The Department for Education (DfE) has announced £2m in funding to ensure computer science teachers are equipped to teach pupils in schools the new computing curriculum, which is set to be rolled out to schools in September 2014.
The new computing curriculum is still being designed, even though the old ICT curriculum was ditched by schools last September.
The one month public consultation on the new curriculum came to an end on the 16 April amid some concerns the revamped subject emphasis on the principles of computer science and practical programming, including algorithms, coding and hardware, would be out of the expertise realm of many teachers, who do not tend to have training in such areas.
While the DfE considers such concerns, the newly announced funding indicates the department does not plan on much watering down of this strong computer science element of the curriculum.
The funding will be given to the British Computer Society to build out its existing Network of Excellence (NoE) in Teaching Computer Science programme, so that computing teachers in 16,000 UK primary and secondary schools will be in a position to deliver the new computing curriculum, as well as the new computer science GCSE.
At the moment, the NoE focuses on partnering schools with local universities to provide teachers with the relevant training they need in order to offer computer science.
Specialist ICT or computing teachers who join the Network are offered high quality, low-cost continuing professional development by participating universities and have the option to sign up to a range of courses depending on their abilities.
The £2m in government funding will allow the NoE to recruit 400 expert computer science teachers over the next two years. Each of these expert teachers will then be asked to pass on their skills and subject knowledge to 40 schools.
"Children from the age of five will be taught computer science once the new statutory curriculum for computing comes into force. Therefore we need to ensure all teachers can teach the computer science and programming elements of the new curriculum," said BCS director Bill Mitchell.
Education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss announced the new funding at an event co-hosted by Facebook and the Gates Foundation.
"Computer science is a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject. The new computing curriculum will mean pupils have a real understanding of how digital technologies work - allowing them to create new technologies rather than being passive consumers of them," said Truss.
"This brings exciting challenges for computing teachers - we are raising our expectations of the subject knowledge they should have, including how computers work, programming and coding."
V3 is currently running a Make IT better campaign to improve computing learning in schools.
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