Children across England will begin a new coding-focused computing curriculum this week, despite concerns that teachers are not ready to implement the major education changes.
The new curriculum emphasises the skills the government believes that universities and employees will value the most.
School pupils in local authority schools, aged five to 14, will now have to study computer programming, along with being able to build an electrical circuit by the age of eight, and study two Shakespeare plays by the time they hit 14.
From the start of the new term, all primary and secondary schools in England will have to start teaching the new curriculum. However, secondary schools designated as academies will not have to adopt the curriculum changes.
First proposed by ex-education secretary Michael Gove back in 2013, the revised curriculum was hailed by prime minister David Cameron as "rigorous, engaging and tough", by putting computer programming, mathematical-modelling and essay-writing at its core.
In a statement to V3, Nick Gibb, school reform minister, declared the curriculum's importance to Britain's future.
"We want a generation of school leavers equipped with the skills and knowledge needed not only to succeed in modern Britain, but also to compete with their peers from around the world, a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future," said Gibb.
However, many teachers are sceptical about adopting all the curriculum's major changes at once.
In a survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), 81 percent of education staff felt they have not had enough time to implement the changes to the curriculum.
Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary at the ATL, said the government has rushed the biggest change to the curriculum in decades, adding: "It is shocking, but not surprising, to find that fewer than a quarter of teachers feel that their school is prepared to teach the new curriculum that starts in September."
The ATL declared that teachers had "slammed" the Department for Education's changes, with 89 percent of the teachers surveyed calling the changes "chaotic or flawed".
Ellis went on to say that teachers will need to go to some effort to ensure that children are not disadvantaged by the rushed curriculum: "It is extremely unfair to jeopardise young people's education through what seems to be national mismanagement of change."
Regardless of the scepticism and vocal opposition to starting the re-worked curriculum this September, the government has proceeded with its rollout.
The IT sector is more positive about the curriculum changes. Commenting on the impact the education reform could have Tony Speakman, director of software firm FileMaker, said: "We strongly welcome the introduction of coding into the UK school curriculum.
"It's a new generation of problem solvers and team workers that's the really exciting part of this significant change in technology education," Speakman said.
Enthusiasm from IT companies for the new curriculum is unsurprising, given that many are concerned that a lack of digital skills in the UK could be detrimental to the nation's technology industry.
V3 recently took a closer look at the relationship between education and the IT skills gap.
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