Programming enters curriculum as core subject and becomes the fourth science

Computer science introduced to English Baccalaureate

The government has included computer science into the English Baccalaureate system, has revealed.

Computer science is set to be introduced into the curriculum as a replacement to ICT to help fix the “digital skills gap” afflicting the UK.

A Next Gen Skills report yesterday suggested that just 3,420 A-level students had taken up computing during 2011/12, with just 376 students enrolled in similar courses in London.

This is despite a number of boroughs in London being identified by the Greater London Authority as having the highest concentration of tech in Europe. It is also down from a high of 12,529 in 1998.

Being included as a science in the English Baccalaureate can be regarded as a sign of how seriously the government is taking computer science in the education system.

“Getting Computer Science accepted as a subject on the English Baccalaureate could be transformational,” said Next Gen Skills co-chair Ian Livingstone.

“It is a huge victory for the Next Gen Skills campaign and our partners. Computer Science is now officially the 4th science, on a par with the other sciences, and a core subject for children to learn. This will help ensure that this country produces a new generation of digital makers, not just for the games industry, but for all creative and digital industries. The legacy of Alan Turing lives on!”

Ukie CEO Jo Twist added: “This is fantastic news for the games industry. Our Vice Chairman Ian Livingstone has worked tirelessly on this and without him spearheading the cross industry Next Gen Skills Campaign, which Ukie members funded, it would never have happened.”

The English Baccalaureate is made up of a group of core academic subjects including English, mathematics, history or geography, sciences and language.

The system was introduced in 2010 to judge school performance and recognise success in academic studies, as opposed to non-academic subjects.

The Department of Education website states that the number of non-academic qualifications taken up to age 16 had risen from around 15,000 in 2004 to 575,000 in 2010.

It suggests that many of these qualifications “do not carry real weight for entry to higher education or for getting a job”.

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