Pupils who think they know more about computing than their teachers

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AROUND half of young people think they know more about some aspects of computing than their teachers, according to a poll.

It suggests that many youngsters believe that their teachers could do with more training in the subject, with some saying they are better informed about topics such as programming and creating websites.

The survey, commissioned by Computing at School (CAS) and Microsoft, found that around 51 per cent of the nine to 16-year-olds questioned think they know more about some areas of computing than their teachers, while almost two fifths (39 per cent) do not believe that their teachers are confident in giving lessons in the subject.

Around 17 per cent said they think they know more about building and creating websites than their computing teacher, with 42 per cent admitting that the teacher knows more.

About one in six (15 per cent) said they know more about programming, with 46 per cent saying the teacher is better informed and 14 per cent think their skills in designing software are superior, with 45 per cent suggesting their teacher is better at this topic.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of the school children surveyed thought that their teachers need more training in computing, with 41 per cent saying they regularly help them to use technology.

A separate small-scale survey found that 68 per cent of primary and secondary teachers are concerned that their pupils know more about computing than they do.

The findings come just months after the introduction of a new computing curriculum in England’s schools.

Former Education Secretary Michael Gove had described the previous ICT curriculum as “demotivating and dull”.

GCSE computer science also now counts towards the government’s English Baccalaureate, which recognises pupils who score at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language.

Michel Van der Bel, chief executive of Microsoft UK, said: “There is a moment of magic when you see a young person make something totally unique happen on a screen. Something they had imagined and then made real through code. But to get to that moment we need passionate people who have the right skills and knowledge to help give young people the building blocks they need.

“Microsoft has provided well over £300,000 for the QuickStart Computing initiative in order to support teachers in creating modern, exciting and engaging lessons that will inspire a new generation of digital stars. These materials are available for free and we urge teachers to visit the QuickStart Computing website today to see how they can start getting even more out of the new curriculum.”

Simon Peyton Jones, chairman of CAS said: “We should be very proud of our teachers, who are engaging so positively with the new computing, and are now inspiring and exciting children about computing in schools up and down the country. CAS believes in the value of high quality, continuous professional development for teachers, and the role of working groups like CAS in instilling confidence and sharing ideas and best practice.”

:: The OnePoll survey questioned 279 teachers and 1,746 nine to 16-year-olds in England in December.