Google Raspberry Pi gift and IT EBacc ‘diversion’ from real education crisis, says SETUK

By Peter Gothard
05 Feb 2013 View Comments
michael-gove-education-secretary

Chairman of NAACE (National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education), Miles Berry, echoed Harrison's fears: "The problem for many is by making league tables about EBacc results, it's sending out a message that an academic education is the only one we're interested in measuring or value, and I don ‘t think it should be like that.

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"Yes, computer science is an academic discipline, but there are whole swathes of IT that are about craft skills and creativity - there are bits of the subject that look an awful lot like the arts. And the EBacc doesn't reward points for that."

Harrison believes that the current crop of teachers are "not capable of bridging the gap" to nurture "digital citizens", rather than simply achieving academic results.

He is also concerned about financial and practical assistance to achieve these new goals from a government that only 12 months ago said the IT education sector was broken.

"The key question I'd put back to the ministers is: how are you going to help support the schools that you've now challenged who, incidentally, 12 months ago you told were rubbish?" asked Harrison.

"You dissed them, now you're saying ‘We want you to deliver this. Oh, and by the way, there's no money to help you do it'."

Harrison said there is "a red light flagging" that puts the DfE and its advisory board, on which he sits, "in danger of achieving the exact opposite of what we set out to do, because we can't rely on the good will of teachers in the Computing for Schools network, who receive very little funding and have very little time.

"How are we going to bridge the gap between the children needing to be taught, and what the system is capable of delivering?" asked Harrison.

Berry believes teachers should be encouraged to "make stuff".

"Get them making things, making the resources they can use to teach this, together with other teachers. Let's get teachers coding. I'd love to see them make something useful for the children in their class."

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