31 May 2022
Professor Simon Peyton Jones receives OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours
In 2008, Simon joined forces with Simon Humphreys, they established a small volunteer group which and about to establish computer science in schools and support teachers, Computing at School (CAS) was born.
His work to deliver outstanding computing education is recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Prof Peyton Jones said:
“I am thrilled to receive this honour, but I do so on behalf of every member of Computing at School! The award recognises the re-imagining of computing as a foundational and creative subject that equips and empowers all children. It celebrates the passion, expertise, and sheer energy of CAS's volunteers, and the vibrant richness of the community that we have built together. There is no ‘them’; there is only us.”
Today the CAS has more than 360 volunteer communities covering the whole of the UK and has 20,000 members sharing advice, guidance, and peer-to peer support, in person and across digital platforms.Simon was part of the Advisory Group for (and contributed evidence to) the persuasive Royal Society “Shut Down or Restart” report that concluded that computing education in the UK was highly unsatisfactory and that every child should have the opportunity to learn computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.
As Chair of CAS, Simon was at the heart of the reforms that led to the new National Curriculum subject, Computing, which was introduced in September 2014.
Simon’s contributions and exceptional ability to bring together the variety of views expressed by different stakeholders in the early stages of consultations on the ICT curriculum during 2012 As chair of the working group that drafted the new computing curriculum, they produce a principled and innovative new curriculum that has been well received by industry and many teachers, and has received international attention.
The Royal Society’s 2017 Report After the Reboot showed that CAS was the number one source of support for secondary computing teachers. This led to the the single biggest investment in teacher CPD for computing anywhere in the world by the DfE into the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE),
We asked Simon about his own personal journey in computing education and he said this:
"I am a research computer scientist, not an education expert. I became involved in computing education when I became dissatisfied with what my own children were learning in ICT in the mid 2000’s, and in my role as governor of a comprehensive school.
CAS started as a mixture of a support group and a guerrilla campaign, and I was blown away by the expertise, commitment, and passion of the CAS’s early members. Education is complicated, and full of unintended consequences --- and we have seen plenty of those. And yet CAS’s initial vision of computing as a foundational subject, with computer science (not just technology) at its core, has been a North Star that has stood the test of time.
Teaching is a noble profession. An outstanding teacher is a mentor, a social worker, a role model, as well as being a subject expert. One outstanding teacher will influence, and sometimes transform outright, the lives of thousands of students. Teaching is also a pretty tough profession. I see the role of CAS and the NCCE as providing the love, encouragement, collegial support, and training to equip them to be that outstanding teacher.
A huge strength of CAS and the NCCE is that it gives people like me, outside the formal school education system, an opportunity to contribute. I feel privileged to have had that opportunity."
Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS said:
“Simon is a force for good globally when it comes to computing education. His unrelenting enthusiasm is infectious - it’s because of this that Computing at School, since its beginnings as a small group of volunteers, has grown and supported over 43,000 teachers, academics, and others, all passionate about computing education.
CAS's work continues today. It is a vibrant professional network extending support and guidance to one another, developing subject knowledge, sharing what really works in the classroom, and enhancing the computing offer for young people.
On behalf of BCS and the CAS community, thank you Simon for getting us closer to our ambition that every child should develop the thinking skills to thrive in the digital world.”