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Raspberry Pi competition aims to trigger interest in programming and coding in London schools

London school students are being encouraged to take up coding and programming through a new scheme being run by Portcullis Computer Security.

Related: Slower ICT curriculum rollout will disadvantage Welsh children

The Raspberry Pi secondary school ICT competition is being aimed at institutions in the London Borough of Hillingdon and was launched at Ruislip High School with a day of presentations and discussions for both students and teachers.

“There is a definite gap in the education sector with students missing the fundamentals of coding and programming. A lot of young people think they are good with computers but when it comes to understanding how computers work, we have a lot of passengers and not enough mechanics. Many kids lack the skills to do anything tangible with what they know,” says Tim Anderson, commercial director, Portcullis.

Students taking part in the scheme are being asked to use Raspberry Pi computers supplied by Portcullis to develop something that benefits the community or an individual within the community.

The competition has been devised by Portcullis to promote the government’s newly amended computer science syllabus that becomes part of the curriculum in September with the sole purpose of promoting interest in both coding and programming.

“The practical experience of using the Raspberry Pi’s and practising with the programming has been really beneficial. We have a number of students who are very interested in applying for the competition and developing something of their own,” added Sunaina Shori, curriculum leader for ICT at Ruislip High School.

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The government has already pumped £500,000 into training ICT teachers in how to teach coding and the target is for it to be taught to every school child between the ages of five and 16.