One of the things I’ve been pondering since attending the excellent Coding for Kids kick-off meeting last week is what measures should we look to for an indication of how well we are doing.

My sons primary school has recently been through an Ofsted inspection. With that in mind, it struck me that as we increase the number of kids who are exposed to programming, we should expect to see more mention of it in Ofsted reports.

So, if you were to take the last couple of years of primary school Ofsted reports and look for ones that mentioned programming, what would you find? Obviously, I wouldn’t expect the figure to be very high. Inspectors are not tasked to seek out examples of kids coding, so any mentions would just be because they had observed something that had stood out for them. However, if we are looking for evidence that Coding for Kids is having an impact, the reports might not be a bad starting point.

In a fit of data-geekery, last night I knocked together a script which scraped around two years of primary school data (10,747 Oftsted school inspection reports) from their website (Grrrr – Ofsted don’t organise their data to make this easy – but thats another story). A search for the word ‘programming’ returns 22 results. A search for the word “computing” across all of these reports returns 105 results (however when you read them, many of these are actually referring to computing facilities in the context of ICT provision).

So, looking back over the last couple of years, only 0.2% of primary Ofsted reports mention programming.

Yes it’s a very crude measure, but I’m hoping that in a couple of years, with the various initiatives being kicked off under the Coding for Kids umbrella, I’ll be be to repeat the exercise and report a much improved percentage.

(PS: I’ll try and do the same for Secondary schools at some point – also if anyone wants a copy of the base data I scraped then just shout)






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