EDUCATION WEEK: Encouraging signs as schools minister Gibb praises Livingstone-Hope Review

Skills Review success as edu reform is pledged

Authors of the newly-released NESTA Skills Review are ‘very encouraged’ by good vibrations coming from the Department for Education.

Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope – who co-wrote the major report – this week urged the government incorporate computer science in the national curriculum, among other sweeping changes across the academic infrastructure.

That major request has not been shot down by the Education Department at first sight, Develop can reveal, as ministers line up in support of the Skills Review.

Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister playing a key role in UK education reforms, said the Education Department “currently has a team of experts looking at the national curriculum to see which subjects should be compulsory and how our curriculum can compete with those of countries with the highest performing education systems.”

He told Develop: “The UK’s computer games industry is something to be proud of but we know that employers struggle to find enough students and graduates who have studied the core academic subjects required to get jobs in this field.”

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone told Develop “it is very encouraging that the Schools Minister recognises the skills challenges that employers in the industry face”.

He added: “While our research does reveal the difficulties the industry faces in recruiting talent with core STEM skills, it shows that we need to update our concept of what STEM means in the 21st century.”

The Education Department’s sentiment was complicated, however, by remarks made by John Hayes, the minister for further education and skills.

“In a sense, if I’m doing my job, [Education secretary] Michael Gove doesn’t need to read the NESTA Skills Review”, he said.

When Develop put to him that the first recommendation was for a change of the curriculum – something Gove would need to sign off – Hayes appeared to backtrack on his statement.

“Michael Gove reads more than you and I put together, and if I put this report under his nose – which I will – he will read it.

“My point is, the Skills Review doesn’t need to win Michael Gove’s heart and mind, you’ve won my heart and mind.”

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