One of Britain’s leading computer scientists has been appointed as chair of the new National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).

Simon Peyton Jones of Microsoft Research has achieved worldwide recognition for his work on programming language and will now lead the work of the centre as it aims to improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science.

“The National Centre offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to firmly establish computer science as a foundational subject discipline that will enable all our young people to be active participants in the complex digital world that surrounds them,” said Professor Peyton Jones said.

“I am delighted to have a role in translating the big vision of the new computing curriculum into a vibrant reality in every classroom in the country.”

As the chair of the National Centre for Computing Education, Professor Peyton Jones will uphold the integrity of computing as an academic discipline across all the resources, guidance and professional development for teachers that the centre provides.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb added: “This appointment reflects the Government’s determination to make sure pupils are computer literate and versed in the fundamentals of computer science and computer programming.

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“Professor Peyton Jones brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role. This will be vital in making sure the centre, which is backed by a consortium made up of some of the country’s most accomplished tech organisations, is able to train teachers in the latest digital skills.”

The National Centre is working with schools across England to improve teaching of computing at GCSE and A-Level.

A consortium made up of STEM Learning, British Computer Society (BCS) and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are delivering the work of the NCCE, backed by up to £84 million of government funding.

The National Centre will also work with the University of Cambridge, with a further £1 million investment from Google.