New funding announced to address the gender balance in computing

The Department for Education has granted the National Centre for Computing Education £2.4 million of funding for the ‘Gender Balance in Computing’ research project.

This funding comes at a crucial time in computing education, after recent research by the University of Roehampton and the Royal Society found that girls represented only 20% of candidates for GCSE computer science and 10% for A level.

The Gender Balance in Computing research project will trial a number of new initiatives aimed at improving girls’ participation in computing.

Over 15,000 students and 550 schools across England will be involved in the trials, which will run from 2019–2022 in key stages 1-4. The study represents the largest national research effort to tackle this issue to date.

Gender Balance in Computing is a collaboration between the consortium of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, STEM Learning, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and the Behavioural Insights Team. Apps for Good and WISE will also be working on the project.

This is one of the programmes associated with the wider National Centre for Computing Education – as part of an overall £84 million package to improve computing education in England by providing support for computing teachers at all levels, from primary to A level.

Sue Sentance, Chief Learning Officer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said:

“The challenge of encouraging more girls to take up the subject has long been a concern, and overcoming it will be critical to ensuring that the nation’s workforce is suitably skilled to work in an increasingly digital world.

“I'm very proud to be working with a range of excellent organisations on this important research project on such a scale, and together, we have the opportunity to rigorously trial a range of evidence-informed initiatives to improve the gender balance in computing in primary and secondary schools.”

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