11 June 2012, London – The Next Gen Skills cross-industry, Computer Science coalition, also welcomes the chance to develop a more challenging, rigorous and discipline-related ICT curriculum with an increased focus on computer science.

 

The government has today published the findings of its consultation on a proposal to remove the duty on schools to teach ICT, or use the associated Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements, from September 2012.

 

The Government has decided to proceed with disapplication of ICT and will be developing a fresh approach to teaching technology in schools to be introduced in 2014. In the interim period, schools will still be required to teach ICT to pupils at all key stages but teachers will have the flexibility to decide what is best for their pupils without central Government prescription – this includes the ability to teach a rigorous computer science course.

 

The Next Gen Skills coalition, led by video games trade body Ukie, is made up of organisations that share the goal of improving how children use and create technology in schools – particularly calling for the introduction of computer science on to the national curriculum.

 

Ian Livingstone, co-author and Chair of the Next Gen Skills coalition said: ”We welcome today’s announcement from government as it broadly follows the approach outlined in our response to the ICT consultation. 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.

 

“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.  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.”

 

1. Next Gen Skills is a major new campaign formed from an alliance between the biggest names from the UK digital, creative and hi-tech industries and the UK’s leading skills and educational bodies to improve the computer programming skills needed for the future growth of the UK’s economy.   The campaign is led by games and interactive entertainment trade body Ukie (including major international companies with UK interests such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Activision and SEGA, plus leading UK creative development studios such as Blitz Games Studios, PlayGen and The Creative Assembly). Other supporters include Google, TalkTalk, Facebook, the British Screen Advisory Council, Guardian Media Group, the Design Council, Intellect, IPA, British Computer Society, Abertay University, Skillset, GuildHE, E Skills, the Education Foundation, NESTA and UK Screen (representing some of the world’s leading visual effects businesses, including Oscar winners Double Negative and Framestore).

 

2. The recent Livingstone Hope ‘Next Gen’ review of creative industry skills produced by NESTA highlighted that computer programming and coding, the most important skill required to create the digital devices and software of the future, is not currently on the national curriculum.   In his speech to BETT on 11 January, the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove responded to the call by industry by announcing a consultation – ending 11 April – on withdrawing the existing National Curriculum Programme of Study for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) from September this year to allow the development of innovative, exciting and rigorous new ICT and Computer Science courses in advance of the launch of the new National Curriculum in 2014.