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Professor lauded for schools support ahead of IT revamp


A world-leading professor has been rewarded for his work in raising the standard of computer science in Welsh high schools.

Vic Grout, Professor of Computing Futures at Glyndŵr University, was awarded a certificate of recognition by the British Computer Society.

Professor Grout set up a pioneering hub for the Computing at School (CAS) organisation in North Wales, and has been preparing teachers and pupils across the region for an imminent, radical revamp of the GCSE IT curriculum.

Glyndŵr’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Excell praised the institution’s Computing department - deemed ‘world-leading’ in the UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) - for volunteering their time to help educate the schools.

He said: “Vic has done excellent work in embracing this initiative at an early stage and making Glyndŵr University one of the leaders.

“The interaction with schoolteachers goes much deeper than most of our other contacts with schools: it can be said that the revamping of this curriculum gave a really significant boost to university-school collaboration.”

Professor Grout was presented with a certificate, signed by Simon Humphreys, the national coordinator of CAS and one of the founding fathers of the organisation, which was created following a radical revamp of the A-level curriculum for IT.

“This curriculum was recognised as being seriously out of date, so it was scrapped and replaced by one for Computing, including much more in-depth understanding of the way that computational devices operate,” added Professor Excell.

“The change resulted from pressure from industry leaders such as Eric Schmidt, the President of Google, and Google has since provided significant funding to the Glyndŵr University initiative.

“The result has been that many teachers have felt the need to greatly enhance their skills and significant numbers of them have been attending out-of-hours sessions at the University to acquire the necessary new knowledge.”

Earlier this year, Glyndŵr received an award of £15,000 from Google’s Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) initiative.

The money paid for a synchronised summer school programme at the Wrexham institution in July, led by Glyndŵr and including Cardiff Metropolitan University and Swansea Metropolitan University.

Professor Grout said: “The new computer science curriculum will enable us to teach students more advanced skills than ever before when they arrive at university, benefiting both the university, them personally and industry when they graduate.

“It was an honour to be recognised by CAS and we will continue to work hard to bring students in North Wales up to speed with technological advances in IT, so they stay ahead of the rest of the UK.”

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