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Research group finds digital skills gap set to become a chasm

IT contractors are increasingly being drafted into schools to install new systems, in order to cope with changes to the national curriculum.

The latest research comes from umbrella employment specialist giant group, and suggests that new programs, or at least upgrades to existing ones, are needed as a result of syllabus changes.

Read more: IT skills gap: Teachers' inability to use classroom tech is the biggest barrier to learning (opens in new tab)

Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group, said that the new Computing curriculum, for example, has led to many schools hiring supply teachers to handle content that permanent staff are not qualified to teach.

"Experts in subjects such as coding, programming and 3D printing are not always readily available and, consequently, supply teachers are being utilised to help to plug the gaps," he added.

He claimed that alongside this, schools are also being forced to turn to specialist IT contractors to handle the pressures being placed on their internal systems.

"Teaching newer subjects means complex programmes have to be installed into networks. This often requires niche expertise that only contractors can provide. We expect to see these professionals continue to be highly sought after as schools react to the changing requirements brought about by the additions to the national curriculum."

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Many will be hoping that the use of IT specialists in schools will help increase uptake of the new Computing course. Last month's GCSE results revealed that, across the country, just 17,000 pupils were taught the subject, with females making up just 15 per cent of those who took the course.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.