DfE unveils firms to run National Centre for Computing Education


The government has unveiled its three chosen organisations to run the new National Centre for Computing Education.

First announced by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in last year’s Budget, the £84 million centre will help to upskill around 8,000 computer science secondary school teachers.

Three firms have been chosen to run the centre, including the British Computer Society, STEM Learning and the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

A Department for Education spokesperson confirmed that the virtual facility will have no physical location and that its website is now live.

It is expected that the centre will begin working with schools in England before the end of 2018.

The three main firms will be supported by a host of subcontractors, including the University of Cambridge, FutureLearn and the Behavioural Insights Team.

Up to 40 school-led computing hubs will form a national network that will enable the centre to operate virtually across England.

Primary and secondary school teachers will then be able to access resources and training activities, while there will also be an intensive training programme to support secondary school teachers who lack a post-A-level computer science qualification.

Alongside the government funding, Google has also provided a £1 million grant that will help the BCS and Raspberry Pi Foundation to train teachers.

Schools Standards minister Nick Gibb said the centre will help to ensure that computer science teachers are equipped to teach all of the essential digital skills.

“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 to teach pupils the new computing curriculum,” he said.

“This is part of this Government’s drive to raise academic standards so that pupils have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy.”

BCS chief executive, Paul Fletcher, said the organisation is “delighted” to be part of the project and that there is a need to “build on the energy and enthusiasm” that has accompanied the introduction of Computing.

“It is vital that every child in every school has access to world-leading computing education, and this means that every computing teacher has access to the support that they need,” he explained.