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Two million pupils inspired by the Barefoot programme

ByDave Stopher

Oct 6, 2020 #BT, #BT News

Today at the BT Tower, BT and its educational partners celebrated the two million children who have been inspired by a national computing programme called Barefoot.

The BT-sponsored Barefoot computing programme, now in its fifth year, has delivered free classroom-ready teaching resources to over 70,000 teachers across 60% of the UK’s primary schools. By helping pupils develop basic computing skills, teachers are preparing them for today’s digital world and their futures – which are very likely to involve technology.

By 2022 the UK will need an additional 500,000 workers in digital industries, which is three times the number of computer science graduates the UK has produced in the last 10 years. This is why the Barefoot programme is so important today; it provides primary school children with basic computing skills and provides teachers with lesson plans to promote problem-solving, creativity and collaboration among their pupils.

Lily Sellers, a teacher from Ashmount Primary school said “I registered with the Barefoot programme because I wanted to empower teachers at my school. I wanted them to realise that teaching computing can be simple, fun and uncomplicated.”

“The Barefoot resources support teachers by helping young children understand challenging concepts such as algorithms in a really enjoyable, practical and hands-on way. The resources are also so open-ended, making them inclusive and ensuring that all children can develop their logical thinking skills at their own pace. We love using Barefoot resources at Ashmount and we highly recommend that all schools give them a try.”

Barefoot Programme:

  • Two million children engaged so far
  • 70,000 teachers already accessing free resources
  • 60% of UK primary schools part of programme
  • Launched by the Department for Education in 2014
  • Built for teachers by teachers
  • Created by Computing at School and funded by BT,
  • Supported by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and the Raspberry Pi Foundation

To mark today’s announcement a new Barefoot website has also been launched which provides even more lesson plans for teachers. A typical lesson plan consists of tasks which are designed to improve pupils’ understanding of concepts like algorithms in a way that improves their ability to think logically and creatively. The website will also include a new lesson plan which helps educate pupils on using the internet safely and what ‘consent’ means in terms of controlling their personal information and identity.

Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group said “I am incredibly proud of how many teachers and children have been involved in the Barefoot programme and benefitted from the fantastic resources available. Increasingly, our jobs rely on people having digital skills; which is why the Barefoot programme not only delivers tech skills – it delivers life skills.”

“Well done to the teachers, Barefoot team and of course to the two million pupils who have made the programme the success it is today. We live in a world powered by technology. Let’s make sure the next generation can thrive in it, and work together to get Barefoot to all primary aged children in the UK as fast as possible.”

Paul Fletcher CEO of the BCS, Chartered Institute of IT said “Barefoot is a brilliant example of what effective partnership between industry, government and the third sector looks like in practice. It is the alchemy of three partners with a shared goal, coming together to make something very special happen.”

“Through BCS and our Computing at School network of teachers, we brought the classroom expertise, and BT brought the capability and capacity capability and capacity to scale up and to a sustainable, programme available to allcomputing teachers across the whole of the UK. I am incredibly proud of what collectively, we’ve all achieved.”

If you are interested in hearing about Barefoot programme, please visit https://www.barefootcomputing.org/ to get inspired and inspire others today!