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Computing education in the UK and Ireland

Over the past two years, we have led a study exploring computing in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Ireland. Many countries around the world have introduced computing into primary and secondary education in recent years, either as a mandatory or elective subject. The UK and Ireland are no exception, and in the past decade we have seen significant policy and curriculum developments relating to computing at school level.

Our goal was to understand more about the development of computing as a school subject in the different parts of the UK and Ireland and, importantly, to gather data about computing teachers’ own experiences and perspectives. The study was a collaboration with researchers from across the UK and Ireland.

In addition, Dr Irene Bell of Stranmillis University College, Belfast, provided advice on the study with respect to Northern Ireland.

The study involved two main strands: 

Study design

We conducted both the teacher survey and the analysis of policy and curriculum contexts in 2022. 758 teachers across the UK and Ireland took part in the survey. After data cleaning, the final data set comprised 512 teachers. The data collected provided a rich source of information about the computing teacher profession in the UK and Ireland.

Our initial analysis of the survey data focused on comparing the experiences of teachers in the different parts of the UK and Ireland and looking at the impact of national policy and curricula on teachers’ experiences. We published a paper on this topic at UKICER in September 2022.

Subsequent work has included deeper analysis of specific topics covered by the survey, such as classroom practice and professional development. We hope to publish papers on these topics shortly. 

We also published a technical report in April 2023, which provided access to the full survey results.

Study resources

We have published both the teacher survey instrument used for this study and the full survey results, so that anyone who is interested can explore the data we collected via tables and data visualisations. You can download a full report here.

The teacher survey instrument used for this study was an adapted and localised version of the METRECC tool, a comprehensive and validated survey tool developed in 2019 to measure many aspects of how computing curricula are taught and the experiences of computing teachers. The intention of the METRECC project was to create a survey instrument which could be used to monitor computer science education in schools around the world. To date, teachers from Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, the UK and the US have all taken part in a version of the METRECC survey. The development of the METRECC instrument is set out in this paper:

An International Study Piloting the MEasuring TeacheR Enacted Computing Curriculum (METRECC) Instrument, Falkner et al (2019), which describes the development and piloting of the METRECC tool


Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre (2023). UK and Ireland Computing Teacher Survey: survey results (technical report). Available at: https://computingeducationresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/UK-Ireland-Computing-Teachers-Survey-survey-results.pdf

Sentance, S., Kirby, D., Quille, K., Cole, E., Crick, T., & Looker, N. (2022, September). Computing in school in the UK & Ireland: A comparative study. In Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on United Kingdom & Ireland Computing Education Research (pp. 1-7).

Other materials

UK and Ireland Computing Teachers’ Survey: results published (blog article)
Computing teachers in the UK and Ireland: initial results from our research survey (blog article)
Calling all Computing and ICT teachers in the UK and Ireland: Have your say (blog article)
How is computing taught in schools around the world? (blog article)