1 in 3 UK primary teachers still lack the confidence to effectively teach the new computing curriculum

Farnell element14 survey reveals that despite these worries from teachers, pupils are reacting positively to the new curriculum

September 2015, London, UK:  One year after the implementation of much needed updates to the UK’s computing curriculum, many teachers are still struggling, according to a survey by global electronics distributor Farnell element14. In a poll of more than 400 UK educators and course leaders, almost a third (31%) admitted that they did not feel confident in their ability to teach coding effectively, while nearly half (42%) did not believe that they had received adequate training and support, and 30% did not have access to the right equipment.

Despite these concerns, more than 85% of respondents claimed that their pupils had reacted positively to the new curriculum, although a mere 20% had utilised coding in the teaching of other subjects.

Shane Loynds, Computing Subject Leader at Trawden Forest Primary School in Lancashire commented: “The change of the computing curriculum is a big step forward and will help many children discover their talent in coding early on. However, many teachers feel that they have not received much support in teaching coding.”

Chris Haworth, European Business President of Farnell element14, said that the results reflect a need for further investment in programming skills in schools: “The curriculum changes implemented in 2014 were a huge step in the right direction towards helping young people to develop the real-world programming and computer literacy skills they’ll need to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven job market.

“The overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils is testament to the fact that the new curriculum is on the right track. Now the key challenge is to ensure that all teachers receive full training and support, empowering them to pass on the highest quality learning experience to their pupils and to foster the next generation of innovators in computing and electronics.

“At Farnell element14 we’re dedicated to supporting engineering in education, working closely with partner organisations such as Leeds Beckett University to provide access to equipment, facilities and learning resources. With demand for talented, experienced programmers far exceeding the current supply, we see championing young engineers and technicians as a responsibility, if the UK is to overcome its critical skills shortage in the technology sector.”

Farnell element14 has a strong pedigree in the education sector having been involved with Raspberry Pi since its launch in 2012. The company is also manufacturing the BBC’s recently unveiled micro:bit computer which is to be given free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK as part of a major initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. Launched today, Farnell element14 is also the exclusive distributor of CodeBug, a new £12 crowdfunded nano-board designed to teach children the fundamentals of programming and electronics in a friendly non-intimidating way. Designed to resemble an insect with six touch sensitive legs and interactive switches as ears, the CodeBug distinguishes itself from other pocket-sized computers through its playful user-interface, developed specifically with younger audiences in mind.

In September 2014, the UK government updated the National Curriculum to replace Information Communication Technology (ICT) with a more up-to-date Computing curriculum. The intention was to help pupils across the educational spectrum to develop fundamental skills in computer literacy, coding and creating their own programs.

The complete results of the Farnell element14 engineering in education survey can be found in this infographic.