The chancellor, in between cough sweet and The Grand Tour jokes in parliament mentioned that there would be a tripling of trained computer science teachers to 12,000.

 

While it is good to see this increase in prestige and focus for both Computer Science and Maths (which has been promised investment in teaching and delivery) an obvious question is to be asked: where will extra the extra 12,000 teachers come from?

 

The extra 8,000 teachers at a cost of £84m works out as £10,500 each. Clearly this does not match with the current £26,000 bursary. If this money is intended to go into training teachers we may look at the Computing at School Master teacher initiative that has struggled to recruit enough computer science experts.

 

Perhaps the money is to go to welcoming teachers who have since left the profession? The numbers of computer science teacher returning would not fill a classroom, meaning that those who leave the profession are not rushing to come back.

 

It would appear that the money is intended to be used to upskill existing teachers. This may be money well spent as qualified, competent teachers delivering the ICT syllabus have struggled to switch to computer science. In past years teachers asked to do so have invested vast amounts of their own time to the switch, or worse left the subject or the profession. In any case, students have suffered.

 

It should be noted that money used in schools to take teachers out of school the fee for cover can be as high as £250 – before fees for the actual training (some schools internally charge for staff whether or not external cover is needed). So how many days training would this new money support?

 

Worse this might be seen as too little too late. Many schools have struggled to recruit computer science teachers, and some are no longer delivering the subject above KS3. Who wants to retrain for a subject with no future, and that involves a large commitment in time and schools do not support?

 

Without more detail, it is hard to fathom the Government’s strategy and we will have to wait for more information. We hope it comes soon.