Three steps forward, but one step back?

The new English ICT/computer science curriculum promises to be a huge step forward and, in my experience, a chance to teach children something for which their enthusiasm promises to be close to unlimited.

One thing puzzles me, though. Speaking about it today the education secretary, Michael Gove – who deserves some praise for listening to the arguments of the professionals on this issue emphasised that, from the age of 11 children will be taught “at least two” programming languages.


Go to university where, generally, they are training you to be a professional programmer, and they still only teach you one at a time. Why do we expect children at 11 to learn at least two?


5 responses to “Three steps forward, but one step back?”

  1. Hedging their bets as to which language will still be trendy ten years hence? Trying to keep kids interested with something “fun” (Python) while also covering something likely to lead to a job (Cobol)? Trying to prevent a glut of programmers by discouraging them at an early age? Anything worth doing is worth overdoing?

    1. I think Scratch is likely to be the language the children will first use, followed by Python. I don’t object to the idea that they should move on from Scratch, it’s great fun but not really for the real world. It’s the implication of two or more at once that i find bizarre.
      I am back teaching Scratch to children again this term and they love it. It’s a truly joyous experience to teach people who are so enthusiastic – turning that into a slog would be a big mistake.

      1. Scratch for a few years, followed by Python, makes sense. Are you saying that they plan to overlap the two languages (“advanced” Scratch and “beginner” Python concurrently)?

    1. Yes, that was a fiasco last week.

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