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Glyndŵr University seeks dialogue with schools as it welcomes UK national initiative in computing

 
13 January 2011

Glyndŵr University's computing specialists are giving full support to the UK government’s plans to rejuvenate computing teaching in schools and prepare pupils for a digital future.

Education Minister Michael Gove this week called for a radical overhaul of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum in schools, deemed outdated and restrictive.

He wants teaching to move towards computer science and programming and away from basic tasks such as word processing and how to use the internet.

Professor Vic Grout, academic leader for computing at Glyndŵr University, says that teaching a new curriculum will allow universities to take their students to a higher level and deliver them with more economically-attractive skills directly to industry and other forms of employment.

Mr Gove’s announcement, while applicable to England only at present, is expected to impact on the Welsh government’s plans.

Professor Grout said: “This is fantastic news for computing and computer science in schools and we would be delighted to get involved in helping to shape the curriculum. The ICT syllabus is well past its sell-by date and really doesn’t prepare students for work in the computing industry.

“The new proposals will allow pupils to get real and relevant experience of key skills and technologies, particularly programming and design and development, so they can become the innovators of tomorrow.

“The new proposals are a challenge: new syllabuses will have to be written and computer science teachers will have to be trained but we’re ready for that challenge.”

Glyndŵr University has been actively involved in this shift in UK computing policy which has been developing over the past two to three years.

Two key driving forces behind it have been the British Computer Society, in which Glyndŵr staff have played an active role for many years, and the UK Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC), a national body which promotes public education in computing.

Professor Peter Excell, Glyndŵr's Dean of Arts, Science and Technology, was a member of the CPHC’s executive committee from 2008 to 2010 and set up its Welsh subcommittee. He has now handed this Welsh role to Professor Vic Grout, who is also very influential with the British Computer Society.

Glyndŵr University would welcome dialogue with schools, in Wales or England, interested in advancing their provision and engaging in the debate on the way forward in this area.

Anyone interested in making this connection should in the first instance email Professor Vic Grout at v.grout@glyndwr.ac.uk.

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