Google has said the new national computing curriculum, to be introduced to schools across the UK in September, is a “start” but admitted it will need to be developed in the years that follow to keep pace with technological advancements.
Under the changes set out by the Department of Education (DoE) in last year, all schools in the UK will be required to teach children aged 5-16 how to write computer programmes instead of just use them from September 2014 onwards. The new curriculum will aim to teach students how to understand and apply the fundamental principles of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation.
Google engineering director Mike Warriner told Techworld at the Year of Code launch in London today that the new curriculum is a "great start".
“Coding is something that everybody’s kids should be learning,” said Warriner at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). “We need to evolve that and develop that because over the next 100 years it will change and it will develop but it is a start.”
“At the moment we’d like to see it [the new curriculum] bed down and see that we and others help the teachers of today get up to speed with what they need to teach, become confident and be passionate about this as a course. Then we can see how kids respond and what they get out of it. If there are tweaks needed and there’s not enough passion and there’s not enough enthusiasm then we can bring that into the course.”
Warriner made the comments just after speaking on a panel about coding in schools alongside Government CTO Liam Maxwell and co-founder of education start-up Codecademy, Zach Sims.
While speaking on the panel, Warriner said that Google often has to look outside the UK to recruit the most talented people. “There’s a huge shortage of skills here,” he said. “It’s got worse in the last 10 years. The number of kids doing A-Level computer science has actually dropped over the last 10 years from 10,000 to 3,500, which is pretty shocking when there are 900,000 IT job openings in Europe.”
Encouragingly, the number of students applying to study computer science at university in 2013 rose 12 percent compared with last year.