A minimalist ICT curriculum?
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Posted by PeterT on 14 Jun 2012
At the Westminster Education Forum on the 12th June 2012 Vanessa Pittard spelt out the DfE’s current position on ICT in the National Curriculum. Here is a summary of the key points:
1. The ICT Programmes of Study (PoS) and Attainment Targets (ATs) are being suspended from September 2012.
2. Schools will continue to be required to teach ICT across all Key Stages.
3. Schools are free to continue to use the PoS and ATs if they wish.
4. ICT will be a foundation subject in the revised National Curriculum from September 2014, at least in KS1 and KS2. [We have not had an announcement yet about the position of ICT in the revised NC for KS3 or KS4]
5. A draft PoS for ICT in KS1 and KS2 will be published later this year for consultation. This will be MUCH thinner than the current PoS (note the emphasis on the word MUCH).
6. The DfE do NOT think it is their role to provide a vision for ICT – they want to see a consensus emerge from the experts in the field (industry, HE, schools) about what the (VERY THIN) PoS for ICT should look like.
7. The possibility still remains for Computer Science to be included in the eBAC if a suitably rigorous specification emerges for GCSEs (note importance of word Science in Computer Science in this context).
I think that the draft PoS is going to be critical in terms of helping schools to think about their ICT provision between now and September 2014 – they need to ensure that they are maintaining and developing their capacity to deliver a high quality ICT curriculum so that they can hit the ground running in 2014.
It was clear that the DfE wanted a consensus to emerge from the expert community (industry, academia and schools) about what the revised ICT PoS should contain. What is unclear is how that is going to happen, given the DfE’s stated desire to let the community sort it out. Will the likes of CAS and Naace be able to agree? How will real teachers’ voices (not just those of the well organized special interest groups) be taken into account? How do you reach a good outcome if decisions are being made by majority vote or based on who is most vocal?