Published on June 11th, 2012 22:05
The UK government has today officially announced its intentions to replace Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with a "fresh approach to teaching technology in schools" from September 2014.
The announcement follows the completion of the government's consultation on the UKIE-led Next Gen Skills Computer Science coalition's proposal to reform ICT, based on recommendations from the Next Gen report.
"Overall, there was a broad consensus amongst respondents that the existing Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets for ICT were not fit for purpose," reads the Department for Education's consultation document. "Over half of respondents were in favour of disapplying the Programmes of Study and around half were in favour of disapplying the Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements."
In the interim, schools will still be required to teach ICT, but from September 2012, teachers will be able to introduce greater computer science content and tailor courses to suit their pupils' needs.
"We welcome today’s announcement from government as it broadly follows the approach outlined in our response to the ICT consultation," says Next Gen report co-author and Next Gen Skills coalition chair Ian Livingstone. "We welcome the disapplication of ICT in its current form and the opportunity that this gives schools to teach children rigorous computer science.
“Creating an education system where Computer Science is taught is fundamental for our economy and future competitiveness. We believe that the Government should set out a vision for Computer Science so that every child learns the concepts and principles of Information Technology and Computer Science from primary school age onwards, and later to specialise in Computer Science if they wish.
Michael Gove announced the government's plans to wind down ICTin January this year.
“Since January all the major awarding bodies have now announced their intention to offer a GCSE in Computer Science, thereby removing a massive roadblock to the introduction of Computer Science in schools," Livingstone continues.
"Ultimately Computer Science should be an option on the English Baccalaureate, to ensure that it is seen by teachers and parents as a high status ‘fourth science.’ Next Gen Skills is currently working with professional bodies to ensure that new qualifications are sufficiently challenging and engaging enough for pupils, schools and industry.”