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Industry pledges support for ICT teaching proposals

Royal Society report recommends ways that companies can support and sponsor development of specialist teaching

The IT industry has pledged to support the Royal Society's recommendations on how to improve the quality of ICT education in schools and increase take-up of the subject at GCSE-level and beyond.

A new report from the Royal Society, 'Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools', is calling for the UK government to boost the number of specialist computing teachers in the country.

Bill Mitchell, director of BCS Academy of Computing, part of the Chartered Institute for IT, said: "This report, which identifies digital literacy for 5-14 year olds, information technology and computer science as key subjects, is an important and authoritative call to arms which BCS and (Cambridge University Computer Science department) CAS wholeheartedly support.

"The important steps now are to help schools to teach schoolchildren how to create digital technology for themselves through computer science and we will be using our experience and resources to provide teachers with any such assistance they may need."

The Royal Society recommended a number of ways in which industry could play a role, for example, by helping to fund training bursaries to attract suitably qualified graduates into teaching.

It suggested that the government could also seek funding from companies to support continued professional development (CPD) for computing teachers.

In addition, the Royal Society believes that industry has a role in supporting non-formal computer science education, for example by supporting after-school clubs, providing speakers to speak at schools, and mentors for teachers.

John Hoggard, head of government and education at IT industry association Intellect, said: "We are lucky to have great teachers and schools all over the UK, and the technology industry will continue to do its utmost to support them in making these exciting changes."

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