Why kids love computing lessons - and parents hate them

Primary school pupils enjoying a computer lesson
Primary school pupils enjoying a computer lesson
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COMPUTING is the most popular school subject in a new poll of pupils while their parents were more likely to name English as their favourite lesson.

Nearly one in four (24 per cent) children aged between six and 12-years old said that computing and technology are the subjects that they enjoy the most, while the most popular subject among their parents was English, with 21 per cent of parents favouring this during their school days, the study for Barclays found.

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Despite their children’s strong appetites to improve their computer skills, two in five parents said they “dread” helping with their computer homework.

As a result, nearly half of children said they end up turning to brothers and sisters for help with the subjects their parents find the most baffling, which were found to be computing and maths.

Maths also happened to be the second most popular subject among the children surveyed, with 19 per cent citing it as their favourite.

Barclays published the findings as it launched a new free service which will be made available online as well as in 300 of its branches across the UK to help families, including parents and grandparents, to learn more about coding, which involves programming a computer with instructions to make it perform certain actions. Coding sits behind smartphone apps, computer games, graphics in television advertising and films.

The research, which was carried out among 1,000 parents and 1,000 children, also found that 17 per cent of children favoured English as their favourite subject, 17 per cent preferred science, six per cent chose history and four per cent voted geography as their favourite.

The survey comes as schools teach a new computer science curriculum. The former Education Secretary Michael Gove replaced the old ICT curriculum which he said had been “universally acknowledged as unambitious, demotivating and dull.” He described the new curriculum as “ambitious, stretching and exciting.”

The new curriculum aims to introduced pupils to computing and coding from an early age to help them develop skills needed in later life.

The use of computing and software is also central to Yorkshire’s first university technical college (UTC) in Sheffield which specialises in creative digital media and advanced engineering and manufacturing. UTCs are schools for 14 to 18-year-olds which combined specialist technical education in a particular industry area with academic subjects.

UTC Sheffield’s principal Nick Crew said: “ Some of our students do a computing GCSE but we also want to embed the use of computing and modern software used by industry across what we do.”

Skye Marlow and Rachael Stephens, both 15, are digital creative students at the UTC. Skye said she enjoyed developing apps for mobile phones using the school’s software. Rachael said the work on computing had made her want to go into video game design after she leaves college.

“It has all been new to me but I have enjoyed it because the facilities we have here are so different to what I had at my old school.”

James Alsop, and Jacob Slack 15, are both engineering students at the UTC and use computer aided design (CAD) software for much of their work. Jacob said he was interested in using computers for robotics and virtual reality projects.