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More than half of West Midlands Schools Boosted by BT's Tech Literacy Programme reveals CEO during visit to Birmingham

Press Release   •   Jun 20, 2018 15:18 BST

Pupils from Greeholm Primary School, Great Barr, try out the new 'Barefoot Goes Wild' tech literacy materials with BT CEO Gavin Patterson

BT’s chief executive today hailed the “tremendous achievement” of a major campaign in the West Midlands to help children become more tech literate.

Gavin Patterson revealed during a visit to a Birmingham school that more than half of the 1,800 primary schools in the West Midlands Combined Authority area had so far benefited from the Barefoot Computing Project.

The project has already delivered more than 200 workshops to more than 3,600 West Midlands teachers.

“It’s a tremendous achievement,” said Mr Patterson whilst visiting Greenholm Primary School, in Great Barr. “But the job is by no means finished. We would like to go further and get even more West Midlands primary schools and community volunteers involved in this exciting initiative.

“Having the right tech skills has increasingly become as important as key subjects like English and Maths. The current generation is growing up surrounded by technology, but too often they take it for granted and don’t really appreciate how it actually works.

“The Barefoot Computing programme is designed to help young people develop a broader understanding of IT and how to use it more creatively, instead of simply being passive consumers of technology.

“Our teams who deliver the workshops do an amazing job but we need even more community volunteers if we’re to fulfil our aim of reaching every West Midlands school.”

The initiative, which has already reached around 1.5 million children nationally, works with primary teachers to help them develop the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to teach computer science.

Supported by British Computing Society and Computing at School and funded by BT, the programme provides free workshops and colourful, imaginative resources for teachers. Two-thirds of the 1,300 volunteers who deliver the workshops are BT employees.

The new campaign – Barefoot Goes Wild, in collaboration with Buglife and the RSPB – includes resources to help teach basic programming and develop computational thinking skills whilst learning about wildlife.

Kelly Lycett, ICT lead at Greenholm Primary School, said: “The Barefoot Computing Programme enables teachers to highlight the wider benefits of technology in new and exciting ways. We particularly like how easy the materials are to use.”

More information about BT’s Tech Literacy Programme – including how to volunteer – is available from: www.techliteracy.co.uk

Another aspect of the programme is Work Ready, which helps teenagers and young adults prepare for the world of work by attending skills workshops and work placements, with more than 300 young people across the West Midlands benefitting so far.

Earlier this year BT announced it was creating 36 apprenticeship and graduate jobs in the West Midlands. This is in addition to the more than 200 new trainee engineer jobs announced by Openreach.

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Issued by the BT regional press office. For more information please contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

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