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UK Gov: Computer teaching in schools "needs reform"

Michael French
UK Gov: Computer teaching in schools

The Government has admitted that teaching children about computers is seriously "in need of reform".

In an official response to the Livingstone-Hope Next Gen report published nine months ago, a lengthy statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport concedes that interactive computer teaching in the UK is "insufficiently rigorous".

Earlier this year games industry veteran Ian Livingstone and VFX guru Alex Hope teamed up to spearhead the Next Gen report, commissioned by DCMS chief Ed Vaizey MP.

The report concluded that the UK education system had failed children in terms of teaching them how to use computers.
Livingstone-Hope jointly lobbied that the next generation of skilled workers isn't being trained up locally in the UK to then go on and secure jobs in technical industries.

Today's response from the DCMS, shows the serious progress the report has made - and even acknowledges its criticisms of UK education are sound.

"ICT is currently part of the National Curriculum at all four key stages (ages 5 – 16) and allows for the teaching of some of the skills associated with computer science," the DCMS note recaps of the current system.

But it adds: "However, the Government recognises that learning the skills to use ICT effectively and acquiring the knowledge of the underpinning computer science are two different (albeit complementary) subjects.

"Furthermore, the Government recognises that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous and in need of reform."

In fact, the DCMS response says that, in light of changes to the National Curriculum, even if computer sciences don't make it into official learning plans, other ways to teach these skills to children are necessary. The Government, it says, should work with industries to make that happen.

"The Government recognises that, in the event of ICT not remaining part of the National Curriculum, attention would still need to be given to ensure children could acquire computer science skills. The Government would work with the sector to find the best way to achieve this."

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Tags: ian livingstone , next gen education , next gen report

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1 comment

This is possibly the most concrete thing in the UK Gov response to Livingstone-Hope and the NextGenSkills movement, but it's hard to see how/why it took 9 months, given how insubstantial the response actually is. and DfE's involvement was "phoned in", being about as minimal as it could be. To say that over a decade of ICT teaching has not been 'fit for purpose' is a shock, especially as no proposals for how to repair this failure is included.

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy INDUSTRY
Nov 28th 2011 at 2:54PM

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