Niel McLean FBCS FRSA Head of Education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has been awarded an OBE for services to education.

An ex-teacher and local authority technology advisor, Niel now chairs the Learning Foundation which supports children and schools to get the best out of technology. He is also chair of Trustees at the Digital Poverty Alliance which aims to eliminate digital poverty in the UK by 2030.

He leads on BCS’s strategy for the computing curriculum. He managed the university-based Network of Excellence in Computer Science, a government funded program training teachers for the new computing curriculum, developed BCS’s submission to the Treasury leading to the £100 million investment in CPD for computing teachers through the National Centre for Computing Education, and led BCS’s development of certification for teachers.

Niel McLean said: “It is a real surprise and an absolute honour to receive this award. I’ve been privileged to work with some very dedicated colleagues who I’d like to thank as without them I would not have achieved this recognition. Working in education is extremely rewarding and something I have always been passionate about and I look forward to continuing to make a difference in this area.”

For you

Be part of something bigger, join BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Julia Adamson MBE - BCS’ MD for Education and Public Benefit said: “Niel has made a hugely important contribution to education over many years. His dedication, commitment, and generosity is inspiring and I am delighted to celebrate this well-deserved recognition for his outstanding service to education.”

Elizabeth Anderson, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, also known as the Learning Foundation, said: “Niel has been with our charity since its formation in 2001, and we are hugely pleased that his dedication to supporting children to access technology has been recognised in this way. On behalf of our team and partners, I’m delighted to be able to congratulate him on his exceptional contributions to education and his strong commitment to eliminating digital poverty.”

About Niel

As a senior manager at the government curriculum and qualifications agency he developed the first National Curriculum and qualifications for IT and Computing in the early 1990s. As executive director at the government’s IT and Education agency, Niel created support services for schools and teachers, provided research-based evidence to the treasury to influence over a billion pounds of spend on IT in schools, and developed and delivered a £300 million scheme providing technology to 250 000 low income families.

He is a fellow of the BCS and the RSA and was presented with a lifetime achievement award by NAACE, the national educational technology association. Alongside his work in the UK he worked with the British Council supporting countries in the Western Balkans to develop their digital skills and is working with a development charity to develop and deliver Albania’s new IT curriculum.