New York-based educational start-up Codecademy today warned that a large number of English schools are failing to address the upcoming changes to the national computing curriculum.

Under the changes set out by the Department of Education (DoE) in September, all schools in England will be required to teach children aged 5-16 how to write computer programmes instead of just use them from September 2014 onwards. 

Codecademy is a free web-based platform that children can use in class or at home to learn how to make mobile/web apps in HTML, Python, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby and PHP, while also learning how to use a range of associated programming interfaces (APIs). 

Leng Lee, head of operations at Codecademy, told Techworld: “To get teachers in schools ready and with the resources they need is obviously going to be very difficult. Right now it’s December so we’re nine months away from the rollout. I’d say the majority of schools haven’t even started thinking about it to be honest.

“There are 17,000 primary schools and 3,000 secondary schools [in England]. There’s major concern around the primary schools and how they’re getting ready for it because a lot of their teachers are generalist teachers who have to worry about a lot of different subject areas. So there’s no one really with the background in primary schools to take care of it.

“At a secondary school level, you may have an IT teacher, a maths teacher or a physics teachers with some interest in programming and have done this before.”

Over the next few months Codecademy will be stepping up its marketing efforts in a bid to raise their profile in the UK and encourage schools to prepare for the upcoming curriculum changes.

Codecademy has already held trials with several of the UK’s leading schools after it was introduced to them by the DoE.

Thomas Souter, a teacher at Reepham High School & College, in Norfolk, said: “I'm using Codecademy in my classroom. It provides a simple, user-friendly way of letting young people step through the learning process at a pace that works for them.”

Two-and-a-half-year-old Codecademy, which has received £12.5 million in venture capital funding, also wants teachers to come to its site and create teaching content around computer programming languages that can be shared with other teachers.

Saul Klein, partner at leading Codecademy investor, Index Ventures, said: “Codecademy offers anyone an incredibly easy and free way to learn how to code. The fact that since August 2011, millions of people from over 100 countries are already learning to code shows incredible pent-up demand.”

While all content on the site is free to use, Lee revealed that Codecademy could one day charge teachers for using certain services. 

“The main priority is to entrench ourselves as the leading platform for learning how to programme,” he added. “If we get England as a case study then that’s a major G8 country using our thing. We can go to another country and show that off.”