Gove Announces £20,000 Computer Science Teaching Scholarships

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£20,000 for initial teacher training should help close the ICT skills gap

On Friday, the secretary of state for education Michael Gove announced a new scholarship scheme, aiming to get more people interested in a career as a computer science teacher by tempting them with £20,000.

The scheme, developed in partnership with BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) and funded by the Department for Education, has the backing of major industry players including Microsoft, IBM, BT and Facebook.

At the moment, the scholarships are only available in England.

Teaching the teachers

Each scholarship will be worth £20,000, tax-free, for those engaged in an initial teacher training course. Around 50 scholarships per year will be awarded and the BCS will also broker mentoring and development opportunities with schools, universities and major employers.

The scheme is aiming to create computer science Master Teachers – education professionals who work to very high standards. The Master Teacher qualification and requirements were developed by the government in 2011, and are due to be introduced in the near future.

“Our vision is for every secondary school to have outstanding computer science teachers. We want to ensure students have an intellectually rigorous, inspiring and excellent computer science education that equips them for progression into further education and a professional career,” explained Bill Mitchell, director of BCS Academy of Computing.

“Computer science is not just a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject. It is also vital to our success in the global race. If we want our country to produce the next Sir Tim Berners-Lee – creator of the Internet – we need the very best computer science teachers in our classrooms. They need to have the right skills and deep subject knowledge to help their pupils,” added Michael Gove.

The announcement of the scholarship scheme follows the recent launch of a Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science. This network is encouraging schools to work together to share good teaching practices and allows collaboration with university computer science departments.

So far over 500 schools and 17 universities have registered their interest in the Network, which is being supported by Microsoft, the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing, OCR, AQA and Google.

Full details of the criteria, including how to register an interest for the scholarships, can be found here.

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