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Staff

Comp Sci teacher heads to Informatics Olympiad

ACG Sunderland Computer Science teacher Margot Phillipps believes that coding is becoming more important as a subject in schools. At ACG Sunderland it is a growing subject, with increasing numbers at IGCSE, and AS-level Computer Science being offered for the first time this year.

ACG Sunderland Computer Science teacher Margot Phillipps will head to the International Olympiad in Informatics in Tsukuba, Japan, next week, in her role as Executive Director of the New Zealand Olympiad in Informatics.

Ms Phillipps will be accompanying students from Auckland and Hamilton to the Olympiad, including the first female to represent New Zealand in the competition. Typically, fewer than 10 students out of more than 320, representing 80 countries, are female.

Ms Phillipps has a personal interest in programming for girls, having co-founded Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G) in 2009 – an initiative to allow girls to experience the fun of programming, and to engage them in the subject before they make their senior high school subject choices.

She says coding – the way computers and robots are told what to do – is becoming more important as a subject in schools. At ACG Sunderland it is a growing subject, with increasing numbers at IGCSE, and AS-level Computer Science being offered for the first time this year.

While it is due to be introduced to the NZ curriculum in 2020, ACG School introduced the subject a number of years ago.

Ms Phillipps says it is a misconception all young people are technological whizz-kids.

“In my experience when you start teaching them you realise they don’t understand how it works. Some kids love it, they absolutely eat it up while others find it challenging. But in the future, if you don’t know what goes on in the back of a computer you will not be a well-educated person.”