Code Club, the network of over 1,875 volunteer-led after-school coding clubs, announced today that it is launching a nationwide training programme to teach core computing skills to primary school teachers.
The initiative, set to be rolled out in April, aims to deliver specialist training to thousands of primary school teachers across the country by 2016 and is being backed with £120,000 from Google. Code Club said the funding will allow the training to be rolled out to participating schools and teachers at a low cost.
Code Club Pro, as the initiative has been dubbed, is being introduced ahead of the launch national computing curriculum in September.
The new curriculum will require primary school teachers to teach computer programming to children aged five and above for the first time, often without any prior experience or training. According to Code Club, which has access to a wide network of schools, the training needs of teachers have so far been overlooked in this process.
Code Club Pro aims to quickly get teachers up to speed on what they need to know for the new computing curriculum.
Through the iniatiative, Code Club is aiming to deliver training in computing to over 20,000 primary school teachers by 2016 and reach many more through the provision of online programmes and resources.
Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder and CEO of Code Club, said: “The addition of coding to the new primary school curriculum is a great step forward for the UK education sector. However, to date, there has been a lack of focus on how to equip the primary school teachers to actually teach this new subject. We know first hand that teachers are feeling daunted by the prospect of having to teach a syllabus they don’t fully understand themselves. As a result, we decided to create a training programme that would help support them through this period of change.
“As a not-for-profit, Code Club is able to focus on a core objective of supporting as many teachers and children as possible, through the provision of fun, accessible and affordable training, which hands on and experiential. Our goal is to improve access to training, so that teachers can feel confident and excited about delivering the new computing curriculum.”
Since the beginning of 2013, Google has invested over £1 million in British organisations that support organisations like Code Club to bring computer science to more people in the UK.
Mike Warriner, UK engineering director at Google, said: “There is increasing demand for computer science skills in all industries - not just tech - and Code Club Pro is a great initiative to engage the UK's teachers in computing and give them the skills they need to inspire the next generation of coders."
Warriner welcomed the UK's new computing curriculum this week at the Year of Code launch but said it might need to be tweaked if there isn't enough passion or enthusiasm.
Chancellor George Osborne, who unveiled a £500,000 to train teachers how to code this week, said: “This new partnership is a great opportunity for teachers to get the skills they need to prepare for the upcoming curriculum change and teach children the computing and coding skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives."