Ensuring that our children have the digital and computing skills needed for the future is a key priority of this government. Demand for high-level skills in computing will continue to grow in the years ahead and will be crucial to supporting a successful economy.
To meet the demand for high-level skills in computing, the government has introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and reformed the computer science GCSE and A Level. The reformed GCSE, introduced for first teaching from September 2016, aims to ensure that all pupils understand the fundamental principles of computer science, including knowledge on artificial intelligence, programming, coding and data representation. The reformed A level places emphasis on programming, algorithms and problem solving.
In March 2018, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, committed to making no further changes to the national curriculum beyond those that had already been announced in response to teacher feedback. Currently there are no plans to make further changes to the national curriculum during this Parliament.
In November 2018 DfE launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by £84 million in new funding. The NCCE is run by a coalition of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi and supported by industry.
The department is introducing T Levels as a high quality, technical alternative to A levels. The first T levels will start in September 2020, with all routes available from September 2022. Digital is one of the first subjects that will be rolled out in 2020. The department is also designing new apprenticeship standards that are more responsive to the needs of business both now and in the future, ensuring that employers can secure the skills they need to succeed.
Finally, the government recently announced further investment to drive up skills in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science and support more adults to upskill and retrain to progress in their careers or find new employment.
Up to 2,500 people from underrepresented groups will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and AI, thanks to a £13.5 million investment to fund new degree and Masters conversion courses and scholarships at UK academic institutions over the next three years.