All Scottish schools to be given pocket-sized computers

Devices are intended to help pupils get to grips with the basics of computer science

Credit: f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Scottish Government has announced a new £1.3m fund for primary and secondary schools to purchase computing equipment.

Every school in Scotland will receive two pocket-sized computers that “introduce pupils to how software and hardware work together”. Secondary schools, meanwhile, will be able to bid for grants of up to £3,000 each to purchase additional devices, software or teaching resources to support computer science teaching. The goal of the initiative is to better prepare learners for potential careers in the technology sector.

In August 2020, the independent Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review – a professor at the University of Glasgow and former senior executive at firms including Cisco and Skyscanner – recommended increased investment to improve computing science provision in schools.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “It is essential that we have as many talented young people leaving schools with the skills Scotland’s technology sector and wider economy fundamentally depends upon. This investment aims to refresh computing science lessons for learners – equipping them with the skills they need for careers in tech.”

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Toni Scullion and Brendan McCart, members of the recently launched Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science (STACS) group, said: “We are delighted to be appointed as co-leads of STACS. This is an incredible opportunity for computing science, and we are looking forward to working with the dedicated teachers across Scotland who are delivering computing science in schools.

“This initiative recognises the importance of computing science as a subject in schools and the integral part it plays in Scotland’s ambition for a digital nation. Computing science in education has a key role in helping to engage, nurture and inspire the next generation of talent and that journey starts in the classroom.”

Mark Logan, chair of the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, said: “It’s vital to the future supply of talent into Scotland’s tech sector that computing sat school level is elevated to the same level of importance as other STEM subjects.  The additional funding for computing science announced by the Scottish Government and the formation of STACS, which makes teachers major participants in advancing the subject in Scotland, are key building blocks on the way to that goal.”


Sam Trendall

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