Computer Science curriculum to be taught in schools


Today I got the news I thought I'd have to wait a lot longer for. The Education Secretary is announcing that ICT in schools is to be replaced by a computer science and programming curriculum.

Back in September, I gave a talk at Update titled The Digital Native, about what students are taught about IT at school. (Coincidently, Ian Livingstone gave a BBC interview today on the same subject)

It's a topic that has been close to my heart because I studied this curriculum. It's as bad as everyone says it is and it's turning people off the industry. I've been campaigning to retain the teaching of some form of computing in schools since learning of its demise two years ago.

In May last year, I won a competition to attend Google Zeitgeist conference after submitting a video to them about the state of IT in schools, and I was encouraged to talk to the people there about this. Eric Schmidt was there, and while I doubt he ever heard my message or saw that video, I was delighted when he brought the topic up at a conference in August.

"I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn't even taught as standard in UK schools… Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it's made."

Eric Schmidt

David Cameron responded, saying Eric was right and that the country wasn't doing enough.

Now positive change is actually happening, and computing is finally being recognised as a vital subject. While a lot hangs on the implementation (there's an engaging curriculum to write and a lot of teachers to train), I think it's the best news we could have hoped for.

What next?

There's a consultation phase starting next week on the new curriculum, and I'm going to get in touch with Naace again to see if they're contributing to this and find out if there's anything our community can do. I'll keep you posted.