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Year of Code leader steps down just four months into role

The government-backed scheme aims to equip teachers with programming skills

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The head of the government-backed Year of Code initiative has quit just four months into the job.

Executive director Lottie Dexter will become special advisor to Matthew Hancock, a parliamentary under-secretary at Vince Cable’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Year of Code programme is designed to educate teachers on basic programming languages ahead of the roll out of a new national computing curriculum this September, which will be compulsory for all students between the ages of 5 and 16. 

Year of Code, lauched by chancellor George Osborne and education minister Michael Gove in February with £0.5 million of taxpayer's money, was created by former No 10 advisor Rohan Silva, who now works for venture capitalist Saul Klein.

Klein, a partner at Mayfair-based Index Ventures, is one of the key advocates for getting young people to learn to code in the UK. His own investments, such as Codecademy and Kano, stand to benefit from this demand.

Dexter, who studied politics at university, came under fire on BBC Newsnight after she admitted to presenter Jeremy Paxman that she did not actually know how to code. 

When asked by Paxman how easy it is to code, Dexter said: "I'm going to put my cards on the table. I can't code. I've committed this year to learn to code."

"A year!" said Paxman. "Well," she explained, "you can do very little in a short space of time." A few minutes later, however, she explained to Paxman that teachers would be able to "pick it up in a day".

She recently deleted her Twitter account.



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