Pupils to be taught cyber-security from age 11 to help tackle online crime
Pupils as young as 11 are to be given lessons in online security that will prepare them for careers fighting cyber-crime and online attacks, ministers revealed today.
Mr Willetts' department has pledged to work with businesses over the next year to develop teaching and learning materials for 11-14 year-olds.
The aim is to target children early enough to influence their GCSE option choices. A lack of pupils, particularly girls, choosing science, technology and maths subjects is highlighted by the strategy as a key reason for a lack of cyber-security skills in the UK.
Miles Berry, board member of IT subject association Naace and principal lecturer in computing at Roehampton University, said it was the right move, adding that it could even be included earlier in a child's education.
"I'm sure we need to have more home grown talent working in cyber-security, and it is an area that will continue to grow," Mr Berry said.
"There will be some who, having been taught it at school, will want to go into a career in cyber-security but making sure everyone keeps their data safe and secure is vital to everyone online these days. There is no reason it couldn't be taught at Key Stage 2 or even as young as Key Stage 1."