Bring back ICT as we know it, say teachers

Bring back ICT as we know it, say teachers

Thousands of teachers have signed petitions to try to force education ministers to rethink scrapping GCSE and A-level ICT.

Last week Schools Week revealed that the government would not redevelop information communications technology qualifications.

The decision – buried on the eleventh page of a wider consultation document – is estimated to affect up to 14,000 teachers.

The government has said pupils will be better served by the new computing science qualifications.

But thousands of teachers have signed petitions demanding the government climbs down.

Chris Davies, a computing and business studies teacher in Shropshire who set up one of the petitions, said the government was depriving hundreds of thousands of students the chance to receive a qualification that contained a range of vital skills.

“Teachers on the ground will all tell you the content of computer science is inaccessible and will alienate the majority of pupils.”

His petition, on the www.change.org website, had more than 2,000 signatures as Schools Week went to press on Wednesday evening.

A separate petition on the government’s official parliament website also had more than 2,700 signatures. It says the decision will “drastically narrow” the curriculum for children, particularly girls.

Last year nearly 112,000 pupils entered GCSE ICT, compared with more than 35,000 in computer science.

A total of 42 per cent of the ICT cohort were girls, compared with only 16 per cent in computing science.

Teachers have also written to ministers.

Brian Sharland, a head of ICT and computing at an Oxfordshire school, wrote to education secretary Nicky Morgan about the lack of public consultation and potential job losses.

Unions are also angry about the decision and shadow education secretary Lucy Powell has described it as a “backward step”.

She added: “Knowledge and proficiency in ICT is critical for the needs of the future and the digital economy.”

The Department for Education this week maintained its position that computer science would provide pupils with the skills they would need to progress, adding that high quality technical and vocational qualifications in IT were still available.