UK Primary & Secondary Teachers’ Responses to the New Computing Curriculum

INTRODUCTION:

Dalian Adofo BA (Hons), PGCE, MA

In 2014 the UK Government introduced a raft of changes to the National Curriculum, amongst these was the rebranding and replacement of ‘Information and Communications Technology (ICT)’ with ‘Computing’ under section 84 and 85 of the Education Act 2002.
Devised in association with industry experts from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society, with its subject content based on the findings in the Royal Society’s report on Computing in schools called ‘Shut Down or Restart’1.

Government’s public consultation to inform the change was completed on 16 April 2013, it raised a number of responses that formed the basis for this survey 3 years after implementation. The main drivers for change as listed by Government was that ICT was not considered a ‘rigorous subject, had a bad reputation and ill prepared students for the digital future they would live in’.
In response the public listed important considerations that had seemingly been ignored or overlooked in the Government’s proposals, pertaining to the readiness of the UK Education system for the changes suggested.

The concerns by respondents to the consultations covered various aspects of the Educational experience including:
– A lack of adequately skilled teachers with a relevant degree to teach the subject effectively, as most ICT teachers largely had a different subject background, usually Business studies.
– Primary teachers especially would find its teaching daunting due to the nature of their teacher training and specialisms.
– If learners had the required cognitive and practical ability to engage with Computational concepts, especially at primary level.
– The name change was myopic in focus and exclusive in content with too much emphasis on programming over digital literacy skills and other areas of Information Technology.

The aims of the survey and this report was to primarily identify how these concerns were being addressed by teachers across all the Key Stages – from primary to secondary.

 

Rosette

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