Harrogate students begin cracking code in the classroom

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A Harrogate High School ICT teacher has welcomed the introduction of coding into the national curriculum for all primary and high school students.

Former Education Secretary Michael Gove introduced the new curriculum in computer science and programming after labelling the previous one ‘demotivating and dull’.

The new curriculum is designed to prepare students for the technological world and will be done through the teaching of computer science and how to put this knowledge to use, through coding.

Karen Naylor, Head of ICT and Business at Harrogate High School said she believes students will be more engaged with the new curriculum but admitted it has been a ‘learning curve’ for some teachers.

She said: “We have had to learn some of these new topics as well and that has been quite the learning curve for us.

“I think it’s good, it’s a very very positive step to make the curriculum more creative and it will make the lessons a lot more engaging for students.

“We already offer coding as an option at GCSE at Key Stage Four but this will run alongside the core ICT class that the students have to take.”

In September, students at the school will be taught about writing code, which is the set of instructions that computers rely on to complete tasks.

To do this, students will learn a variety of different programming languages including the languages behind visual programming and HTML text based programming.

However, Mrs Naylor still believes the most important aspect of the curriculum is safety and security whilst using technology.

She said: “I think it’s one of the most important parts and needs to be there. I’m happy we will still have lessons on secure identity and privacy because it’s very relevant.”

The changes to the curriculum have meant more than 16,000 ICT teachers in secondary schools have needed to get up to speed with the new information in a relatively short space of time.

Mrs Naylor said she had to enrol in online courses to understand every aspect of the new curriculum on top of her regular teaching work.

She said: “The teachers were aware that the curriculum was going to change last year so I straight away enrolled on an online course.

“I spent a lot of time doing this on top of my normal teaching work so it worked out at something like 12 hours every fortnight.

“I think it will inspire the students though and they might even take it one step further themselves.”