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Python overtakes French as the most popular ‘language’ taught in primary schools

01 Sep 2015

  • A year ago today the Computing curriculum was introduced by the government
  • Now, six out of 10 parents want their primary school age children to learn Python coding language instead of French 
  • However, there’s a perception Computer Science is an ‘easy option’, stopping students from choosing it at GCSE level
  • Ocado Technology is calling on the government to make Computer Science GCSE mandatory like Maths and English to plug the skills gap
    The programming language Python has overtaken French as the most popular language taught in primary schools, according to a new survey released today.
    Coding popular with primary pupils and parents
    Six out of 10 parents want their primary school age children to learn the coding language over French. While 75% of primary school children said they would rather learn how to programme a robot than learn the modern foreign language.

    The survey, which sampled 3,000 people (1,000 5 - 11 year-olds; 1,000 11 - 16 year olds and 1,000 parents), was commissioned by Ocado Technology to assess progress made since the new Computing curriculum was introduced exactly a year ago today.

    Computer Science GCSE seen as ‘easy option’
    While the results seem encouraging, further investigation reveals a worrying trend amongst older children. By the time they get to secondary school, pupils’ enthusiasm has been dampened. For example, over half (53%) believe the Computer Science GCSE is seen as an ‘easy option’ in their schools.

    “Unfortunately this is an example of a wider and more serious problem that we face in terms of Computer Science in the UK not being treated as the serious engineering discipline that it undoubtedly is,” said Paul Clarke, Director of Technology at Ocado. “The irony is that this is at a time when we are facing a massive shortfall in the number of software engineers and IT specialists who will be required to help build out the UK’s digital economy.”

    In response, Ocado Technology is calling on the government to make Computer Science GCSE mandatory like Maths and English. Plus increase training for teachers to deliver the curriculum.

    It has also created Rapid Router, a free coding teaching resource which is being used by over 30,000 schools, pupils and teachers. The key stage 1 and 2 resource, which helps pupils learn work-related coding skills, includes a fun coding game with a "create" mode for pupils to build their own challenges. Upper key stage 2 pupils can also use Rapid Router to learn Python programming language.

    It is also releasing a series of videos by Computing specialists where they provide fellow teachers with tips on delivering the Computing curriculum. The first one can be viewed here

Notes to editors

About the research

  • Research based on three online surveys conducted on behalf of Ocado Technology by OnePoll in August 2015:
  • 1,000 5-11 year old primary school pupils from England
  • 1,000 parents of school children from England
  • 1,000 secondary school pupils from England

    Case studies available for interview: two primary school pupils who have learnt Python programming language


Contact information

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Helene Bartos, 10x, / 07432 023135


For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:

About Ocado Technology

Ocado is the world’s largest online only grocery retailer. We do it like nobody else.

Our customers place their orders online, then we pick and pack them in huge automated warehouses (called CFCs). They are then delivered to customers' homes in one hour delivery slots. Our business is all about making this process as simple and convenient as possible. However, that simplicity requires an enormous amount of complexity under the surface.

We employ the latest technologies such as real-time control systems, robotics, machine learning, simulation, data science, forecasting systems, routing systems, inference engines and big data. This breadth and depth demonstrates what we do is technology, not IT.

This Aladdin’s cave of technology, almost all of which we build in-house, enables us to be a disruptor.
This disruptive mindset comes from the unique makeup of our business. We are the fusion of two halves - retail and technology. Our retail business helps drive innovation and meet customer requirements. While our technology business creates ground-breaking innovations for our retail businesses. This allows us to do what neither a pure retailer nor a pure technology company can do: create a virtuous circle of innovation that works.

The reason it works is because what many companies would consider R&D, we see as 'business as usual'. R&D for us means working on game-changing projects, while our 10X development streams go even further to disrupt ourselves before anyone disrupts us.

The future for Ocado is enabling retailers around the world to benefit from our unique business model. Therefore, we are in the process of re-platforming everything we do to create the Ocado Smart Platform. This is a unique blend of scalable, modular hardware for building CFCs matched with our latest cloud software platform.  

Ocado Technology’s success is down to the passion, commitment and brilliance of its people. That’s why Ocado is committed to supporting the delivery of the new computer science curriculum which will help develop the next generation of technology experts and entrepreneurs. Ocado is providing primary school teachers across the UK with coding packs, interactive apps and video content that will equip pupils the work-ready coding skills they need to excel in life.
For more information visit:
Ocado Technology: Fast facts


  • Approximately 49 million orders since Ocado started trading
  • In 2014, Ocado delivered 167,000 orders per week
  • Over 45 percent of orders are now checked out over a mobile device
  • is logged into an average of 2.3 million times a month
  • Over 600 Ocado staff are employed in technology roles, representing over 50 percent of the head office workforce

About Ocado

Online supermarket was established in 2000 and is one of Britain’s leading online retailers. Delivering to over 70% of the UK population, every shopping bag is carefully packed in one of three distribution centres using in-house designed software and technology. Shopping is then delivered direct to customers using a network of regional spokes in brightly-coloured vans.

With award-winning mobile apps for every platform, Ocado on the Go, Ocado delivers over 40,000 products, including big-name brands, a range of over 650 Ocado Own Label products and a growing non-food selection. Thoughtful service features such as colour-coded bags, receipts provided in date order, reminder texts with your driver’s name, along with with convenient hourly delivery slots compliment award winning customer service on email, phone and social media.

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