Top Computer Scientist Chosen To Lead National Centre For Computing Education

Leading computer scientist Simon Peyton Jones appointed chair of new National Centre for Computing Education

Top computer scientist chosen to lead National Centre for Computing Education

Top computer scientist chosen to lead National Centre for Computing Education

One of Britain’s leading computer scientists has been appointed as chair of the new National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), it can be announced today.

Simon Peyton Jones of Microsoft Research has achieved worldwide recognition for his work on programming language among other things and will now lead the work of the centre as it improves the teaching of computing and drives up participation in computer science.

Professor Peyton Jones said:

The National Centre offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to firmly establish computer science as a foundational subject discipline that will enable all our young people to be active participants in the complex digital world that surrounds them.

I am delighted to have a role in translating the big vision of the new computing curriculum into a vibrant reality in every classroom in the country.

As the chair of the National Centre for Computing Education, Professor Peyton Jones will uphold the integrity of computing as an academic discipline across all the resources, guidance and professional development for teachers that the centre provides.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

This appointment reflects the Government’s determination to make sure pupils are computer literate and versed in the fundamentals of computer science and computer programming.

Professor Peyton Jones brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role. This will be vital in making sure the centre, which is backed by a consortium made up of some of the country’s most accomplished tech organisations, is able to train teachers in the latest digital skills.

The National Centre is working with schools across England to improve teaching of computing and to drive up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-Level.

A consortium made up of STEM Learning, British Computer Society (BCS) and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are delivering the work of the NCCE, backed by up to £84 million of government funding.

The National Centre will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led Computing Hubs to provide training and resources to primary and secondary schools, and an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-Level qualification in computer science. The centre will also develop an A level programme to better prepare A level students for further study and employment in digital roles.

The National Centre will work with the University of Cambridge, with a further £1 million investment from Google.

Aruba National Day

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States, I offer my best wishes to the people of Aruba as you commemorate your National Day on March 18.

The United States values the strong ties and exchanges between our nations. We look forward to expanding travel between our two countries and continuing our collaboration in renewable energy and entrepreneurship. We value the close cooperation with Aruban law enforcement agencies in combatting transnational criminal organizations and countering regional instability. These efforts help keep both Aruba and the United States safe.

The United States values our longstanding friendship and wishes you a happy National Day celebration.

Members Of The Public “Routinely Put In Danger” By Bristol Park And Ride Business

Region’s Traffic Commissioner says operation needed to be stopped before someone is killed

Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain

Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain

A Bristol-based park and ride firm, which serves the city’s airport, has lost its licence to transport passengers.

Winford Parking and Rental Ltd routinely put members of the public in danger by running vehicles with invalid insurance, without the correct MOT and using drivers who didn’t have the right licences.

The company yesterday (17 March) lost its licence to transport passengers after the region’s Traffic Commissioner, Kevin Rooney, said the public had a right to be protected from this type of operator.

“The failures are severe. Members of the public have routinely been put in danger and this is aggravated by the issue of insurance being invalidated because drivers were not licensed to drive.

“This is an operation that needs to be stopped before someone is killed.”

In a written judgement following a public inquiry last month, the West of England regulator also disqualified the company’s two directors, Dean Baldock and Ryan Baldock, from holding or obtaining a licence in the future – for five years and three years respectively.

He said Dean Baldock knew the operation was grossly non-compliant.

“[He] has blatantly ignored all attempts by the enforcement agency and the police to bring it in line,” the Commissioner added.

“[His] demeanour at the inquiry coupled with the extensive non-compliance mean that I am beyond doubt that I cannot trust him to continue to comply once the spotlight of the public inquiry has faded.” The company was brought to the regulator’s attention following an investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This identified numerous safety concerns, including vehicles not being given routine safety inspections and without checks to ensure key emergency equipment was in place and properly marked.

Mr Rooney said customers of the firm’s airport parking service had every right to expect that the vehicle used to transfer them to the airport and back – along with the driver – would be safe, legal and properly insured.

The Traffic Commissioner’s full written judgement is available here.

HMS Montrose Joined Trilateral Exercises With Japan And US

US, UK, Japan maritime forces practiced Submarine Hunting on 14 and 15 March

HMS Montrose

HMS Montrose

Following the joint declaration on security cooperation by Prime Minister May and Prime Minister Abe in August 2017, the Royal Navy deployed HMS Sutherland, HMS Albion and HMS Argyll last year to uphold the rules based international system in support of international and regional security and to maintain and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

This year, the UK deployed HMS MONTROSE to East Asia to support UN Security Council agreed sanctions in the region that will seek to monitor and deter sanctions evasion at sea and to conduct multilateral training and exercises, reinforcing Prime Minister May and Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to a closer defence and security relationship announced during the PM Abe’s visit to London in January 2019.

During the HMS MONTROSE’s deployment to Japan, the UK conducted their second trilateral exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific since December 2018 for improving interoperability, maintaining readiness, and learning best practices from one another. These exercises also reflected a shared commitment to enhancing maritime cooperation since a 2016 trilateral summit attended by all three service chiefs at the Pentagon.

Cmdr. Conor O’Neill, HMS Montrose commanding officer stated,

The Royal Navy has a long history of cooperation with both Japan and the United States, and we will all benefit a great deal from training together.

Capt. Brian Erickson, commander, Task Force Seven Two (CTF 72) stated,

The Royal Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and United States Navy all support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Cmdr. Shusaku Okada, Commanding Officer, JS Murasame stated

I also hope that further cooperation be strengthened with the Royal Navy, the United States Navy, and the mutual understanding be deepened.

HMS Montrose to visit Japan

UK-Japan Joint Statement issued after the joint press conference by Prime Minister May and Prime Minister Abe in London held in January 2019

2018 UK Visa Statistics Show 11% Growth In China

China was responsible for a massive quarter of UK visas issued globally last year, according to the latest quarterly report on Immigration Statistics published by the Home Office

2018 UK visa statistics show 11% growth in China

2018 UK visa statistics show 11% growth in China

More than 730,000 visas were issued to Chinese nationals in 2018 – 25% of the total 2.9million entry clearance visas granted – representing a 11% increase on the previous year.

Both Chinese visitor and students numbers saw strong growth. The number of visit visas issued to Chinese nationals last year increased by 11% to around 588,000, while almost 100,000 Tier 4 study visas were granted, up 13% on the previous year and now around 40% of the global total.

2018 also saw a 26% rise in the number of short-term study visas, to more than 31,000, and a 16% rise in the number of work visas issued, to more than 6,000.

The UK Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward, said:

The significant rise in visa applications demonstrates the growing strength of the UK and China relationship.

More and more Chinese people are choosing to visit the UK and we have seen a 400% increase in applications in the last decade.

This is due to steps we have taken to improve the visa application process including the launch of the two year multi-entry visit visa.

The UK is one of the top destinations in the world for Chinese tourists and students because of our historic landmarks and our internationally respected universities.

Around 1.6 million visit visas have been issued to Chinese nationals since the pilot launched in January 2016.

The 2018 statistics were released as the UK prepares to make major changes to its online customer journey to ensure a more convenient and flexible service for applicants. From later this month, customers in China applying online will be able to seamlessly transition between the visa application form and the next stage of the application journey, offered by UKVI’s commercial partner VFS Global.

This will allow them to book their visa application centre appointment, scan and upload their supporting documents from the comfort of their own home, and purchase any additional services to enhance their experience, in one continuous journey. Alternatively, customers can have their documents scanned at the visa application centre when they attend their appointment, for a small fee.

These changes follow the global rollout of Access UK, UKVI’s new streamlined online application service which replaces Visa4UK. The UK will also shortly be rolling out technology that will allow customers to self-scan their biometrics when attending their visa application centre appointment, providing a quicker, smoother experience.

The UK also announced last week two new visa routes to attract leading business talent to the UK. The Start-up visa route will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, while the Innovator visa route will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest in their business.

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