The move will let schools create their own ICT and Computer Science curricula that equip pupils with the skills employers want. The British Computer Society and ICT professional association Naace have stated that the current National Curriculum Programme of Study is 'dull and unsatisfactory'. Some respondents to a 2008 e-Skills study said that GCSE ICT was “so harmful, boring and/or irrelevant it should simply be scrapped”.
Companies such as Microsoft and Google are already working with technology education organisations, such as the British Computer Society, to produce free materials for schools. More are expected to follow. The Education Secretary also said he was keen for high-quality qualifications in Computer Science to be developed, and welcomed IBM’s involvement.
ICT will remain a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, pending the National Curriculum review. Education Secretary Michael Gove said in his speech to the BETT conference in London.
"As the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, recently lamented, we in England have allowed our education system to ignore our great heritage and we are paying the price for it.
Our school system has not prepared children for this new world. Millions have left school over the past decade without even the basics they need for a decent job. And the current curriculum cannot prepare British students to work at the very forefront of technological change.
The best degrees in Computer Science are among the most rigorous and respected qualifications in the world, and prepare students for immensely rewarding careers and world-changing innovations. But you’d never know that from the current ICT curriculum.
By withdrawing the Programme of Study, we’re giving teachers freedom over what and how to teach. Universities, businesses and others will have the opportunity to devise new courses and exams. In particular, we want to see universities and businesses create new high-quality Computer Science GCSEs, and develop curricula encouraging schools to make use of the brilliant Computer Science content available on the web."
ICT will remain a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, pending the National Curriculum review. Gove added: "Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years, once we remove the roadblock of the existing ICT curriculum.
Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch. By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in University courses and be writing their own Apps for smartphones."
A consultation on withdrawing the statutory Programme of Study from September 2012 will begin next week. The status of ICT within the school curriculum from 2014 onwards will continue to be considered by the National Curriculum review alongside that of all other National Curriculum subjects.
Bill Mitchell, Director British Computer Society (BCS) Academy of Computing, said: "It is essential we teach our children how to create digital technology and software for themselves. BCS therefore welcomes this proposal as a significant first step towards that goal.
Good schools will now be free to teach the underpinning principles and concepts of Computer Science through imaginative and rigorous curricula such as the Computing At School curriculum, which is endorsed by both Microsoft and Google."
Bernadette Brooks, the General Manager of Naace, said: "Naace welcomes the extraordinary step the Secretary of State has taken. The only constant in ICT is change, and teachers will see this as their opportunity to bring innovation and creativity to their classrooms."
To support this, Naace is working with partner associations, teachers, pupils, school leaders and commercial organisations to develop new curricula and supporting materials that will be world class. Our Key Stage 3 outline curriculum will be showcased at BETT2012 this week."
Department for Education