I am delighted to share some big news today. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is part of a consortium that has secured over £78 million in government funding to make sure every child in every school in England has access to a world-leading computing education.
National Centre for Computing Education
Working with our partners, STEM Learning and the British Computer Society, we will establish a new National Centre for Computing Education, and deliver a comprehensive programme of support for computing teachers in primary and secondary schools. This will include resources, training, research, certification, and more.
All of the online resources and courses will be completely free for anyone to use. Face-to-face training will be available at no cost to teachers in priority schools, and at very low cost to teachers in other schools. We will also provide bursaries to ensure that schools can release teachers to take part in professional development.
An unprecedented level of investment
This level of investment in computing education is unprecedented anywhere in the world. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way we teach computing and computer science.
The announcement follows the Royal Society’s report from last November, which drew attention to the scale of the challenge. The report was quickly followed by a commitment from the Chancellor in last year’s budget statement that the government would invest £100 million in computing education across the UK. Earlier this year, the Department for Education launched a procurement process focused on England, and today’s announcement is the outcome of that process.
The consortium has been tasked with delivering three pieces of work:
- A National Centre for Computing Education, which will establish a network of Computing Hubs to provide continuing professional development (CPD) and resources for computing teachers in primary and secondary schools and colleges. The Centre will also facilitate strong links with industry.
- A teacher training programme to upskill existing teachers to teach GCSE Computer Science.
- A programme to support AS- and A-level Computer Science students and teachers with high-quality resources and CPD.
A powerful coalition
One of the things I am most excited about is the amazing coalition of partners that has come together around the plans. The consortium brings together subject expertise and knowledge, significant experience of creating brilliant learning experiences and resources, and a track record of delivering high-quality professional development for educators. But we can’t do it on our own.
For example, 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 £1 million to help us create free online courses that will help teachers develop the knowledge and skills to teach computing and computer science.
We’ll also be working in partnership with industry, universities, and non-profits, pooling our expertise and resources to provide the support that educators and schools desperately want. That’s not just a vague promise. As part of the bid process, we secured specific commitments from over 60 organisations who pledged to work with us to make our vision a reality.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more about our plans. In the meantime, here’s how you can get involved:
- Check out the launch website for the National Centre for Computing Education and register your email for updates.
- Spread the word to teachers, school leaders, industry, non-profits, and anyone else you think might be interested. Send them a link to this blog, or share it on social media.
- Help us find amazing, talented people who can join the team to bring this all to life.
A message to readers outside England
Improving computing education should be a priority for every education system and every government in the world. This announcement is focused on computing in schools in England because it’s about funding that has come from the government for that purpose.
I am proud that the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be playing its part in transforming computing education in England. But our mission is global, and our commitment is that the resources and online courses we create will be freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
If you are a policy maker outside of England and want to talk about how we could collaborate to advance computing education in your country, please get in touch. We’d love to help.