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New IT project in primary schools

03 May 2013

From September, IT teachers from Hautlieu will start sharing their expertise with staff and students in primary schools. The project starts in St Martin and d’Auvergne and will be extended to all 22 States primary schools in future. The aim is to create an ‘expert in every primary school’ who can then help students develop a range of computing skills including problem solving, creativity and programming language.
Children in Key Stages 1 and 2 will be taught new skills – including computing theories and how to work creatively with devices such as Raspberry Pis. The Hautlieu staff will help train primary school teachers in the delivery of IT lessons and work with them to improve their specialist knowledge.
The project will:

• Address the skill shortage in computing in primary schools
• Give staff extra skills to deliver computing to younger students
• Enthuse pupils to be the next generation of developers
• Develop wider skills, including numeracy and problem solving
• Tackle the gender divide in the subject
Stuart Hughes, acting deputy head teacher at Hautlieu, is leading the project. He said “Our staff are specialists in their subject and have worked closely with the examination boards over the last four years to develop the new computing curriculum at GCSE and A Level standard. We have considerable expertise in this field, particularly in computer programming and this is a great opportunity for us to support our primary colleagues. Our aim is to further develop the delivery of creative learning through the use of digital technology.”
The project has come about as a direct result of extra States investment in IT. £3 million has been set aside to develop a new IT Skills Strategy for the Island over the next three years. The work is being led by a Steering Group based at Education, Sport and Culture and with representatives from a range of schools, Digital Jersey, the Skills Board, Jersey Finance and the Institute of Directors taking part.
Christine Walwyn, Finance and IT Director at ESC, is leading the group and said “It is generally recognised that the IT curriculum has not kept pace with technological developments or the skills requirements of the workplace. This is an exciting opportunity for Jersey to start making improvements, even before the curriculum is formally updated in England.”
The IT Skills Strategy steering group is also looking at the secondary curriculum and adult learning in IT, as well as a range of related issues. These include reviewing how e-safety is organised and monitored.
The group will also review options for future hardware in schools and consider what learning spaces may look like in future. They will look at the use of a wide range of computing and mobile devices, including students’ own. The IT Skills Strategy aims to raise the profile of IT and establish ways the government can work with employers and employees to improve IT skills and create opportunities in the IT industry.
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