Govt plans 'an attractive computer science offering'

Govt plans 'an attractive computer science offering'

By Rob Crossley in London

November 28th 2011 at 10:00AM

No huge commitments made in official response, but UKIE claims 'the door has opened'

The Government will work towards developing “an attractive computer science offering for schools”, according to its official response to the Livingstone-Hope Skills Review.

"The Government looks forward to working with [the games industry], educators and others to develop an attractive computer science offering for schools, so that students are able to develop the rigorous skills needed – not only to support these industries but also to ensure a digitally literate citizenry," read the response.

Many in the industry want a fast solution to what they term as the ‘digital skills gap’. The concern is that young British students are not being taught enough of the right skills for the new digital age of jobs.

The Livingstone-Hope Skills Review, published in February, had called on the government to include computer science within the national curriculum - something which the Government response has today not committed to.

But Ian Livingstone, who co-authored the paper, said the general message from Whitehall was positive.

"The door was closed but now has opened," he told Develop.

Livingstone said the foundations had been laid to incorporate computer science within the national cirriculum.

Further talks with the Department for Education are due, he added.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport also praised the Raspberry Pi - a finger-sized micro-computer that is hoped will give students easy access to computer programming.

"We recognise the potential developments such as the Raspberry Pi computer project have for stimulating and motivating children to understand basic computer science in schools".

It added: "Much as the BBC Micro inspired a generation of computer programmers in the early 1980’s the Raspberry Pi could provide the platform for teachers and pupils to gain hands on programming experience. Raspberry Pi is an example of how games developers are finding innovative and affordable solutions to tackle the perceived issues highlighted in the Next Gen Report.