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Oscar Williams

News editor

A third of students are being denied the chance to study computing at GCSE

Nearly a third of students in England (30 per cent) were denied the chance to study computer science at GCSE in 2015/16, a year after coding was added to the national curriculum.

That’s one of the headline findings of a new Royal Society report warning of a looming digital skills gap.

Its authors claim the government has rushed the new coding curriculum and failed to give schools the support and money to deliver it.

“The report paints a bleak picture in England, which meets only 68% of its computing teacher recruitment targets and where, as a result, one in two schools don’t offer computer science at GCSE, a crucial stage of young people’s education,” said Prof Steve Furber, a contributor to the report.

The Royal Society is now calling on the government to increase its investment in computer education by a factor of ten to £60m over the next five years. It also wants the government to train 8,000 secondary schools computing teachers.

Ronan Harris, Google’s UK managing director, seconded the Royal Society’s demands: “There is still much more to do to ensure young people across the UK have access to computer science education.

“Whatever school they attend or whatever field they plan to go into, every student should have the opportunity to understand the principles and practices of computing.”