Problem exists. Solution is rubbish.
I agree that there is a risk of having too many high level developers and not enough bit shifters.
But how did Mr Braben ever get the idea that computer science students in the UK need better access to affordable computers?
I'd say that there are few groups more likely to already own a decent computer no?
So this problem could be solved just fine with a software solution.
How about a virtual machine that speaks machine code and does groovy retro things, connected to a social networky thing so that kids can incentivise each other through achievements, challenges, contests and what not. The BASIC, Pascal, SmallTalk etc interpreters could be unlockables...