Boost for computing lessons in Welsh schools

Teachers from more than half of Welsh schools have signed up for BT tech literacy programme. A programme to help teachers bring computer science to life in the classroom has reached more than half of Wales's primary schools, according to new figures.

A programme to help teachers bring computer science to life in the classroom has reached more than half of Wales's primary schools, according to new figures.

Latest numbers show that teachers from 60 per cent of primary schools in Wales – a total of 3,000 teachers so far – have registered to use the BT-sponsored Barefoot Computing programme, which offers free, classroom-ready teaching resources.

Launched in 2017 in Wales, the lessons are available to all primary schools and aim to help pupils aged between five and 11 years old to develop basic computing skills. The downloadable resources and lesson plans have been tailored to the Welsh curriculum – with the main resources available in English and Welsh – and have been backed by the Welsh Government. They are designed to help primary school teachers across Wales, some of whom may not have specialist computing knowledge. The resources promote problem-solving, creativity and collaboration among pupils.

Haf Pugh, a teacher at Llanfechain Church in Wales Primary School in Powys, said: “We have been pleased to be part of the Barefoot initiative. It's been a great way to get the pupils further excited and inspired about computing and developing their digital skills.

“Technology and digital skills are an integral part of the New Curriculum for Wales and the Digital Competency Framework, therefore it's vital that school children get the opportunities to learn and develop these skills. The Barefoot resources are helpful and accessible.”

Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education at the Welsh Government, said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in the BT tech literacy programme for working with us on this journey as we raise standards in our transformational curriculum.

“Digital competency is at the heart of our National Mission for Education in Wales, because it’s crucial our learners develop the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world. I look forward to continuing to work with BT to make these excellent resources accessible to all schools in Wales.”

Jane Wood, BT Group UK nations and regions director, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how many teachers and children have been involved in the Barefoot programme and benefitted from the fantastic resources available.

“Increasingly, our jobs rely on people having digital skills. By 2022 the UK will need an additional 500,000 workers in digital industries, which is three times the number of computer science graduates the UK has produced in the last 10 years. The Barefoot resources are available in English and Welsh and not only deliver important tech skills, but also life skills.

“Well done to all the teachers, the Barefoot team and of course to the thousands of pupils from across Wales who have made the programme the success it is today. We live in a world powered by technology. Let’s make sure the next generation can thrive in it and work together to get Barefoot to all of the nearly 300,000 primary-aged children in Wales, as fast as possible.”

Alongside the release of these figures, a new Barefoot website has also been launched which provides even more lesson plans for teachers. A typical lesson plan consists of tasks designed to improve pupils’ understanding of concepts like algorithms in a way that improves their ability to think logically and sequentially but creatively. The website also includes a new lesson plan which helps educate pupils on using the internet safely and what ‘consent’ means in terms of controlling their personal information and identity.

Teachers and parents can find more information and get the free resources at https://barefootcomputing.org

Notes to Editors:

Barefoot Programme reach in Wales:

  • 2,891 teachers in Wales already accessing the resources
  • Teachers at 60% of Welsh primary schools now part of programme
  • 754 schools in Wales reached

Across the UK:

  • Two million children engaged so far
  • 70,000 teachers already accessing free resources
  • 60% of UK primary schools part of programme
  • Built for teachers by teachers
  • Created by Computing at School and funded by BT,
  • Supported by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and the Raspberry Pi Foundation