The UK Forum for Computing Education (UKForCE) will provide an independent and unified voice to advise UK government and other agencies on issues relating to computing education.

UKForCE is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering and will provide advice on the curriculum, qualifications and assessment and the supply and training of computing teachers.

The expert body has been established in response to the recommendation from the Royal Society - Royal Academy of Engineering report Shutdown or restart: the way forward for computing in UK schools published in 2012, which had as a key recommendation the formation of a UK forum for the UK’s computing bodies.

UKForCE brings together representatives from across the communities of education, computer science, digital media, IT, engineering and telecommunications. The body will be independent of government and awarding organisations and will work towards improving computing education across all education sectors of the UK.

Chris Mairs FREng, chair of UKForCE and Chief Scientist at Metaswitch Networks, said: “The new computing curriculum, which comes into effect in September 2014, is a most welcome step change in computing education. There are many amazing initiatives springing up to build upon this bold move both inside and outside the classroom.

“UKForCE will be the connective tissue between all these initiatives, central government and other relevant bodies. With a coherent voice and government commitment, our children will be the world’s most savvy digital citizens and a tremendous asset to the UK economy.

“As well as providing a springboard for great software engineers and computing specialists, effective delivery of the new curriculum can literally improve the life chances of an entire generation. UKForCE will help make this happen.”

Bob Harrison, Toshiba Education Advisor, chair of a sector-led expert group and member of the UKForCE steering committee said: “Computing, in all its incarnations, is today one of the pillars of business and society; whether it’s digital literacy and basic software use, management of data and networks or advanced coding. We must ensure that young people of all abilities across the UK have opportunities to learn and be inspired by all aspects of computing education in schools.

“For UK businesses to flourish and for the UK to be an IT innovation leader not a follower, we need a fundamental change in the way that computing is taught in schools. Through UKForCE, we want to make sure the delivery of computing education in UK schools does not become mechanical and uninspiring, causing pupils to shun the subject when they move into work or choosing further education.”

Simon Peyton Jones, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, chair of Computing at School (CAS) and member of the UKForCE steering group said: “In too many schools, computing has been reduced to teaching how to use basic software packages and word-processing. As the Royal Society’s report suggest, we need to ‘restart’ the way it is taught and bring back passion and rigour to it. We need to generate the same enthusiasm for computing that the BBC Micro brought about in the 80s and that got so many people into programming and brought the UK to the forefront of computer science.

“That way we may soon see another Alan Turing emerging from our schools.”

Notes for editors

  1. Royal Society-Royal Academy of Engineering: Shutdown or restart: the way forward for computing in UK schools report can be found at:
    royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/education/policy/computing-in-schools/2012-01-12-Computing-in-Schools.pdf

    The current members of the UK Forum for Computing Education are:

    Chris Mairs FREng, Metaswitch Networks
    Andy Connell, Keele University
    Bob Harrison, Toshiba Information Systems (UK)
    Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft
    Bill Mitchell, BCS The Chartered Institute for IT
    Liz Bacon, Greenwich University
    Theo Blackwell, NextGen.Skills
    Mark Chambers, NAACE
    Debbie Forster, Apps for Good
    Quintin Cutts, Glasgow University
    Tom Crick, Cardiff Metropolitan University
    Sue Nieland, E-Skills
    Rhys Morgan, Royal Academy of Engineering
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

    We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For more information please contact

Giorgio De Faveri at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0655; email: Giorgio De Faveri