Lessons in ICT are "dull and demotivating" and will be replaced by new qualifications in computer science, education secretary Michael Gove announced today
Lessons in ICT are "dull and demotivating" and will be replaced by new qualifications in computer science, education secretary Michael Gove announced today. Mr Gove wants businesses and university academics to devise new courses to stop children being "bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers".
Computer industry figures have welcomed the changes, which will take effect from this September following a consultation. Existing ICT programmes of study and attainment targets at all four key stages will no longer be used.
In December, Ofsted inspectors said more able students were not sufficiently challenged in ICT lessons and that achievement was inadequate in almost a fifth of the secondary schools they visited.
Mr Gove said that the ICT curriculum in its current form "is viewed as dull and demotivating for pupils" and that he wanted more "innovative" lessons.
"Many employers in the IT industry are concerned that the way in which ICT is taught in schools is failing to inspire young people about the creative potential of ICT and the range of IT-related careers open to them," Mr Gove added.
ICT will remain a compulsory subject within the national curriculum, subject to the outcomes of the national curriculum review. Mr Gove also said he would consider making it part of the controversial English Baccalaureate.
Bernadette Brooks, general manager of Naace, the ICT subject association, said Mr Gove had taken an "extraordinary step" that would bring innovation and creativity to classrooms.
TES ICT and digitial learning subject lead Jan Webb also welcomes the announcement, "it's an opportunity for developing more creative and engaging approaches to the ICT curriculum across all key stages, provided it happens through professional collaboration".
Richard Allan, director of policy at Facebook in Europe, said the company welcomed plans to make ICT "more interesting and relevant for young people". "We need to improve our young people's skills in this area for the UK to be truly competitive in the digital age," he added.
But Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said the announcement was a "slap in the face" for teachers and there was "no evidence" for Mr Gove's claims about the subject being "uninspiring and poor quality".
Voice from the forums
Here's what teachers are saying about the latest developments in the curriculum on the ICT forum:
"My main worry is that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. ICT, for all its sins, does contain a body of skills that a majority of students will find useful" Captain Obvious
"I welcome this announcement. I am keen to teach more programming skills and lessoffice skills." ajibb
"I can't wait to teach Java to my set five" bingocheater
"Computing will not work, until people realise that we need at least two lessons a week at KS3" niasghar
The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.
Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.