Primary pupils are being given the chance to gain a nationally accredited certificate in basic computer use, which they can build on when they move to secondary school.
The Ingot awards are being made available at gold, silver and bronze levels; the more basic are aimed at primary pupils and gold at GCSE level.
They have been developed by advocates of open source software, the free alternative to commercial programs such as Microsoft Office, and recognise pupils' abilities whatever operating platform their school uses.
About 20 hours of work is expected for a bronze award, covering how to switch on a computer and correct seating posture to editing text, creating diagrams and making presentations.
The gold award takes 60 hours, with units on knowledge of open source systems, producing documents, using spreadsheets and citizenship, in which the student writes blogs and supports the development of open source software.