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2018: A review of policy and computing education

Author: sophia.aker

2018 year has been exciting for computing education. The government is clearly committed to the industrial strategy as announced in 2017, and many of these promises have been fleshed out throughout the year in various proposals, commitments and programmes. As the year comes to a close, why not take a closer look at the year in policy and computing education. A summary of all the most important highlights from policy and computing.


PM announces £20 million to Institute of Coding
Led by a consortium of IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, 60+ universities and industry, the Institute aims to boost digital skills, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. This was matched by a further £20 million from Industry to fund the programme. The pilot programme was launched in Leeds, Devon, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-trent, and the West Midlands.


PM launches major review of post-18 education
Theresa May pledged to look at ways of ensuring more people have an expansive and genuine choice between high quality technical and academic options. Speaking at Derby College on 19 February, the PM warned against “outdated attitudes” that favour academic over technical qualifications.


Skills Minister Anne Milton calls on business to join new T Level Panels
Announced 27 March, Anne Milton MP called on businesses to play a central role in designing the new technical specifications. Industry experts from agriculture, business administration, hair and beauty, creative and design, and more were invited to join panels to develop the content for these new qualifications. T Levels are an alternative technical qualification which aim to give a better alternative to post-16 education. They will first be taught in 2020. 


Ukie talks to MPs about games and mental health 
A roundtable event was held in Westminster in April, bringing policymakers and industry together to talk about games and mental health. Hosted by Ukie, present were MPs who sit on the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Video Games and for Mental Health. They discussed the positive impact of games on mental health, and in particular its ability to make these illnesses more visible. 


Organisations invited to run the NCCE 
School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, announced on 6 May an invitation for organisations to run the National Centre for Computing Education. This announcement marked the beginning of the process of finding a supplier for the programme, which was eventually announced in November.


STEM international teacher recruitment programme
DfE announced 8 June that all state funded secondary schools were eligible to access the STEM international teacher recruitment programme. This programme aims to help schools recruit talented teachers from abroad, especially from the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. With schools paying the fee of these teachers, DfE will fund recruitment costs and acclimatisation package.


A level Results showed that STEM levels have risen by 24% from 2010, up 3.4% since last year
Damian Hinds said “We’ve worked to improve education for every child – from their early years through to secondary school and beyond. I also want young people to have wider choice, whether that’s going to university, earning through an apprenticeship or in future taking technical qualifications that match the best in the world.”


Damian Hinds says UK needs a tech-led 'education revolution'
The Education Secretary announced in August the need to challenge international tech industries to work together with teacher. He said this could relieve the burden on teachers by getting industry to develop innovative teaching practices and more efficient assessment and administration processes. 


DfE release an Essential Digital Skills Framework
This framework was designed to support providers, organisations, and employers across the UK who offer digital skills training for adults. The report has a list of foundational skills which all adults are expected to know, from how to turn on a device, to connecting to WiFi and knowing how to update privacy settings and passwords. 


Overhaul of adult digital skills qualifications
Minister Anne Milton announced on 18 October an overhaul of adult digital skills qualifications after it was revealed that as many as 11.3 million adults in the UK do not have necessary basic digital skills required to operate in daily life. The consultation aims to overhaul the current national standard of core digital skills, improve basic skills, and introduce qualifications free of charge available from 2020.

Esports panel in Westminster
Hosted by Alex Sobel MP, Parliament’s first esports event took place on 29 October. Attending was DSH, Intel UK and organisations from across the esports sector. Discussing the social and careers benefits of esports, the panel also touched on the challenges of growing the sector.


NCCE consortium revealed by DfE
Raspberry Pi Foundation, STEM Learning and BSC won the bid to run the NCCE, as revealed earlier in November. This marked the beginning of implementing the programme on a national scale, which aims to develop 40 computing hubs, CPD for teachers, and resources to kickstart the new and improved computing education.


DCMS funding for DSH
DCMS is providing £200,000 over the next few months to accelerate the growth of the programme to reach even more schools across the country. This government funding will enable the programme to expand from 34 to 50 Schoolhouses by September 2019, reaching an additional 7000 pupils in next academic year alone.

Read our 2018 programme highlights here


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