Monday, 19 June 2017

Computing in schools - alarm bells over England's classes

Computing education in England's schools is going through a revolution, but there is evidence that too few pupils want to be part of it.

Figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) show only a modest rise in students taking the new computer science GCSE.

The British Computing Society warns the number studying for a computing qualification could halve by 2020. The organisation - which is the professional body for the IT industry - says that would be a disaster for the economy.

The old ICT course, which was the main way school students learned about computing, is being scrapped, with the last GCSE entrants taking the exam next year. The subject, which was described by critics as teaching little more than how to use Microsoft Office, is being replaced by the more rigorous computer science GCSE.

But figures from Ofqual showing entries for the exam rising to 67,800 this year from 61,220 in 2016 have set alarm bells ringing. With 58,600 still taking the ICT exam, the overall number getting a GCSE computing qualification has fallen slightly.

The British Computing Society says that when ICT disappears, the computer science exam will fail to fill the gap.