Computing project helps 4,000 pupils in Northumberland

The Barefoot Computing Project was created in 2014 by a coalition of partners, including the Department for Education, the British Computer Society, BT and Raspberry Pi.
The Barefoot Computing Project was created in 2014 by a coalition of partners, including the Department for Education, the British Computer Society, BT and Raspberry Pi.

More than 4,000 pupils in Northumberland have benefitted from a pioneering education programme to boost youngsters’ computing skills.

The Barefoot Computing project, which has now reached more than one million pupils UK-wide, helps primary-school teachers get to grips with computing so they can better help their pupils.

Led by BT and the British Computer Society, it offers free teaching resources and volunteer-led training workshops, designed to help teachers get confident when teaching computing skills.

It is making a big impact with more than 130,000 resources downloaded and more than 35,000 teachers using those resources nationwide.

Farooq Hakim, chairman of BT’s North East regional board, said: “Computing is a vital skill for the future of the Northumberland. For the individual, it opens the door to a world of possibilities.

“Businesses and organisations of all types and sizes rely on this technology, while households use it for online learning, research and entertainment.

“In the North East, BT volunteers are running workshops at schools the length and breadth of the region, giving teachers the confidence to teach computing skills to young people. Those skills will undoubtedly be used to successfully navigate a whole host of real-world challenges as they go through life.”

Barefoot was created in response to concerns that many young people today are passive consumers rather than active creators of technology – and risk being left behind.

Findings from research company Ipsos MORI and BT showed how important it is for the UK to step up its efforts.

Seventy-eight per cent of primary-school teachers think tech literacy is as important as reading and writing.

Seventy-five per cent strongly agreed it’s their job to prepare pupils for a digital world, but only 25 per cent strongly agreed they felt able to do that.

Liz Williams, BT’s director of tech literacy, said: “BT is delighted Barefoot has reached this major milestone, because we know that the next generation’s life chances will be improved by being able to thrive in the digital world.”