The number of students who took IT GCSE this year – 47,128 – is 23 per cent down on last year, the biggest fall so far in a trend that has seen numbers decline by 57 per cent over five years.
ICT A-levels were also taken by fewer students than the previous year, a situation that has triggered inevitable hand-wringing in official circles.
The Royal Society is currently conducting a study looking at the reasons underlying the lack of enthusiasm for ICT at school.
"Dwindling interest in computing at schools does not sit well with the evermore central role we are seeing computers play in business, government, home and entertainment," said professor Steve Furber FRS, chair of the Royal Society Computing in Schools study.
"Our knowledge economy is dependent on a workforce equipped with the skills that computing subjects at school lay the groundwork for."
Various commentators have suggested the Royal Society would do well to look at the ICT curriculum and the way ICT is taught in schools.
The curriculum is dominated by use of databases, spreadsheets and word-processing packages. It is largely devoid of more recent IT developments, such as social media and mobile computing, and lacking in modern programming skills, which arguably would equip students for the modern world better than a lesson in data entry fields.
Nor is the trend reflected in wider science subjects, with 200,000 more students opting for physics, chemistry or biology at GCSE.
"We expect to recommend fundamentally reforming parts of our education system when the report is published at the end of this year," added professor Furber.
Education experts have also argued that ICT should be seen as enabling teaching rather than a subject in its own right, a concept that the Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton (pictured) is investing in to the tune of a £1.5m service and change management contract with Northgate Managed Services.
"We realise the potential of how the effective use of ICT can engage and stimulate students and improve and enhance their learning," said the Academy's principal, Philip Cantwell.
Teachers and students will be able to access the Academy's educational resources from any device connected to the internet, at any time, with the implementation of a mix of technologies such as thin client, virtual desktop, wireless and Northgate's cloud-based learning environment, My-School.
Teachers can use interactive white boards (IWBs) and visualisers to develop the way they use ICT in the classrooms, such as recording clips of practical demonstrations for upload into the students' resources on My-School where students can watch whenever they need to, at school or at home.
"We're also very excited at the opportunities to expand teaching and learning outside the classroom with the introduction of the new campus-wide Wi-Fi network," said Cantwell.
"We're looking forward to our fantastic new redeveloped atrium being used for cross-curricular and informal learning opportunities, with students collaborating in small groups with staff, using our new Wi-Fi thin client laptops and mobile IWBs."
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