Many parents worry about technology. Whilst we urge our offspring to spend less time on screens and limit their access to Facebook, we joke about relying on our children to solve our tech problems.
Whatever our own attitude to technology, we cannot ignore the fact that the ability to write code, understand the digital world and programming will be essential for our offspring. Technology is moving on at such a pace that we cannot allow our children to be left behind. Most will have their own websites and perhaps also run their own businesses. They are likely to have many careers in their lifetimes, perhaps running concurrently, and they will need the technological skills and flexibility to manage these effectively.
In response to lobbying, the UK Government launched a new computing curriculum in 2014. This requires that by age seven, pupils understand what algorithms are and that by age eleven, pupils are able to write simple programmes. This is an important step forward.
Many independent schools, whilst not following the national curriculum, are ensuring that their pupils are well- versed in computing. Coding Club is a popular option at Abingdon Prep in Oxfordshire. The basics concepts of programming are taught in the Reception class and then integrated into teaching as pupil’s progress through the school. Westwood Hay prep in Hertfordshire has a state of the art computer suite and enthusiastic IT teachers who make computing enjoyable. At Francis Holland, Sloane Square, Headmistress Lucy Elphinstone is a fan of computer coding, acknowledging the need for girls to have this skill in their future careers.
Contrary to the popular perception of stuffy, boring IT lessons, coding can be really fun and creative. Learning how to code enables children to design apps and games. It also encourages problem- solving.
So next time you have a tech problem – your iPad won’t work, or your website is down, you may breathe a sigh of relief when your children come to the rescue. And you will be grateful that they were taught computer programming at school.