I would argue that HTML markup is exactly the sort of thing that makes a good start for teaching programming. It's a gentle introduction, which has immediate results, this is very important in teaching. One the one hand pupils who aren't particularly interested in computing and will probably do nothing other than this initial taster, get a basic idea of how stuff works under the hood, albeit not very deep under the hood. On the other hand, pupils who are going to take things further get a good base of logical thinking and how to deconstruct a problem into manageable chunks that can be handled by the system, which is an essential skill for teaching.
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