Should Manx schoolchildren be taught computer coding?

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Education chiefs in the Isle of Man say they are keeping a close eye on developments in the IT curriculum in England, and whether changes should be implemented here.

From September, England will become the first country in the world to bring in compulsory computer programming in primary and secondary schools.

Children will start learning to write code when they enter school at the age of five, and will not stop until at least 16, when they finish their GCSEs.

The Manx Independent asked the Department of Education whether coding is already taught in Manx schools, if any schools have coding clubs, and whether the move would be implemented here.

A DEC spokesman said: ‘The DEC continues to watch developments in the UK curriculum closely.

‘The DEC has already indicated it is assessing all the changes currently being proposed with regard to the curriculum and examination systems in England and consideration of how to respond to what is being suggested for IT will obviously fit within that process.

‘DEC continues to work closely with the IT industry on the island to ensure a wide understanding of requirements from all sides.

‘There are elements of coding taking place within our schools, as there have been for a number of years, right through the key stages. Schools are currently looking at the opportunities available for qualifications in this sphere.’

The spokesman added: ‘Through partnership with industry, it is planned to enable clubs and wider input to the schools.’

Announcing the move in England, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘For the first time children will be learning to programme computers.

‘It will raise standards across the board – and allow our children to compete in the global race.’

Schools chiefs will launch a consultation process in the spring about whether to follow the English examination system.

A number of changes have been announced in England, including the introduction of Tech Levels and Applied General qualifications – to be on a par with A-levels – from September.

Planned reforms in England relating to GCSEs are due to be implemented for the first teaching of new English and maths qualifications in 2015, with other subjects to follow in subsequent years.

Reforms in A-levels are also due to take effect from 2015. The details of these reforms are still being clarified following consultations in England.

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