Gove U-turn and new DfE report put moves to raise status of ICT education in doubt

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

A new Department for Education (DfE) report entitled The National Curriculum in England Framework offers more details of the coalition's plans to improve the teaching of computing, but provides no formal backing for Education Secretary Michael Gove's plan to include computer science in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

The report devotes 11 pages to chemistry, biology and physics, while computing is covered in just four bullet points on a single page. The framework calls for the teaching of "the fundamental principles of computer science, including logic, algorithms, data representation and communication".

Further reading

The report's authors also want children to "analyse problems in computational terms", write computer programs, "evaluate and apply IT - including 'unfamiliar technologies' - to problem solving", and to generally use computers in "responsible, competent, confident and creative" ways.

The report's release comes hot on the heels of Gove's sudden U-turn over his plan to scrap GCSEs in favour of the EBacc scheme. Calling the plan "a bridge too far", which was unlikely to work, Gove added that GCSEs will receive an overhaul by 2015 - the year the EBacc was due to be introduced.

"There were significant risks in trying to both strengthen qualification and to end competition in large parts of the exams market. Instead, we will concentrate on reforming existing GCSEs broadly along the lines that we put forward in September," Gove told MPs.

Where the Framework and today's U-turn leaves ICT in education is yet to be discovered, but the report can only point to a softer focus on bringing ICT to the fore for 2013's curriculum at least.

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