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STEM project wins more support from BT

21 January 2015 

Children waving at videophone on laptop

BT is extending its support for the Barefoot Computing Project - an initiative that helps teachers get to grips with the new schools’ computing curriculum.

Launched in March last year, the Barefoot Computing Project has supported around 800 schools in England, providing cross-curricular computer science resources and training for some 3,000 primary school teachers with no previous computer science knowledge.

A partner from the start of the project - originally funded by the Department for Education from September last year to the end of March - BT has now agreed to support the project from March until the end of this school year.

Welcoming BT’s announcement, Barefoot Computing project leader Pat Hughes said the project is proving really popular.  

“As well as training thousands of teachers there have been 6,000 registrations to the Barefoot website, with 2500 new teacher registrations in the last two months,” she said.

“Barefoot helps teachers understand ideas and concepts such as algorithms, abstraction and data structures, how they occur naturally in many other disciplines that they also teach, and how they can teach them to children starting from age five.”

A celebration of the Barefoot Computing workshops – which are run by volunteers from the IT/computing and education sectors – is taking place this week at the Emirates Stadium, home to the Arsenal football team in north London.

Around 170 local children will be giving a demonstration of their newly-learnt computer skills to the press – including TV presenter Maggie Philbin – local executives, a delegation from Japan that has also expressed interested in the Barefoot Computing concept, and possibly a few Arsenal footballers.

Clive Selley, chief executive of BT Technology, Service and Operations, said computing is an important skill for BT.

“We’re proud to be partnering with Barefoot Computing and pleased that the workshops involving BT and other volunteers across England have been such a success,” he said.