Getting more children to code has been a priority for the technology industry for some time. Teaching programming skills to children is seen as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them.
The National Curriculum 2014 has brought about a shift from ICT – Information and Communications Technology – to Computing, an element of the curriculum including coding lessons for our children as young as five.
At primary level, it helps children to be articulate and think logically: when they start breaking down what’s happening, they can start predicting what’s going to happen. It’s about looking around you almost like an engineer at how things are constructed. The basic idea of computing is you have to get a computer to solve a problem: you have to come up with an algorithm, a set of instructions. If you can do that, it’s a hugely valuable skill whenever you’re working as a team for any kind of project
Key Stage 1 (5-6 year-olds): Children will be learning what algorithms are, which will not always involve computers. When explained as “a set of instructions” teachers may illustrate the idea using recipes, or by breaking down the steps of children’s morning routines. But they will also be creating and debugging simple programs of their own, developing logical reasoning skills and taking their first steps in using devices to “create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content”.
Key Stage 2 (7-11 year-olds): Slightly older primary-school children will be creating and debugging more complicated programs with specific goals and getting to grips with concepts including variables and “sequence, selection, and repetition in programs”. They will still be developing their logical reasoning skills and learning to use websites and other internet services. And there will be more practice at using devices for collecting, analysing and presenting back data and information.
Coding is one of the three strands that is taught in our computing curriculum. You can see some examples of how are teaching this exciting new area on this page.