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Over half of 18-24 year olds wish they had learned coding

70% of recent school leavers aged 18 to 24 say they wish they had been taught coding while they were at school

Posted by Charley Rogers | October 30, 2017 | Technology

SAM Labs, a leading UK-based edtech company, has released research revealing that more than half (53%) of Brits now believe that learning coding in school is just as important as learning a foreign language, such as French or Spanish. 

The research of over 2,000 UK adults in association with YouGov, also found that 60% wish that they had been taught basic coding whilst at school (only 12% say that they had been offered coding lessons), and half (49%) said that they thought all kids in school today should have mandatory coding lessons before they leave secondary school. Amongst recent school leavers (aged 18 to 24), 70% say that they wish they had received coding lessons while at school. 

Coding as a core part of the school curriculum

SAM Labs also looked into how they compared coding lessons to other school subjects, in light of how useful they would be to future career prospects. The results showed that:

  • 1 in 3 believe that coding is just as important, or more important, than learning maths or English
  • 56% believe that coding is more important than ancient languages such as Latin
  • Most UK adults (53%) now agree that learning coding is just as important for future career prospects as learning a modern language 

Having coding sit as a core part of the school curriculum is particularly important as 1 in 3 Brits now believe that most jobs in the future will require all applicants to have a basic understanding of coding.  

Making coding a key priority for kids of all ages

49% of UK adults believe that all kids should be taught at least some mandatory basic coding before they leave school, showing how the subject has become fundamental even in a relatively short period of time on the school curriculum.  

Kids should also be taught basic coding, and the logic behind it, from a young age, but SAM Labs’ research found that just 3% have received lessons in coding before leaving primary school.

Tomorrow’s economy will depend on coding

As well as 1 in 3 believing that most jobs of the future will depend on coding, 54% of Brits said that they believed that mandatory coding lessons in school would be good for the future of the UK economy.  

Worryingly though, only a third of parents said that their children were currently getting lessons in coding. 6% of parents also say that they don’t believe that they would adequately support their children with their coding homework. 

Meanwhile, 29% worry that schools currently do not have the resources that they might need to teach coding lessons properly.

Joachim Horn, CEO of SAM Labs, comments, “Whilst there are many brilliant teachers already engaging their students in coding lessons, we are still a long way off ensuring that all kids have access to the basic coding skills they need. By teaching coding in interesting and accessible ways, we can ensure that all pupils have the coding know-how that their parents now wish they had.” 

“Not only are basic coding skills good for preparing kids for the workplace of tomorrow, they can also help to engage students in lessons across the curriculum, including everything from science to art.” 

For additional information on SAM Labs and its research, please visit

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