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Ocado launches free Code For Life tool to help 130,000 apprehensive primary school teachers

Thousands of primary school teachers aren’t ready to teach computer coding lessons that become part of the country’s national curriculum for computing before the start of the academic year in September.

Research carried out by Ocado found that 61 per cent of primary school teachers don’t currently feel confident enough to teach kids how to code, a percentage that equates to the equivalent of some 130,662 teachers.

The poll itself involved a sample of 250 English primary school teachers and also found that 73 per cent feel the resources on offer are insufficient and this stretches from hardware and resources to adequate training.

Related: Microsoft and CAS to train up the minds of tomorrow

“Teaching children to program is not just about nurturing the next generation of software engineers; being able to write code is a transformative and disruptive meta-skill that needs to be seen as being of huge potential value whatever your future holds,” commented Paul Clarke, director of technology at Ocado.

The government is preparing the replace ICT with Computing on the national curriculum from September and it’s hoped that the move will trigger off computational thinking among children from school years one to six.

Microsoft has already announced its Class Computing programme to assist 160,000 primary school teachers to develop to skills to teach the new curriculum and to that end Ocado is launching its own national initiative called Code for Life.

Designed to get every child in the UK coding, the initiative features a free coding teaching resource known as Rapid Router that is specifically targeted at pupils in Key Stage 1 and the lower part of Key Stage 2.

Available from 1 September, it is made up of an educational web application and a series of lesson plans, unplugged activity guides and coding careers videos, and stretches to 25 different skill levels to ensure every student remains engaged.

“We’ve been using the Rapid Router game for a few months now and we love it. I like the challenge of the harder levels, but the best bit is the where you get to create your own maps,” said one year five pupil from London.