled IT workers increases.
A new report published by the organisation, Shut down or Restart?, found that only 35 per cent of teachers providing training on ICT issues are considered specialists in that field by the Department of Education.
This compares with 74 per cent of mathematics teachers, 80 per cent of English teachers and 88 per cent of biology teachers.
"The majority of teachers are specialists, but ICT is an exception to the rule. The fact remains that the majority of teachers are not specialists and we heard from young people that they often knew more than the teacher giving the lesson," said Steve Furber, chair of the report.
"Action is needed not only on the curriculum itself, but also to recruit and train many more inspiring teachers to reinvigorate pupils' enthusiasm for computing."
The report also found that a lack of vital equipment, both hardware and software, was also holding back IT teaching by denying students access to the necessary tools.
"Suitable technical resources should be available in all schools to support the teaching of computer science and information technology," the report said.
"These could include pupil-friendly programming environments such as Scratch, educational microcontroller kits such as PICAXE and Arduino and robot kits such as Lego Mindstorms."
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