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New Order achieves distinction

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. Teachers and Government advisers have been keen to see information technology separated from design and technology. The new Orders make the distinction, and therefore raise the status of IT.

Guidance will be sent to teachers in February 1995. IT and design and technology are the only two subjects in the national curriculum which will include guidance.

The Order has been revised to take into account the increasing sophistication of software. In the current IT Order, for example, the requirement to put text and graphics together is at level 7, but the software and hardware has advanced so dramatically that a five-year-old can now do it.

The consultation showed that teachers' views on IT were mixed. Some felt relieved that there had been little reduction in content; others argued that, as there had been many developments in IT since the draft Order, there ought to be more.

Key changes from draft proposals: * over-arching statement setting out main features of IT.

* discrete sections on progression scrapped, with some content written into other programmes of study.

* clearer headings and language.

* the KS1 requirement to look for parallels between pupils' own use of IT and its use in the wider world is scrapped because of five to seven-year-olds' lack of experience.

* at KS2 the requirement to investigate control technology in everyday life scrapped.

* at KS3 use of IT to measure introduced.

Key changes from existing Order: * IT to be published in its own document.

* level descriptions replace statements of attainment.

* match between programmes of study and attainment targets improved.

* references to specific software and hardware scrapped to allow for future developments.

* at KS1, requirements on databases and control movement scrapped.

* at KS2, requirements to control movement of screen robot or image, detect and vary rules in computer model and create database scrapped.

* at KS3, requirements to create a database scrapped.

* at KS4, new programme of study requires pupils to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding by working in a wider range of contexts, rather than requiring new material to be taught.

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