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New digital skills initiative prepares pupils from age seven for the jobs market of 2025

Fulham School has launched a new digital skills initiative, Vision2025, to shake up the Information Technology (IT) curriculum and to help students develop the digital knowledge needed to be successful in the future jobs market.

Through the Vision2025 initiative, designed by Fulham’s Head of Digital Learning, Brendan O’Keeffe, over 200 students age seven to thirteen in years three to eight are learning to build robots, code and use design software

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Lego vehicle model

– all areas that the school has identified as being essential for the employment market in 2025.

Using solutions from the LEGO® Education BricQ Motion line of products and other suppliers, O’Keeffe has used specialised personal learning kits for pupils, to prepare a new generation of digitally literate adults, capable of building hardware and software and deciphering complex problems as more precedence is placed on developing STEM-based skills.

Set up during lockdown when the majority of students were being taught via remote learning, O’Keeffe also recognised the need to include practical-based learning in pupils’ school days, as well as reduce the amount of time students were spending in front of screens. In each session, students would initially explore a key concept, such as momentum or simple mechanics, through dialogue and examples.

They would then prepare a response to a mission statement, such as “using the materials available to you, create a vehicle that can travel as far as possible from a single push”. Students worked both individually and collaboratively in duos and trios, aided by clear guidance, observational oversight and consistent support from their teacher. When the class came back together, discussions on what the children had designed facilitated important moments of learning.

With an initial focus on robotics this term, students have developed a thorough understanding of the key basic concepts needed to develop and craft their own robots.

Following the return to physical classrooms, the Vision2025 initiative will now expand in scope and size, offering the students access to the school site’s substantially larger resources but with the same focus on STEM-oriented skills that they were able to explore remotely during lockdown.

Brendan O’Keeffe, Head of Digital Learning at Fulham School, said: “The world is changing, and we need to make sure our curriculum keeps pace with this. Instead of always being one step behind technological advancements, the UK’s IT curriculum needs to reflect emerging trends and suitably prepare students for when they leave school. This initiative shifts the focus onto where we are going as opposed to where we have been.

“But Vision2025 shouldn’t be unique to Fulham. We want to use this project to form part of a wider movement by other schools, to update their approach to the IT curriculum. We want to support a diverse generation of students, from all backgrounds, for the future of STEM based work.”

Nicholas Wergan, Global Education Director at Inspired Education – a global group of premium schools which Fulham is part of, said: “Our curriculum ethos at Inspired is driven by innovation, challenge and enrichment, to prepare our students to fully grasp their exciting future. The program we are piloting at Fulham School teaches coding and robotics using LEGO® Education resources and will help strengthen important 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication.”