People and processesDigital SkillsTop computer scientist chosen to lead NCCE to boast employment in digital roles

Top computer scientist chosen to lead NCCE to boast employment in digital roles

The chair of the new NCCE will uphold the integrity of computing as an academic discipline across all the resources, guidance and professional development.

Professor Simon Peyton Jones of Microsoft Research, regarded as one of Britain’s leading computer scientists, has been chosen to lead the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).

Chancellor Philip Hammond had promised to work with industry to create a new National Centre for Computing as part of the 2017 budget. He will now lead the work of the centre. The centre wants to improve the teaching of computing and drive participation in computer science.

Worldwide recognition

Professor Simon Peyton Jones is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the BCS, granted for his work to advance the development of computer science education in the UK.

He is an Honorary Professor of the Computing Science Department at Glasgow University. He was a professor at Glasgow University in the 1990s He is currently a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research.

He is also chair of Computing at School. It is a grassroots organisation that was at the centre of the 2014 reform of the computing curriculum. It has a membership of over 30,000 computing teachers and academics. Computing at School also oversaw a government drive to recruit 400 master computing teachers. This initiative took three years longer and £1 million more funding than expected to reach its target.

He has achieved worldwide recognition for his work on programming language among other things.

Professor Peyton Jones said: “The National Centre offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to firmly establish computer science as a foundational subject discipline that will enable all our young people to be active participants in the complex digital world that surrounds them.

I am delighted to have a role in translating the big vision of the new computing curriculum into a vibrant reality in every classroom in the country.”

National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE)

NCCE is working with schools across England to improve the teaching of computing. They are also working to drive up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-Level.

A consortium made up of STEM Learning, British Computer Society (BCS) and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are delivering the work of the NCCE. NCCE is backed by up to £84 million of government funding.

NCCE will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led Computing Hubs. The hub will provide training and resources to primary and secondary schools. Additionally, it will provide an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-Level qualification in computer science.

The centre will work with the University of Cambridge, with a further £1 million investment from Google. The centre will also develop an A-level programme to better prepare A level students. NCCE’s aim is to get these students to further study and get employment in digital roles.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “This appointment reflects the Government’s determination to make sure pupils are computer literate and versed in the fundamentals of computer science and computer programming.

“Professor Peyton Jones brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role. This will be vital in making sure the centre, which is backed by a consortium made up of some of the country’s most accomplished tech organisations, is able to train teachers in the latest digital skills.”

Earlier this month, the University of Exeter initiated digital transformation programmes with the aim to become one of the top 10 universities in the UK. Similarly, Scottish organisations were able to access data talent through summer placement programme.

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