The government has axed funding for “outdated” ICT teacher training courses and announced plans for new computer science ITT from September 2013.
Education secretary Michael Gove has also unveiled a £20,000 scholarship programme to tempt high achieving graduates into teaching computer science.
Set up with the BCS chartered institute for IT, around 50 scholarships will be available in the first year with any graduate holding a 2.1 or first class degree eligible to apply for the new computer science initial teacher training (ITT) course.
A statement from the Department for Education today (Friday, October 19) said: “Working with experts in the industry and in teaching practice, BCS will award scholarships to candidates with exceptional subject knowledge, enthusiasm for the study of computer science as well as an outstanding potential to teach.
“BCS’s relationship with the scholars will continue into their teaching careers to develop a cadre of outstanding computer science teachers who are part of a community across schools, universities and industry.”
Elsewhere, 500 existing ICT teachers will receive training in computer science through a new Network of Computer Science Teaching Excellence. The network has been given £150,000 by the government and will train existing teachers with an ICT background to better teach computer science.
Around half of these will be expert teachers who will share their skills and knowledge with other teachers across the country and help support CPD for their colleagues.
The DfE statement added: “The network will help forge long-term links between schools, top universities involved in computer science and employers. Around 540 schools have already registered interest in the network and top university computer science departments including those at Cambridge, Imperial and Manchester and employers such as Microsoft, BT and IBM have also signed up.”
The government has also set out requirements for the subject knowledge and attributes that all new computer science teachers should have before they start their training. These include “being able to demonstrate an understanding of key computer science concepts and approaches such as algorithms, data representation and logic”.
The requirements have been drawn up by a panel of industry experts and organisations including the Computing at School Working Group, BCS, Naace, and the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education.
Education secretary Michael Gove said: “Computer science is not just a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject. It is also vital to our success in the global race. If we want our country to produce the next Sir Tim Berners-Lee – creator of the internet – we need the very best computer science teachers in our classrooms. They need to have the right skills and deep subject knowledge to help their pupils.”
Bill Mitchell, director of the BCS Academy of Computing, added: “The UK needs far more technology creators and entrepreneurs if we are to stay competitive in the global economy. That means students need to be taught not just how software and hardware works, but also how to create new digital technology for themselves.
“The best way to do that is to have outstanding computer science teachers in as many schools as possible, which is why these new initiatives are so important.”
For more information on the scholarships, visit www.bcs.org/teachingscholarships and for more on the new Network, see www.bcs.org/CSteachingexcellence