Going beyond the coding curriculum
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Coding was added to the national curriculum with some fanfare a few years ago as the Department for Education (DfE) was keen to ensure digital skills were being taught, especially in light of the huge digital skills gap that exists in the UK. The UK was in fact one of the first countries to do so, most have followed since.
However the reality is somewhat different.
Let's take a step back because it's often news to most parents that coding is even on the curriculum. Well it is, from age 5. It's also rather vague as to what a child should actually be able to demonstrate through the different key stages. Just as a comparison, the document outlining the national curriculum for English for Key Stages 1-4 is 120 pages long; that for Mathematics is 67 pages long. The Computing curriculum is 5 pages long, and that includes other aspects of computing, not just coding.
The cynical critic might say that including coding in the National Curriculum was just a PR exercise. Another more generous assessment though is that if the curriculum were more specific it would not be possible to deliver it with the existing resources in most schools. This is because coding is a very technical subject that requires a significant level of expertise in order to teach it thoroughly, effectively and in an engaging manner. To teach coding well one needs to be both a good teacher and a proficient programmer. It is unrealistic to expect teachers to have this extensive programming experience.
Teaching coding only at a very basic level can indeed have some adverse effects. We see children-specific platforms such as Scratch being used extensively in schools at the expense of coding using a real life programming language such as Python. And when languages such as Python are used, often the focus may be on very basic programs using only some of the key tools in coding, with a risk that children lose interest in the subject.
This is where codetoday fits in. By focusing exclusively on coding, treating it as an academic subject and recruiting and training the right people to be able to deliver our thorough curriculum, we can ensure that we can teach coding using engaging projects and that we can allow students to explore and experiment. When solving a problem using coding, there are also often good ways and bad ways of doing things and by having experienced programmers teaching we can ensure that best practices are used throughout, and explain to students why these are needed.
In our curriculum we tackle all the fundamental concepts in programming both from a technical aspect as well as the general areas of computational thinking and problem solving. By delivering this curriculum in a very practical approach we ensure that students do not just know the theory, but can apply it in practice to write computer programs, which is after all what coding is all about.
If you'd like to find out more about our curriculum please do get in touch we'd be more than happy to share it with you. Just click contact in the menu above.
codetoday run a variety of course options for students age 7-17. Click learn more below to find out more.