The government has announced a new £500,000 fund to train teachers in software coding in a bid to ready them for the impending new national curriculum for computing.
The fund will go towards expert training for new and existing teachers. This is on top of existing funding, including £1m for the Barefoot Computing volunteer-led training scheme and £2m set aside for 400 "master teachers" employed to train teachers in their region.
In order to gain access to the funding, organisations such as businesses or schemes training teachers to teach computing will be able to bid for match-funded grants from the government.
The new fund was announced as the government kicked off its Year of Code scheme intended to sell the benefits of coding skills to children. The 12-month scheme amounts to a series of events including a week in March during which schools will be encouraged to teach students at least an hour of coding.
Chancellor George Osborne said: "In the 21st century, the ability to code and program a computer is no longer a nice-to-have, it's an essential. Backing technology and making sure our children are equipped with the skills for the future is a key part of our economic plan."
Education secretary Michael Gove added: "The new computing curriculum will give our children the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. That is why we replaced the obsolete and boring curriculum with one that is forward thinking, modern, and drawn up by teachers, industry experts and leading technology firms.
"I want IT firms, university computing departments and software developers to use this fund to share their knowledge with the next generation."
The new curriculum will be mandatory for primary and secondary pupils in the UK from September. The finalised curriculum was published last year, with teachers now having to prepare to teach the new lessons through training courses, some of which they will pay for themselves and others which have been backed by the government and tech businesses.
The new computing curriculum has been a key part of the government's policy to make the UK a better place for technology companies, with the intention of making London Europe's tech capital.
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