The New Curriculum

Background

In his BETT speech in January, 2012, Michael Gove described his intention to establish Computer Science as a new foundational element of the school curriculum:

"We are encouraging rigorous Computer Science courses. Although individual technologies change day by day, they are underpinned by foundational concepts and principles that have endured for decades. Long after today's pupils leave school and enter the workplace long after the technologies they used at school are obsolete the principles learnt in Computer Science will still hold true."

Since then Mr Gove has substantiated this intent:

These changes affect primary schools as well as secondary schools. Much more background, including a description of what Computer Science is, and its role as a foundational subject, can be found in the Royal Society report "Shut down or restart: the way forward for computing in schools", and in the strategic information pack that we sent to (secondary) heads last year.

Challenges

Change brings both challenges and opportunities.

Opportunities for schools and teachers

The Computing at School Working Group (CAS) is a grass-roots organisation of over seven thousand members, including school teachers, governors, computing professionals, university academics, examiners and parents. CAS’s main mission is to establish Computer Science as a respected school subject discipline. The CAS curriculum was highlighted in the current DfE consultation as one of the helpful resources available to schools, and was also referred to by Michael Gove in his speech at BETT.

Computing At School, in partnership with BCS and with financial support from the DfE, have launched a national Network of Excellence for Teaching Computer Science. The Network offers a wide range of CPD opportunities to support existing ICT teachers meet the challenges of the new curriculum. Here are some concrete things schoosl and teachers can do to become involved:

In summary

The new Computing curriculum puts the subject on an entirely new footing, as the "fourth science". It offers new opportunities for professional development for staff, better education for students, and a much richer range of qualifications and employment opportunities. This is the moment to seize the opportunity!


Computing at School is supported and endorsed by: