In Salford, we run a project called ‘Computer Learning Programme’. The project is a computer learning programme for children currently between ages 7 to 14 years. The programme teaches the children life-skills set in different aspects of software, hardware, design planning, web development, e-safety, and much more. The students work through a structured programme at their own pace with support from their teachers and mutual encouragement from their peers. The children develop foundational skills to empower them for the future, gain confidence in their abilities and increase their feeling of self-worth.
The purpose of the Computer Learning Programme is to empower young people to boost their future employability. The programme nurtures creative thinking and problem solving, and helps children to recognise their potential and boost their confidence in what they can achieve. We have increased the age group to 16 to help children who are writing GCSE to excel.
The GCSE Computer Science Group will focus on the knowledge and skills needed to excel at GCSE. It will include support on how to approach examination questions and ensure vocabulary that may arise is understood. Students will be given individual support and content will be adapted to the different examination boards. This class will be delivered through a combination of online and face-to-face sessions.
As well as boosting their skill-set, the children also have loads of fun and build great friendships along the way, bridging the gap. We also teach life skills to our learners via additional mini-workshops, discussing socio – economic topics around daily issues which come up in the lives of the children. We keep the classes small, so we can work with the children, giving them the needed attention according to their individual learning pace and style, so they can understand and apply the concept of what they are learning.
We had to introduce this focus group in 2022 to our project. Since the inception of the Computer Learning Programme, the children attending have excelled in their various schools. However, we have realised that some of the children, working towards GCSE still have a lot to cover in terms of their academic performance, due to various ongoing issues with either rapid change of teachers and/or supply teachers in their schools. This, the children say affects their learning and consistency. As an introduction, we started focusing last year on some of the curriculum for the students who will write their GCSE, and they were happy and excelled in Computer Science.
The world is changing and there is new demand for IT and digital skills. There is also the need for industry specific leadership skills, and children – our future leaders must adapt to the required skill sets. Students must be prepared for the challenges ahead, and our vision is focused on enhancing the IT and digital skills of children, encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, helping them to develop a can-do attitude that will build and boost the children’s confidence.