First 23 computing hubs in England announced

The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has revealed the first 23 hubs chosen to improve computer science education in England.

North Yorkshire, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and Tyne and Wear all have two hubs, with others scattered around the country in areas such as Devon, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire (see full list below).

Today’s announcement comes after warnings in May that the country had seen a “steep decline” in computing education, with pupils taking 144,000 fewer computing or ICT qualifications last summer compared with 2017.

Last year the government finally hit its original target to train 400 computing master teachers – three years later and costing £1 million more than expected.

The hubs are designed to offer support to primary and secondary computing teachers in the area, including teaching, resources and continuing professional development (CPD) activities.

The hubs will cover practical and theoretical aspects of teaching computing and will include links with industry professionals and university academics, the NCCE said.

The NCCE was established in November last year. It is backed by £84 million government funding and £1 million from Google to develop training for secondary school computing teachers. The tendering for the next wave of hubs is underway.

Professor Simon Peyton Jones, NCCE chair, said: “Our partnership with teachers is vital to our mission. A single inspired, equipped, valued and supported teacher will influence tens or hundreds of children every day, and thousands over their career.”

It’s been well documented that the government’s school computing revolution has led to girls and poorer pupils excluded from achieving vital technology qualifications.

A study in 2016 revealed that just 16 per cent of GCSE computing pupils the previous year were girls. At A-level, girls made up just 8.5 per cent. 

The worrying trend prompted the British Computer Society (BCS), which designed the computer science GCSE, to urge the government to U-turn on its plans to scrap the ICT qualification in 2017. The call was ignored.

Nick Gibb, schools minister, added: “As our digital industry makes an increasingly significant contribution to our economy, it is important that our teachers have the expertise to teach computer science with confidence and ensure young people leave school prepared for life in the 21st century.”

 

The new computing hubs:

  • All Saints RC School, North Yorkshire
  • Beauchamp College, Leicestershire
  • Bingley Grammar School, West Yorkshire
  • Bishop Challoner Catholic College, West Midlands
  • Cardinal Hume Catholic School, Tyne and Wear
  • Carmel College, County Durham
  • Chesterton Community College, Cambridgeshire
  • City of Stoke-on-Trent 6th Form College, Staffordshire
  • Dartford Grammar School, Kent
  • Dereham Neatherd High School, Norfolk
  • Exeter Mathematics School, Devon
  • Harrogate Grammar School, North Yorkshire
  • Kings Priory School, Tyne and Wear
  • Langley Grammar School, Berkshire
  • Newstead Wood School, Kent
  • Pate’s Grammar School, Gloucestershire
  • Saffron Walden County High School, Essex
  • Sandringham School, Hertfordshire
  • St Clements Danes School, Hertfordshire
  • The Chase, Worcestershire
  • Truro and Penwith College, Cornwall
  • West Suffolk College, Suffolk
  • Westcliff High School for Girls, Essex