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Parents unaware of coding changes

Two thirds of parents with primary school children are unaware of the new computing curriculum, according to new research

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | August 29, 2014 | Technology

Two thirds (65%) of parents are unaware their primary school-aged children will learn to code at school from next week, according to new research from Ocado Technology, the division that powers Ocado.com, the online supermarket. 

From the 1st September, all primary and secondary school pupils in England will learn coding skills for the first time. This is part of the government’s new Computing curriculum. 

Thankfully, young people are more clued up than their parents. According to the poll of 1,000 5-11-year-olds, nearly half (47%) are fully aware of the new Computing curriculum and are excited about learning how to code. In fact, unbeknownst to their parents, more than a quarter (29%) of those surveyed said they already know some coding skills. 

However, despite this enthusiasm, young people would still rather pursue a career in acting and football over computer programming. Six in 10 (58%) girls would prefer to become actresses, compared to 20% who would rather be computer programmers. Likewise, nearly half (47%) of boys said they would rather pursue professional footballing careers, versus 34% who would prefer to be computer programmers. 

To help counter this, Ocado Technology has teamed up with 14-year-old Amy Mather, European Digital Girl of the Year, and specialist primary computing teachers, to launch Rapid Router, a free coding teaching resource.

It includes a fun coding game with a “create” mode for pupils to build their own challenges. Tested on over 150 primary pupils, it features more than 50 levels that help teach children the basic principles of programming. It also includes a series of videos where different types of computer programmers explain how they use coding in their careers.

Amy Mather, who designs games and writes her own software, said: “You don’t have to be a doctor, scientist or politician to help change the world; you can do it with code. That’s why the new Computing curriculum and initiatives like Rapid Router are so important. 

“We can’t progress unless we teach the next generation how to create, instead of consume, technology, which is why I think children should be taught computer programming as soon as they are able to read and type. By giving primary school pupils the skills and opportunities they need to write their own computer programs, they will not only have a lot of fun, but they'll be able to code a better future.”

Free teaching resource 

The Rapid Router resource also includes a series of lesson plans, unplugged activity guides and instructional videos which bring to life how coding is used in everyday scenarios at Ocado. Developed by Ocado Technology in conjunction with experienced primary computing and ICT teachers, the application has been specifically designed to ensure every child is challenged regardless of their ability.

Rapid Router is part of Code for Life, Ocado Technology’s nationwide initiative to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and equip pupils with the skills they need to revolutionise the industries of tomorrow.

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