back to article recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

The UK government is planning to use a network of 400 "master teachers" of computer science to train up other teachers and deliver a new tech curriculum in English schools. The sensei will be "right at the top of their computer science game", the education secretary Michael Gove said in a speech at the Bett Learning Technology …


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  1. Dango

    I had a look at this when the BCS sent out information asking for existing IT professionals to consider applying for the scheme. All looked good to start with, with a tax-free bursary that equates to an OK salary during the training year. From what I could gather though, things didn't go quite as well after that - you would be put on the basic newly qualified teacher salary, and have to compete to become part of the master teacher programme along with everyone else. There is no guarantee that you would become a master teacher, and they are asking people to go from what could be fairly substantial salaries as experienced IT professionals with perhaps 20 years of experience, to a basic teacher salary with no guarantee of getting very far. It would also depend on your local area wishing to take part in the scheme, which as far as I could tell is optional.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Teaching and working in IT do not go hand in hand. Most of those that work in IT have very limited social skills, difficulty in communicating with others and are unable to relate to anything outside of the industry.

      If you have ever been to a IT department party or a social event where someone admits to working in IT you will see where I am coming from.

      1. JLV Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        generalize much?

        Speak for yoursel.

        I remember watching two guys on the subway (who'd make the IT Crowd look like suave men of the world) loudly crack obscure jokes about compilers and giggling madly at their own wit. Beards, bellies, glasses, awful clothes, pasty complexions. The works. Wish I coulda filmed them.

        That was once, 12 years ago. Surely you realize that the stereotype is a bit dated? Too many jobs, too much money, in IT now to fill them only with social rejects and the nature of the job is different from when hand-coded assembler was the norm.

        Granted, teaching well requires a particular talent, and not everyone has it, doesn't make the other half of your assertion correct.

        My colleagues are mostly difficult to distinguish from "normal" folk, thank you very much. I expect that to be true of many of us.

        Got any good accountant stereotypes you'd want to share as well? Mind you, we could learn from them - hereabouts, 60% of post-university accountant students are women.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A similar scheme was started in the late 90s. As someone who moved from teaching and research to industrial computing, I applied, and Bath U were prepared to offer me a place, but exactly the same objections applied and I wasn't going to risk halving my salary and then being unable to get back into computing again.

      The risk is that the people they will end up with are ones who look goodish on paper, but want to get out of work before they get found out.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    Lots of new teachers are getting hired on fixed term 10 month contracts. Not much security in teaching these days.

    Luring professionals into teaching would seem to be more efficient than trying to turn teachers into programmers. Problem might be if those teachers are expected to stray too far outside of their area expertise.

    1. Fogcat

      But given the disdain with which Mr Gove regards teachers ("bunch of lefty whining do-gooder with too long holidays who think their experience means they know more than me") what sensible IT professional will be lured?

    2. Ben Norris

      The point is that this isn't an area of expertise, basic computing is a skill that they all need to know like writing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ben Norris

        Really? Not having basic computer skills is not the be all and end all. Take the population of the world into consideration, the majority do not have these skills but get on just fine.

        What you mean to say is that it could be beneficial to have them but the world won't end if you do not.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: @Ben Norris

          To be honest, I think that there is something seriously wrong with teaching when you can get a degree in teaching and then become a teacher pretty much immediately.

          When I was at school, such teachers were totally useless because they knew no more about the subject than I did, save their lesson prep and could only parrot what a book said by rote without understanding it- any advanced/non basic questions tended to be reflected by setting the question as homework. That sort of teacher is IMO useless. They certainly didn't teach me much.

          The other sort of teacher we had was like my physics teacher who was once in the aerospace industry and who claimed to have worked on a small subcomponent of concord which was entirely believable given how thoroughly he knew and understood his subject.

          If you have somebody who has passed a "teaching degree" teaching programming or any other subject that can't be adequately taught by rote then I should be surprised if we end up with any competently educated children, let alone competent programmers educated as a result of such an initiative.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Ben Norris@Peter 2

            My physics teacher too was an ex aerospace scientist.

            It looks like we should keep them out of teaching, he's the reason I spent a career in science and computing when I could have made several times as much working for a bank.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Rufusstan

            Re: @Ben Norris

            It is hard to discuss this sort of thing when the usual misconceptions about teaching get trotted out. It is strange that people believe that you finish a 'teaching' degree and then just get dumped in front of students. - Its like saying someone finishes a medical degree, then immediately becomes your GP.

            Most secondary teachers (especially maths/science types) get a good degree in their subject first, then spend 2 years training before they are fully qualified. Even then roughly half of teachers don't survive the first 5 years -- Its a profession where you only find out if it is for you after doing it for the first year or two.

            Everyone has good and bad experiences with teachers. A lot of the bad experiences come from either: teachers in the situation above who get through the training, but are learning that it isn't for them after all. Others for some (often logistic) reasons are stuck teaching outside their specialism/comfort zone, or the school cannot get a teacher of the quality they'd like, because often they are hard to find.

            That said, as I see it, the scheme has no chance of succeeding, especially in the short term. Why?

            Firstly (and as usual with the government), everything is set up backwards. They build a new curriculum, put a deadline in place to enact it, and only then begin to set up the infrastructure and training to make it work.

            Secondly, after the grand ideas, it is all done on the cheap. Assuming they find their 400 masters, they will be spread extremely thinly. Even ignoring the primary sector, each will have about 10 secondary schools each to work with. If its a compulsory subject, they will need multiple staff to cover the load, so each master could be dealing with 30+ trainees.

            From there the options are to: retrain qualified teachers to work in a new area -- assuming you can find teachers who can or want to do that. That is quicker and easier (and presumably the preferred, cheaper option), but means non-specialists doing most of the teaching; which is never good.

            Alternatively, you take IT professionals and retrain them as teachers, they could well progress quicker than fresh graduates, but still has to be at least 1-2 years before they would reach a level of competence capable of delivering the subject.

            This is all meant to go live in 8 months.

  3. PeeKay

    "Now, our new curriculum teaches children computer science, information technology, and digital literacy: teaching them how to code, and how to create their own programs; not just how to work a computer; but how a computer works, and how to make it work for you."

    My computing lessons entailed exactly that back in 1981. Go figure...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Obviously 64bits have wrapped around to 8bits

    2. Arnold Lieberman

      Yup, same here in the mid '80s. I think the rot set in during the 90s.

    3. DaneB

      Spot on!

      Gove is trotting out some old BS his 1980s bods have decided upon.

      He ignored all the decent arts-based stuff in this well-received and very forward-thinking report that actually came from industry:

      and decided that everyone must be a computer programmer.

      Yeah, cos all those pretty animated picture things and tinkly sounds will make themselves, and they're not really important... I mean, those stupid yank computer companies waste loads of cash on all that user interface rubbish as well. And movie visuals. And 3D design. And sound engineering. And games. Doesn't get them anywhere.

      What a dick-head.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what's there training like?

  4. Arnold Lieberman

    By Gove! I think he's got it!

    Gets my vote. Good luck teaching teachers though, they don't like change!

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: By Gove! I think he's got it!

      Yeah, but, remember, this is Michael Gove you are talking about. Most teachers hate him and the crap he normally spits out. He just got lucky this time around when pulling random ideas out of a hat (though I'm sure he'll find some way of cocking the whole thing up before too long).

      1. Arnold Lieberman

        Re: By Gove! I think he's got it!

        Of course they hate him. I have never known an education secretary that was loved by the teaching "profession".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: By Gove! I think he's got it!

          Its nothing to do with not liking change, its because he's a pompous, self promoting arse biscuit who thinks he's beyond reproach and doesn't listen to his advisors (proper ones, not the political apparatchiks that are SPADs)

          And before anyone asks no I'm not a teacher or married/related to one.

          1. Tom_

            Re: By Gove! I think he's got it!

            It's worse than that. He's come in and kicked all this off now, but in a couple of years he'll either be in opposition or he'll have been moved into health or sport or something else he's shit at instead.

            While schools are trying to train up teachers to be good at teaching programming to five year olds, he'll be off being an arse biscuit somewhere else and he won't have to deal with any of the difficulties everyone in education is having with the whole scheme.

      2. Ralph B

        Re: By Gove! I think he's got it!

        You should read his book.

  5. Zoopy

    Wait, do they want to teach programming, or computer science?

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    I work in IT, in schools.

    I'll be surprised if much changes "on the floor". Not because they are already doing it, but because most teachers can't code (I've met some maths teachers who could do more in FORTRAN and COBOL than the IT guys could in ANY language, and one former-C-programmer who went from network management to teaching, but that's about it).

    And the reason I didn't go into teaching when I got my Maths & IT degree is purely because teaching is a horrible profession. The paperwork is immense. The discipline comes hard because most things aren't allowed. You spend most of your life as babysitter and social worker, not teaching.

    Back in the "old days", I'd have like being a teacher, and a teacher of IT. But back in those days I was taught BASIC in primary school / first year of secondary, and other languages by the time I was 16 anyway. Officially. In Computer Science lessons. And we weren't allowed to get away with claiming that word-processing something was "computer science", more than just using a computer as a basic tool. Hell, I was offered desktop publishing courses in sixth form and all sorts. By the time I hit university, the entire year of "Introduction to Programming" in Java that was mandatory was a yawn-fest and I skipped it and just handed in the assignments by email without even going to the lectures.

    What we teach now isn't computer science. But a lot of teachers are convinced that they are computer science teachers when they teach that. They are in for a shock, as is any IT professional that goes into teaching. It's just not going to work.

    (As some examples, I met a "e-Learning Co-ordinator" who thought a VLE was having some Android tablets in the classroom, lots of people who called the desktop chassis "the hard drive", another in a private school who thought that macros were "too hard" for primary-age kids to learn when other state primary schools had 11 year olds writing games using them, and many who thought that Logo was the pinnacle of programming experience).

    As such, I wish any IT pro going into schools luck. And any IT teacher who thinks they can just go on a course (ECDL is the usual waste-of-time of preference) and learn all this stuff too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I worked for a year as a technician in a secondary after finishing my degree. The IT suites were basically pens were the most badly behaved classes were brought to keep them isolated from the rest of the school (they were in a separate building). You can bring a horse to water, but it won’t jump from desk to desk shouting it’s the king of the world pretending (I hope) to be high and you’re not allowed to stop him or he’ll call the police.

    2. tony2heads

      Crack CompSci experts

      They would need to be on crack to want to get into teaching

  7. Frederic Bloggs

    Syllabus? Exams?

    Has anyone got a clue what the syllabus might look like? What operating systems will it cover? Which APIs? Got any interesting and/or worthwhile sample programs that the little darlings might have a chance of completing? Given that course work is no longer going to count, how are they going to examine programming? 24 hour / Weekend Hack-Fest?

    Obviously the programming languages taught will be out of date long before pupils pop out of the system into useful work, so I won't bother asking which ones will be taught. But somehow I doubt it will be C or assembler.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Syllabus? Exams?

      If it's anything like what I'm going to be doing with my employer (they're sending us in to local schools to help teach comp sci) it's going to be language and OS independent. Some linux on raspberry pi, some Windows, some like python, others like Java.

      The things that will be taught are loops, conditional branching, algorithms, data sets, procedures/functions, etc. They're not going to be chucking them into the deep end and showing how APIs work, there is a lot to cover on a comp sci course other than just programming and there simply wouldn't be enough time to go that far.

      As for being out of date - I learned on BBC Basic and Turbo Pascal, but now I work in PHP, Python, Powershell, Bash and C++. The basic constructs of a language don't change, that I learned a couple of good languages early on is what gives me the advantage I have now.

  8. NomNomNom

    A bit late isn't it. They should have figured out years ago that technology was a key subject area. As early as the 80s this was apparent.

    But then again what they always prefer is a generation of obedient slaves not independent thinkers. Otherwise how would they have got us to stay in our seats during those pointless RE and ICT lessons?

    What if the kids start questioning the value of what they are being taught? Ah yes we did, but we were trained never to voice that out loud. Adults don't help with their prevalent attitude that kids aren't supposed to "enjoy school", therefore us lamenting the point of what we are being taught is "just kids moaning about school" which is normal. Adults should know better, they once sat through it themselves. They know it's really a form of prison, where kids are put through a test of how many pointless work tasks can they take without breaking. It's a widely admitted, yet widely dismissed fact among adults that almost all of what we were taught at school as kids was a waste of time.

    Not going to get any Facebooks, Googles, Ebays, Twitters, etc from this country anytime soon. But perhaps that's fine, perhaps what we are after is a nation of wage slaves who can remember a bit of Shakespeare and what the parts of a church are called.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hoping to get kids into programming and coding instead of just teaching them how to use Microsoft Office and email

    I'm afraid you're a bit out of date ... ICT has moved on from the Office and email days and is now is into training how to use facebook (aka, maintaining your digital portfolio) and youtube videos (aka digital video + digital audo) along with a bit of "isn't this internet thing amazing"

    At least that seemed to be the thrust of the explanation of the GCSE ICT option at my son's secondary school we got on the "GCSE options info evening" we had a couple of weeks ago. Any "coding" would be limited to things to make a web page looking "edgy".

    Add into the equation that its a BTEC and not a GCSE + virtually everyone taking it at that school gets top grade and (this was promoted as a major plus point) it seemed to be almost totally internally assessed confirmed my opinion that it was basically worthless ... unless you want to make youtube videos.

  10. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    There is no quick fix!

    I was talking to my daughters IT teacher recently. He had just retired so was a little more chatty than usual. I asked how he got into teaching and he said he did a Chemistry degree and then fell into it. He then asked me what I did, and I mentioned I was a software engineer. He replied that he could never get his head around programming!

    Most IT teachers seem to just wonder in from other courses. Fine to teach the vagaries of powerpoint, but programming? Unfortunately unlike most subjects IT is never seen as a specialism. Would you get a person with a degree in English teach Maths, Physics etc? Even at university level you see very few people with real world programming experience. True story, I work part time for a online university. The computing lecturers were gathered around and the new courses were discussed and it was mentioned it used imperative languages. Apart from me, no one in the room had any idea what that meant. Even the courses themselves will be more likely designed by Maths professors(In universities Computing is often lumped with Maths)

    IT training must be improved in schools, but I severely doubt many of the present IT staff are up to the task. Working professionals are unlikely to jump ship, so it has to start at graduate level. Industry and computer societies such as the BCS must take a more proactive role in ensuring the training in schools is relevant and to the right standard. Finally it IT training should be given a higher profile and budget in the curriculum.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: There is no quick fix!

      What about bringing in a tutor who teaches just the programming content of the course?

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: There is no quick fix!

        Sounds like a good idea. Of course it may put some nose out of joint,

        If asked even I would happily get involved if I thought it would improve the IT education

        Unfortunately my experience of schools and LEA's is that they would rather slice their own noses off with blunt weasel than ask for help or use the parent resources that they have available

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: There is no quick fix!

        >What about bringing in a tutor who teaches just the programming content of the course?

        Of course, so long as they have a PGCE - you need to be properly qualified, you can't just have a maths PhD and 20years experience at a top public school and be allowed to teach.

        And a background check - and you don't mind being dragged out of school by a swat team if it later turns out you had been fishing with an expired licence

        And you have to be paid less than a classroom assistant - because the union will insist you don't compete with real teachers.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: There is no quick fix!

      >Would you get a person with a degree in English teach Maths, Physics etc?

      Erm, yes, sometimes they can be rather good at it.

      1. Rufusstan

        Re: There is no quick fix!

        Sadly, as I used to love the guy (and scarily had forgotten who you meant until I saw the old images), what he did wasn't even close to teaching (oh that it was).

        Try doing what he did without BBC budgets, with an audience that is: not self-selecting, standing right in front of him, and made up of hormonal teenagers.

        Pile on the certainty that the audience will ask awkward questions, with at least one guaranteed to being something you had not planned for (or that no one really knows the answer to). Finally, take away the option of a take 2 if anything gets buggered up, and then you are close to teaching.

  11. Forget It

    They should start by teaching promises.promises.promises - all to be broken later on

    without the pain of calback hell - don't call us we'll call you.

  12. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    At least Microsoft and Google are involved ... :-(

    Why insist on two languages? At that age, why not teach them how to program properly instead so they can turn their hands to multiple languages?

    When are they teaching basic logic to these kids, before or after they have been taught bad programming? Would that be before they've been taught the basic maths required for programming?

    Ho hum ... at least they'll be able to code more crap apps for defunct windoze phones and googly stuff ...

    I can't help thinking Gove should be subject to a CO2 emmisions cap.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      "Would that be before they've been taught the basic maths required for programming?"

      I was programming machine code long before I could solve 3x-2=4 Mind you, back then we thought ourselves lucky if our CPU had a mul instruction.

  13. David Harper 1

    What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

    Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the room -- not everyone has an aptitude for programming, just as not everyone has an aptitude for maths, or languages, or music.

    Some years ago, Richard Bornat (a computer science professor at Middlesex University) and his graduate student Saeed Dehnadi did research which demonstrated that in their class of first-year computer science undergraduates, there were two distinct groups: those who intuitively understood how to write programs, and those who didn't. Worryingly, the performance of the second group could not be significantly improved by training them. This was published as a paper titled "The camel has two humps". (You can find it by googling the title.)

    Now Gove wants to try to force school kids to write computer programs, when most of them will have neither the interest nor the aptitude for it. It's a recipe for disaster.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

      And so some of them will discover they have no aptitude/interest and do something else - how else where you going to get the first lot to go to university to do CS if they had never heard of it?

      It's the reason we do lots of subjects in school rather than just classify children at birth into a suitable job (Tory cabinet ministers excepted)

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

        Isn't that what happened with W. Bush?

        1. cyborg

          Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

          Yes, I believe politics is the destination for those who have no aptitude for *anything*.

          1. peter_dtm

            Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

            and the labour party is the destination for those who can not even manage that level of competance

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

        "how else where you going to get the first lot to go to university to do CS if they had never heard of it?" - If they have anything left to teach you that you don't already know by the time they try, you don't belong in there. Rather like how there are no great artists who picked up their craft because it sounded like a neat idea at the time, instead of doing it simply because that's what they do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

      I could have told Bornat and Dehnadi that just from my own experience. The ones who don't understand programming go on to become "web designers" and "quants". (sarcasm alert)

      So the place to find out where a given child fits is at school before they take their maths and physics A levels and do the wrong things with them.

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: What about the kids who have no aptitude for programming?

      Perzactly! I had absolutely no aptitude for English lessons at school and I would do everything possible to get out of them. But, I pride myself in my technical documentation and authoring skills. If instead of trying to force me to write stories - ie, make things up, LIE! - they had let me hand in my computing documentation, science write-ups and engineering&technology work as my *English* assignments, I'd have sailed through.

    4. John H Woods

      The real elephant in the room ...

      ... is the idea of prioritising teaching kids the most outsourceable skill in the entire world.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: The real elephant in the room ...

        Pupils as young as five will start learning to code in the new system and from the age of 11, children will be taught at least two programming languages.

        We'll keep them after school, and outsource them as coders. It's like a 21st century workhouse!

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Children smell fear.

    Like attack trained dogs.

    Something prospective candidates should be aware of.

  15. TitterYeNot

    To the developers of the future...

    A little suggestion for you Mr. Gove.

    Make sure you include a work visa application module in your syllabus, as most of the kids who want to be developers or system techies when they grow up sure as hell won't be working in western Europe or the US by the time they're of working age. Might do to suggest a side course in Hindi or Punjabi while you're at it.

    Mine's the one with a copy of 'Get the Hell Out of I.T. While You Still Can' in the pocket...

  16. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    Everything is 'Apps'

    I think this has a lot to do with the odd drive from HM.Gove towards kids learning how to build apps.

    Apps as a way of making money, earning a living and all that.

    Apps are sexy.

    But what is the success ratio for apps?

    The world + dog + budgie appear to be flogging apps.

    What's the actual long-term usage of Pi's in schools once the funding and novelty wears off?

    Is this just another 'this'll keep 'em busy for a while' education schemes?

  17. ewozza
    Thumb Down

    Waste of time

    I've been an IT professional for over 20 years. This scheme is a waste of time.

    The reason - most people find software development mind numbingly boring. The money or societal need simply isn't enough reason to be an IT professional - you have to love what you do, to be any good at it.

    Programming is a gift, a calling, a mental illness, it takes an unusual mindset to find joy in it - kindof like oddballs who spend time creating intricate model train sets. If you don't have that strange psychological aberration, you will never be any good at software.

    By all means expose the young darlings to a little IT - until you try it, you can't know whether it is for you. But don't force the poor kids to study a course which most of them will find unendurably tedious.

    Because if you force kids to suffer through a course like that, their response will be to disrupt class - anything to relieve the pain. And the few kids who enjoy the course and find their calling will be denied a proper education, by the many who want to do anything other than sit still and have to listen to an IT teacher.

    1. Diogenes Silver badge

      Re: Waste of time

      I teach ICT after having had 20 years industry experience as a developer (always a better analyst/architect/PM than coder though) , I model trains - am I doubly aberrant ? :-)

  18. Diogenes Silver badge

    My experience

    Started as a trainee programmer in '83, finished up a PM in '03, and decided to go into teaching. I know the subject content backwards, forwards and sideways. I am about to start my 4th year as a teacher, and only just now am finding my feet.

    You will struggle with the irrelevance of the syllabus , pitching the content at the right level, and because everybody went to school - they are an "expert" on teaching so expect to cop a lot of carp about the short days and long holidays (Hah!) from your "friends". I work just as many hours now as I did when I ran a 10million project with a team of 40 for a large multinational (and now paid 1/2 as much as I was then).

    Imagine if you will that you are concurrently running 5 project teams of 20-30 each. They all change over every 50- 60 minutes, many are there on sufferance (ie no professionalism) You to do biannual staff evaluations, as well as walk through every piece of work product yourself. Be prepared to sworn at, (by parents as well !), be prepared to be micromanaged by the next 3 levels of management up

    But then, it is gratifying to see the lightbulb go off when a kid who has been struggling finally "gets it". Its great to see the chicks fly and do well at uni in CS courses.

  19. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Head meet wall

    When a software engineer with 30 years experience and a "proper" 1980s degree can't get a job, and the employment market is shrinking faster than a fast-shrinking thing, why the hell are we forcing *all* children to learn something that 99.8% of them will have no interest, aptitude or competence in, and the remaining 0.2% will find no jobs in?

    Oops, sorry, forgot, that's are the target demographic that recruiters are after - inexperience and incompetence, as demonstrated by most software that's out there, and mandated by government IT projects.

  20. Richard Ball

    teaching in the uk

    Your perceived* success in teaching has litle to do with your subject knowledge, even in an area where there is a teacher skills gap.

    If you have never seriously considered being a science teacher before, don't do it now.

    'Good'* teachers are those who are good at the difficult job of wrangling a room full of kids. If you think you can teach existing teachers how to do this then fine - they might one day consider you an expert teacher.

    *in the wisdom of the uk system

  21. tuzza

    So what happened in the 90s?

    I'm aware of the "golden age" of the BBC Micro etc. and anyone over 40 seemed to actually be taught real computer science in schools, what changed? By the time I got to secondary school in '95 ICT had become as described here - a chance to mess around on the internet and "write a database" in Access. Such a nothing subject that even as someone who went on to do a CS degree I think I barely passed it just from being unable to bear the tedium. The only reason I got the programming bug was because my dad picked up a 10 year old BASIC book at a bootfair which was probably actually taught in schools when it was originally published.

  22. Securitymoose

    Not more 'kin programmers? Peter Drucker was right!

    "When a subject becomes totally obsolete we make it a required course."

    Local kids spending all their time coding? Our chums in the developing world do it so much better anyway. Instead, we need to train our kids to make stuff, do stuff, build stuff, create stuff, get out there and live a life, instead of spending all their time chained to devices in stuffy rooms.

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Skills or education

    In school (70s) I was "taught" woodwork: Not just sticking bits of wood together or how to use a screwdriver, but dovetail joints and all that sort of stuff.

    I viewed that in exactly the same way as most kids will view this new computing with its proper coding and not just how to use stuff. i.e. an excruciating, boring, complete and utter waste of time.

    Then it was all about not wasting proper education on working class kids, but teaching us grafting skills instead. And this is the same.

    Teachers, proper teachers, want to open young minds. They may be historians or geographers, but that's their tool to open the windows. It's about having an education for the sake of being educated.

    I've spent about 30 years in education, working in some of the toughest situations.

    I learnt my coding and computing skills mostly as an optional activity at lunchtimes when I was 14 or so. And I persevered because there were programmes I wanted to write. If I hadn't followed my first love, which is teaching kids with reading difficulties ( and which I also started as a volunteer at high school btw), I'd have become a professional in computers. Instead computing has been a sideshow for me. But I do know both sides of the fence.

    So, coding.

    Is that going to be teaching kids to think and problem solve, applicable in everyday life ( it could be)? Or is it going to be the 21st century equivalent of those cursed dovetail joints?

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