PwC launches second year of innovative tech schools' outreach programme

Education outreach manager Narelle Allen delivers digital teaching to primary school pupils

AN innovative tech programme that taught over 3,000 Northern Ireland pupils how to code and develop simple computer games has opened for schools interested in participating in the next round.

PwC's Hive Academy, a free educational outreach initiative, delivers tech-based learning and resources to primary schools across Northern Ireland.

In 2017/18, almost 80 local schools participated, and the business advisory firm is now considering extending he programme UK-wide.

The programme begins with an intensive teacher development course, after which the Hive Academy team support teachers to share the lessons with the pupils, either in PwC's Belfast office or in the participating schools. More than 175 teachers went through the course last year.

The government has recently called on industry to collaborate with schools, colleges and universities to develop an ‘education revolution' and put tech at the heart of classrooms.

The PwC programme was created by its education outreach manager Narelle Allen, previously a technology teacher, who says engaging with pupils at a young age is key

“Collaborating with tech-led businesses like ours is a great way for teachers and the curriculum to stay relevant, and to give the best opportunities to students," she said.

“We know that from the age of seven, girls begin to lose interest in STEM-based subjects so we need to inspire them earlier, and challenge them in the right ways so they are encouraged.

“The beauty of the Hive Academy is that there are two programmes which work with children of all ages. Hive Hackers teaches children from six how to code, and the Tech Academy moves that learning forward to post-primary, so that from the age of eleven, pupils are taught how to develop their own computer games and apps, and how to market their designs."

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