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Policy projects

Computing education

©Highwaystarz-Photography

10 November 2017

This Royal Society report, After the Reboot – Computing Education in UK Schools, explores the challenges and issues facing the subject in primary and secondary schools since the subject was introduced in English schools in 2014.

Why computing education?

Computing is a subject that all young people should learn in order for them to have a well-informed understanding of the increasingly digital world that surrounds them. Employers project that the number of careers depending on computing skills will grow. Many pupils currently starting out in school today could end up in jobs that do not currently exist.

Computing for all

Young people should have the opportunity to study computing and it is vitally important that all pupils have equal access to computing, so that they are equipped with the necessary skills for the future. Many schools are making significant progress, as our case studies show. Our research identified an upward but fragile trend in the uptake of computing qualifications, and the qualifications on offer need to be reviewed. Addressing the gender imbalance we and others have identified is essential and will require innovative approaches.

Supporting our teachers

We need confident, trained and supported teachers if all students are to have the opportunity to study computing. Our research highlighted that moving to curricula with a stronger computer science focus from curricula dominated by information communication technology to is a difficult transition to make. To truly transform computing education, teachers need unhindered access to a structured programme of professional development.

Improving computing education through research

We need to understand how to teach computing effectively, in order to have the best possible impact on students’ learning and lifelong outcomes. Our evidence gathering showed that pedagogies for computing in schools remain less developed than those for other subjects, as computing education research in the past has focused on higher education. Significant investment is needed in a new research strategy for computing education.

A coherent strategy

Our report, After the Reboot, identifies the next steps needed to support the growth of this new school subject, so that young people are equipped with the skills to be effective in an increasingly digital world. Governments, industry and academia must continue to support computing education in schools, and address these priorities, to ensure that the subject grows and flourishes.


GCSE Computing

Through our research we found that the provision of the subject at GCSE was sporadic. Explore our local authority map to see the breakdown throughout the country in 2015-16.