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Bringing computer science back into schools: lessons from the UK

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conference contribution
posted on 2022-05-20, 11:44 authored by Neil C. C. Brown, Michael Kölling, Tom Crick, Simon Peyton Jones, Simon Humphreys, Sue Sentance

Computer science in UK schools is a subject in decline: the ratio of Computing to Maths A-Level students (i.e. ages 16-18) has fallen from 1:2 in 2003 to 1:20 in 2011 and in 2012. In 2011 and again in 2012, the ratio for female students was 1:100, with less than 300 female students taking Computing A-Level in the whole of the UK each year. Similar problems have been observed in the USA and other countries, despite the increased need for computer science skills caused by IT growth in industry and society. In the UK, the Computing At School (CAS) group was formed to try to improve the state of computer science in schools. Using a combination of grassroots teacher activities and policy lobbying at a national level, CAS has been able to rapidly gain traction in the fight for computer science in schools. We examine the reasons for this success, the challenges and dangers that lie ahead, and suggest how the experience of CAS in the UK can benefit other similar organisations, such as the CSTA in the USA. 


Presented at

Proceedings of the 44th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education in 2013

Published in

Proceedings of the 44th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE'13)




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Brown, N.C.C., Kölling, M., Crick, T., Peyton Jones, S., Humphreys, S. and Sentance, S. (2013) 'Bringing computer science back into schools: lessons from the UK', In Proceeding of the 44th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education, March 6th - 9th, Denver, Colarado. ACM, pp. 269-274



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