Founder of Computing at School receives award from the Royal Society

Simon Humphreys

LONDON (04 August 2020) — Congratulations are in order for Simon Humphreys, one of the founders of Computing at School, a BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT backed initiative. He has been awarded the Kavli Education Medal by the Royal Society. In a statement, the Royal Society said the award was in recognition of his "impact in the field of science and mathematics education, and for his transformative contribution to computing education, influencing both national policy and the lives of thousands of practicing school-teachers".


Simon, along with eminent computer scientist Simon Peyton Jones, set up CAS in 2008, to provide a rich community in which computer science teachers could meet and share good practice along with advice and resources. Over the years it has grown into a lively, informed, and highly effective organisation, with tens of thousands of members including teachers, university academics, and tech-sector professionals."


Mr Humphreys said: "I am honoured and humbled to receive this award. Computing at School has been one of the highlights of my professional life and being able to work with the many wonderful teachers committed to computing education has been a real privilege.


"I'm really grateful for the support given by BCS to our community without whom we would never have been able to grow and develop or have the impact we have had. Our collective aim has been to establish computing and computer science as a foundational subject for all our young people and to support the teachers in their classrooms. It's a fantastic community and for our work to be recognised by the Royal Society is a huge honour."


The President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, said: "The Royal Society's medals and awards celebrate those researchers whose ground-breaking work has helped answer fundamental questions and advance our understanding of the world around us. They also champion those who have reinforced science's place in society, whether through inspiring public engagement, improving our education system, or by making STEM careers more inclusive and rewarding.


"This year has highlighted how integral science is in our daily lives, and tackling the challenges we face, and it gives me great pleasure to congratulate all our winners and thank them for their work."


Simon Peyton Jones, who is chair of both CAS and the National Centre for Computing Education, nominated Mr Humphreys for the Royal Society award. He said: "I am thrilled that Simon has received the recognition he so richly deserves for his role in developing CAS and its vibrant membership.


"CAS was at the epicentre of the reform of the National Curriculum in computing and laid the foundations for what would eventually become the National Centre for Computing Education.


"Simon's leadership was crucial; he was the glue that held CAS together. He has always put the teachers centre stage, but he is also able to converse and work with a multitude of agencies. It was his ability to bring those diverse forces together, whilst keeping the perspective firmly on schools that shaped CAS and made it what it is."


Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS said: "Since starting in 2008, Computing at School has provided support, advice, and a place to network with like-minded professionals to over 35,000 teachers, academics and supporters who share a passion for computing. "Simon's passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to computing education has had a significant and lasting impact in classrooms right across the UK and beyond, it's wonderful that this is being recognised by the Royal Society and I'm delighted for Simon.


"The Computing at School community is unique, with many thousands of members working together, supporting, and encouraging one another. We all care deeply about equipping every young person with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the digital world, and Simon's accolade is a fitting testament to the work of the whole community."


Simon Humphreys has also been involved in the development of curricula and resources to support computing education for many years. CAS is part of the BCS Academy and provides advice to the BCS School Curriculum and Assessment Committee, supporting its role in shaping public debate and the future of computing in schools.