Introducing coding would require upgrade, says INTO

Children at a recent Coderdojo event in Dublin.

Any move to introduce coding to the primary maths programme would require proper staff training and equipment for schools, a teachers’ union said.

It was responding to Education Minister Richard Bruton’s request that coding be considered for inclusion in a primary maths curriculum. The changes are subject of a review only in its preliminary stages by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

While acknowledging this is the appropriate stage to make such a proposal, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) says the minister should be willing to provide necessary support if it is adopted. “The easy part is suggesting coding be taught; the challenge for the minister will be to address the skills gap that there will be among teachers, provide the professional development and training needed to bridge that gap, and resource primary schools in terms of hardware and, particularly, connectivity.”

The inclusion of computational thinking and other topics linked to coding is likely to be recommended in a discussion paper due from the NCCA in the autumn.

Its council is set to use this and previous research on primary maths to put forward a draft revised curriculum for consultation early next year. But it could be at least 2018 before any changes are seen in schools.

Mr Bruton said the ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital to the life prospects of children who recently started, or are about to start, primary school.

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