Main content

Computing is the new English as it becomes the nation's favourite school subject

The newly-crowned classroom favourite incorporates skills such as learning to code – the engine that drives the latest computer game graphics and Hollywood blockbuster special effects

But two fifths of parents dread helping their kids with this homework

• Half of all school children (49 per cent) now rely on homework help from their siblings

• Three quarters (77 per cent) of parents believe it is important for children to learn coding skills

• Barclays launches Code Playground where children and adults can learn coding online or in branch with the help of a Barclays Digital Eagle  

Barclays research¹ revealed today shows a quarter (24 per cent) of British school children say computing, incorporating skills such as learning the code behind the latest generation of graphic-heavy computer games - is their favourite school subject.

The findings show just how far education has swung from their parents’ generation who favoured English during their school days (21 per cent).

However, the statistics also show that the introduction of coding into the National Curriculum² has left some parents unable to help on the new favourite school subject. Nearly a third of parents (30 per cent) don’t believe that they can assist their children with computing homework and two fifths (40 per cent) said they ‘dread’ helping with it.

As a result, other family members are becoming an additional ‘helpdesk’ for homework with nearly half (49 per cent) of all school children getting homework help from their brothers and sisters on the subjects their parents find the hardest (computing and maths). 

With over two fifths (41 per cent) of parents feeling left behind by their children’s increasing digital skill set, almost half of all parents (49 per cent) want the opportunity to learn more about coding and digital technology, with one of the reasons cited as being able to help with homework.

And it comes as no surprise that over three quarters of parents (77 per cent) believe it is important for children to be learning coding skills, particularly as code sits behind many of things we interact with every day from smartphone apps and computer games to the graphics we see in TV advertising and in blockbuster films.

With this in mind, Barclays Digital Eagles³ are continuing to help families of all ages acquire and embrace digital skills and knowledge through the launch of ‘Code Playground’. 

The initiative which launches today (15th January 2015), gives customers and non-customers alike the opportunity to learn about coding online or in branch with the help of a Barclays Digital Eagle. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to participate in order to bridge the divide between the generations' digital know-how.

Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director, Barclays said, “The purpose of our Digital Eagles is simple – to work in local communities to give people the opportunity to learn and embrace digital skills, from sending an email, skyping family or learning how to bank online. Since 2013, more than 12,000 Digital Eagles have helped thousands people of all ages to get more out of being online, but we don’t want to stop there.

“In 2015, we’re now expanding that support to include coding either online or in-branch so whether you’re seven or one hundred and seven, you can take advantage of the opportunity to learn the emerging language of the new digital economy. We want to make sure we leave no one behind as we transform Barclays into a truly digital business”. 

The bank has also launched the Barclays Digital Driving Licence app, an interactive learning experience with ten modules, endorsed by City & Guilds and designed by Digital Eagles and Digital partner brands such as Microsoft and IBM.  It has been launched to provide an opportunity for everybody to gain a good foundation of knowledge to support them becoming more digitally savvy and increase their digital skills, knowledge and confidence.

From the 15th January 2015, help your child learn code with a Digital Eagle at Barclays Code Playground.

For more information or to find out how to book a free session, go to

For further information on the Barclays Digital Driving Licence, visit a branch or download the app from your relevant app store.

  1. Research conducted by One Poll between 23.12.2014 and 30.12.2014.  Survey of 2000 respondents (1,000 parents and 1,000 children aged between 6-12 years old).            
  2. A new national curriculum was introduced in all local authority schools in England from the start of the autumn term (September 2014).
  3. Barclays Digital Eagles initiative started with 18 people in May 2013. There are now over 10,000 Digital Eagles across the UK to help people of all ages get more out of being online.
  4. The Barclays Digital Driving Licence is available for Barclays customers and non-customers. You can access the Digital Driving Licence via the Barclays Digital Driving Licence App. The App can be downloaded now from Google Play and The App Store.

    The Digital Driving Licence has been launched and endorsed by City & Guilds for anyone to join, following the success of the release internally at Barclays.  To date 22,500 Barclays colleagues have registered for the Digital Driving Licence.

    To achieve the Digital Driving Licence ‘Open Badges’, Barclays customers and non-customers alike can work their way through a whole range of interesting and exciting topics, from internet basics and different software, to advanced analytics and coding.

  5. Barclays Code Playground launches on the 15 January 2015  
About Barclays

Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 135,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website