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 Friday, August 02, 2013
Schools are preparing for a seismic shift in the teaching of ICT. Now they have Computing instead of ICT to cope with, and there is a much greater emphasis on computer science under a new curriculum.

While some schools, especially primaries, struggle to prepare for this change, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School has grabbed the bull by the horns. Instead of putting on a course for teachers they are taking 30 students to the hotbed of digital innovation and home of some of the brightest minds in computer science – Silicon Valley, California.
Lancaster headteacher Jackie Cahalin is delighted. “ICT is a very successful subject at LGGS at both GCSE and A level standard", she says, "allowing the girls to be creative as well as learning skills that will assist them in their other studies and future careers.

"We introduced Computing because there was a clear gap in our curriculum for those pupils who wanted to go a step further and learn how to create a tool rather than use it. Computing appeals to girls who enjoy maths, electronics and science; they find it challenging and have had to adapt their mindsets to be able to overcome problems and find solutions.

"We strive to offer our pupils the best opportunities and the visit to San Francisco is no exception and is set to truly inspire LGGS students to see there are opportunities for women in this field."
The children and teachers leave on July 17 for a full itinerary which includes visits to the usual tourist spots such as Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz but also the more computer-focused trips to the History of Computing Museum in Mountain View, Google HQ, Qualcom and a full day on the Stanford University Campus where they will meet some of the women in the faculty of computer science.

The inspiration behind the trip is Joanne Devlin, head of ICT, computing and business. “I never recognized the 'dull and boring' description of ICT [Michael Gove's] from the teaching at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School", she says, "as we have tried to make the teaching of ICT as interesting, engaging and relevant to the needs of pupils and their potential careers in the IT and digital industries.

"This trip, however, will help to raise the girls’ aspirations and make them realize what opportunities a career in computing and IT could offer them.




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