Bexleyheath students take part in a national IT pilot scheme
PUBLISHED: 12:53 22 September 2011 | UPDATED: 12:53 22 September 2011
Talented students are set to pilot a new IT curriculum that could be expanded to schools across the country.
Townley Grammar School pupils will design their own computer software and jet off to “Silicon Valley” in California later this year to visit the headquarters of computer giants Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
The pupils are among a select number in UK schools who are part of the project to change the way the subject is taught. The new course places a strong emphasis on writing computer programmes.
Desmond Deehan headteacher at the Bexley school said: “This is essential. Computer engineers are as important as mechanical engineers were in the industrial revolution.
“To do this you need high level programming skills and high level maths skills – the brightest and the best students. Education should focus on how computer systems work rather than simply how to use computers.”
During the US trip, students will learn about nanotechnology (manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale) and spend time in Stanford University where multi-billionaire IT whizz Bill Gates made his mark.
The scheme was launched by the government’s science minister David Willets after the current IT curriculum was criticised for teaching pupils how to use software rather than giving them the chance to create it.
The pilot course will be offered on a voluntary extra curricular basis at the school which has offered computer science GCSE for the past two years.