BT and Computing at School launch homeschooling resources for digital skills

London, 21st April 2020 – As part of its innovative Skills for Tomorrow programme, BT has teamed up with Computing at School (CAS), part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, to launch dozens of activities, designed to support parents with their children’s digital skills / computing / IT / Computational learning at home.

The series of activities is based on the Barefoot Computing programme, a programme funded and managed by BT in partnership with CAS, to help primary school teachers deliver free, curriculum-aligned lessons in fun and relatable ways.

This Friday (24th April), comedian David Walliams will be showing the UK how to use some of these Barefoot resources in an ad break takeover on ITV as part of BT’s Beyond Limits: Top Tips on Tech campaign. This three-week campaign featuring a host of famous faces including TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal and broadcaster and author Fearne Cotton, has been created to help the nation with the digital skills it needs to get through this unique and challenging time.

David’s lesson sees him inspiring the nation from his own home with ideas for how to maximise home schooling using a variety of digital tools, including Barefoot Zoo; one of the interactive and educational Barefoot games helping children learn about computing.

So far, around 70,000 primary school teachers have already accessed Barefoot, inspiring over two million pupils across the majority of UK primary schools. However, with most children now having to be schooled at home, the scheme has been swiftly adapted to provide new lessons, activities and games.

Content has been developed to be easy for parents to use, with no prior subject knowledge required. Many of the activities can also be done offline without the need for a computer – ideal for managing screen time and digital wellbeing.

A recent BT study revealed that millions of parents across the country can only spend up to two hours a day teaching their children during lockdown. Just 24% of parents say they feel comfortable teaching IT and computer science, with nearly all (92%) saying they’re uncomfortable with key topics such as coding. It’s likely that many parents will shy away from computing in favour of more familiar subjects.

The new Barefoot content includes dozens of varied activities and games to support parents and carers by inspiring children to think, learn and thrive in a digital world. From making pizza with an algorithm ‘recipe’, to using the power of abstraction to save a struggling zoo, parents and carers will find tailored educational activities to keep young minds busy and curious for hours and hours:

  • Learning Together Activities – Downloads that parents and kids can do together based on our expert Barefoot Computing resources for teachers

  • Mini Missions – Thirty quick, fun and easy ideas to introduce children to key computing concepts at home

  • Interactive Learning Games – Imaginative online games that help children explore computing concepts independently

  • Weekly ‘Computing at Home’ YouTube Live classes by schoolteacher and Barefoot Ambassador Dr Jon Chippindall

  • Computational Thinking quick guide for parents, with a simple introduction to key skills taught through the national curriculum

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said: As a parent myself, I know how challenging it can sometimes be to balance working from home with entertaining and educating the kids. That’s why BT – with our key education partners – is supporting families to keep kids learning in these difficult times. This exciting new computing content, as part of our Barefoot programme with Computing at School, can really help parents, grandparents, and all carers to inspire their children to discover and explore the world of computing.”

Julia Adamson, Director at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “We are passionate about ensuring that every child has a world-class computing education. However, BT’s research has shown that computing is the subject that parents feel least comfortable with. Given the current challenges, it’s even more important that families are given as much support as possible in this area. The new Barefoot toolkit will help parents keep their children stimulated, engaged and progressing, even if they’re unfamiliar with computing themselves.”

Skills for Tomorrow is a major new programme designed to empower 10 million people by giving them the skills they need to flourish for the digital future. Everyone is included, everyone is welcome, and no one is left behind – from school children to the older generation; from young adults looking for employment, to SMEs looking for growth.

BT continues to collaborate with leading digital skills organisations, such as CAS, to collate the best courses and information, in one easy to navigate place. All it takes to get started is to visit www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow.


About BT Skills for Tomorrow:

Skills for Tomorrow is a major new programme from BT designed to empower 10 million people by giving them the skills they need to flourish in the digital world.

Anyone can choose from a range of free online or face-to-face courses designed to help people feel more confident and comfortable in the online world – whether you’re a parent helping your children understand online issues or a small business owner looking to grow your new business.

Skills for Tomorrow is designed to help parents close the digital skills knowledge gap and support them to speak to their children about important issues around navigating the online world.

BT has collaborated with leading digital skills organisations such as Internet Matters to collate the best courses and information, in one easy-to-navigate place.

About Barefoot:

Bringing fresh ideas to every classroom, Barefoot is your partner in inspiring pupils to think, learn and thrive in a digital world and is proudly brought to you by BT and Computing at School.

The programme was introduced in 2014 to help primary school teachers prepare for the changing computing curriculum, providing teacher training and high calibre lessons.

Barefoot resources are developed by teachers for teachers and are certified by academics. Barefoot has already helped more than 70,000 primary school teachers and 2 million children to learn computational thinking and the computing curriculum, and BT has a goal to reach a further 3 million children by 2025.

About Beyond Limits, Top Tips On Tech:

Last week, BT launched its Beyond Limits: Top Tips on Tech campaign to help people stay connected during the current Covid-19 global pandemic, by helping the nation with the digital skills it needs to get through this unique and challenging time.

The ITV partnership features well-known TV personalities, including David Walliams, Clare Balding, Rylan Clark-Neal and Fearne Cotton, teaching the nation a range of vital digital skills to help people stay connected as well as access vital online services and information.

The bespoke lessons include an introduction to WhatsApp, podcasts, as well as tips on using online services to help with physical and mental wellbeing.

David Walliams’ lessons will appear on air on ITV on Thursday and Friday covering educational and entertaining technology that the family can enjoy together, plus helpful online tools to support home schooling.

All content can be found at www.BT.com/tech-tips

About Computing at School:

Computing at School is the network for Computing Teachers, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Computing at School is a UK wide network of computing teachers who meet on a regular basis to provide peer-to-peer support around the teaching of computing and computer science. For over a decade, CAS members - who are all volunteers – have also contributed advice and resources to their fellow teachers via the CAS website (computingatschool.org.uk).

About BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT:

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is here to make IT good for society. We promote wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice. We bring together industry, academics, practitioners and government to share knowledge, promote new thinking, inform the design of new curricula, shape public policy and inform the public.

Our vision is to be a world-class organisation for IT. Our 65,000 strong membership includes practitioners, businesses, academics and students in the UK and internationally. We deliver a range of professional development tools for practitioners and employees. A leading IT qualification body, we offer a range of widely recognised qualifications.