A programme to help teachers bring computer science to life in the classroom has already reached more than half of Scotland’s primary schools, according to new figures.
Latest numbers show that teachers from 69 per cent of primary schools in Scotland – a total of more than 6,700 teachers so far – have registered to use the BT-sponsored Barefoot Computing programme, which offers free, classroom-ready teaching resources.
Launched in 2017 in Scotland, 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 and computational thinking across all subjects. The free downloadable resources and materials have been tailored to the Scottish curriculum and have been backed by the Scottish Government. They are designed to help primary school teachers across Scotland, some of whom may not have specialist computing knowledge. The resources, available in English and Gaelic, promote problem-solving, creativity and collaboration among pupils. Barefoot volunteers, including BT employees, have now delivered more than 500 free workshops for teachers across Scotland to introduce them to the resources.
Carol Farquhar, principal teacher at Houston Primary School, 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 important part of the Curriculum for Excellence and bringing these ideas into our teaching has really helped to engage the children. The Barefoot resources are helpful and accessible.”
Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director at Education Scotland, 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 skills are at the heart of our Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland, because it’s crucial our learners have the tools and capabilities they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world. I look forward to continuing to work with BT to make these attractive and supportive resources accessible to all schools in Scotland.”
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, most 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 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 Scotland 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 400,000 primary-aged children in Scotland, as fast as possible.”
Alongside the release of these figures, a new Barefoot website has also been launched which provides even more materials for teachers. Typical support 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 new support 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