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Raspberry Pi Foundation helps set up £84m National Centre for Computing Education

Raspberry Pi Foundation is helping to set up a new national centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Raspberry Pi Foundation is helping to set up a new national centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Unprecedented investment' aims to offer every pupil in England access to a world-leading computing education

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation in Cambridge is helping to set up a new National Centre for Computing Education to ensure every school pupil in England will access a world-leading computing education.

The charitable arm of Raspberry Pi, which creates cheap, credit card-sized computers, is part of a consortium with STEM Learning and the British Computer Society, which has secured more than £84million in government funding.

The money will enable them to deliver support for computing teachers in primary and secondary schools, including resources, training, research, certification and more.

Philip Colligan, chief executive of Raspberry Pi Foundation, said: “This level of investment is unprecedented anywhere in the world for teacher training in the field of computing and computer science. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way that computing and computer science is taught.”

All online resources and courses will be free for all to use and face-to-face training will be available at no cost to teachers in priority schools, and at a “very low” cost to others.

The centre aims to drive up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-level and bolster teaching standards by providing bursaries to ensure schools can release teachers to take part in professional development.

The centre will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led computing hubs, where the training and resources for primaries and secondaries will be provided, along with an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-level qualification in computer science.

Philip added: “We’re working with the University of Cambridge team that created Isaac Physics to adapt and extend that platform and programme to support teachers and students of computer science A-level.

“Our friends at Google have provided practical support and a grant of £1million to help us create free online courses that will help teachers develop the knowledge and skills to teach computing and computer science. We’re working with the Behavioural Insights Team to make it as easy as possible for teachers to get involved with the programme, and with FutureLearn to provide high-quality online courses.”

The consortium has secured specific commitments from more than 60 organisations to help.

Paul Fletcher, chief executive of the British Computer Society, said: “The subject of computing was only introduced four years ago and is still new for schools and that’s why it’s important to build on the energy and enthusiasm of the many teachers who are already committed to the success of this subject.”

Yvonne Baker, chief executive of STEM Learning, added: “High quality, knowledgeable teaching of computer science is the cornerstone of achieving our aims. Evidence tells us this is fundamental to raising attainment and driving up participation, particularly for girls.”

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “This new National Centre for Computing Education, led by some of the UK’s leading tech experts, will give teachers the subject knowledge and support they need.”

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