Ensuring that our children, regardless of their background, have world-class digital and computing skills is a key priority of this government. The government introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject in 2014 at all four key stages. The new computing curriculum has helped to ensure pupils have the broader knowledge and skills they need to go on to specialise in innovative technologies and become active creators of digital technology. For example, from the ages of five to eleven, children are taught to use technology purposefully, understand computer networks, and design simple computing programmes. England was one of the first G20 countries to have introduced coding and programming into the curriculum at primary school. By the age of 14, pupils can understand algorithms, use multiple software packages and media and programme in two languages.
The reformed curriculum is supported by the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), which has been set up with £80 million of government funding. The NCCE are delivering a comprehensive programme to improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science, particularly amongst girls. The NCCE offer fully funded continuing professional development (CPD) in encryption, cryptography and cyber security to improve the teaching of these cyber security skills. The NCCE also works with the National Crime Agency, and the National Cyber Security Centre to share expertise and signpost to resources such as the CyberFirst programme. The NCCE course at GCSE level, Introduction to Cybersecurity, focuses on the range of threats and vulnerabilities that exist on the internet, how they could be exploited and how to mitigate against cyber-attacks.
The government will introduce a new digital skills entitlement based on new national standards from August 2020. This will be funded through the £1.34 billion Adult Education Budget (AEB), which aims to help eligible adults aged 19 and over gain the skills they need for work, undertake an apprenticeship or pursue further learning.
We are investing an additional £500 million per year on the implementation of new T Levels. Digital Production, Design and Development is one of the first three T Levels to be taught from this September. T Levels in Digital Support and Services, and Digital Business Services will follow in 2021, providing students with a clear pathway to employment in this sector. The Digital Support and Services T Level has a particular cyber security focus with specialisms in digital infrastructure, network cabling and digital support.
The government is also investing up to £290 million of capital funding to establish 20 Institutes of Technology (IoT). These institutes will be the pinnacle of technical training, with unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and businesses offering higher technical education and training in key sectors such as digital; digital is a popular sectoral specialism with 30% of the provision of the first 12 IoTs aligned to the digital technical route. The planned South Central Institute of Technology will have a particular focus on cyber security.