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EDUCATION & SKILLS ICODING BY POPPY WATSON


There could be no better campaign for the importance of computing science than a global pandemic. As the nation has turned to remote working and online learning, it is clear computing technology plays a vital role in all our lives. Tat is why the sharp decline


in computing science teachers in Scotland, coupled with the low uptake of the subject among school students, is of such great concern. Te most recent teacher census


shows the number of computing science teachers in Scotland has dropped by almost a quarter over the past 13 years, plummeting from 766 in 2008 to 595 in 2020. Te persistent gender gap is another problem – girls make up about 20 per cent of computing science students. As education faces these chal-


lenges, the digital skills gap contin- ues to widen. Despite the annual requirement for an additional 13,000 digital jobs in Scotland, the nation is only producing around 5,000 new recruits each year through universities or apprentice- ships.


LNFLUENCERS But it is not too late to turn


things around. Former Skyscan- ner chief operating officer Mark Logan’s review of the Scottish tech ecosystem – the recommendations in which Nicola Sturgeon has re- cently vowed to “fully implement” over the next parliament – has called for computing science to be formally taught from first year at secondary school in the same way as a core science subject such as maths or physics. Additionally, movements like


the Digital Technology Education Charter, which was launched by computing science teacher Toni Scullion in May and has rallied the support of over 110 influencers in the Scottish technology educa- tion sector already, are leading the way for constructive change in the industry. As the country looks to post-


Covid recovery, we at Futurescot have conducted research with sector professionals and industry sources to highlight some of the leading figures across Scotland’s edutech scene whose achievements might be harnessed at a national level to inspire the next generation of coding talent.


1 TONI SCULLION Computing science teacher at St Kentigern’s Academy in Black- burn, West Lothian, founder of dressCode, a non-profit committed to inspiring girls into the male- dominated subject, and the creator of the Digital Technology Education Charter – a national movement that was launched last month to “drive change” in the industry – it is safe to say Scullion is doing her bit to safeguard the future of computing science in Scotland. Mark Logan says: “Toni is truly extraordinary, and one of the most


EAD THE WAY


THE STAND- OUT STARS OF SCOTLAND’S DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION SECTOR


creative, energetic and tenacious people I’ve had the good fortune to work with in my career. Her relentless drive to improve com- puting science provision in Scot- tish schools is truly inspiring to pupils, teachers and the wider tech industry. If we want to transform educational outcomes in Scotland, by far the fastest way is simply to ask Toni what she wants to do and what she needs to get it done.”


2 MARK LOGAN Author of the Scottish Technol- ogy Ecosystem Review, commis- sioned by the Scottish Govern- ment, Logan, a former Skyscanner executive, has been a catalyst for change in the Scottish technol- ogy education sector. Te Glasgow University computing science pro- fessor’s review sets out 34 recom- mendations for both education and industry. Tese recommendations include for more effort to attract computing science graduates into teaching and for an industry partnership with schools to give computing science pupils summer work experience.


Continued on Page 14 FUTURESCOT | SUMMER 2021 | 13


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