Digital skills gap opens up in English schools

There is new evidence that the revolution in computing education in English schools is faltering – and that fewer children are getting the digital skills that employers and the government say are vital. The BBC reports. 

It comes in the annual computing education report from the University of Roehampton which looks at how many pupils achieved GCSE and A-level computing qualifications in 2017.

ICT (Information and Communication Technology) – which was widely derided as being no more than a course in Microsoft Office skills – is being phased out of the curriculum and disappears after this summer as an exam subject.

But its replacement at GCSE and A-level is the far more challenging computer science.

The report says this subject is proving very hard – both for the students and for the schools which need to find the staff to teach it.

The typical computer science entrant, says the report, is “academically strong, mathematically able, likely to be taking triple science, from a relatively affluent family, and overwhelmingly likely to be male (even if the smaller number of girls taking the subject do better in the exam)”.

And while entries for the new subject have been gradually rising they are not keeping up with the fall in those for ICT.

After that exam disappears this summer, it looks as though there will be a big fall in the overall number of 16-year-olds achieving some form of computing qualification.

Read more Digital skills gap opens up in English schools

Is your school encouraging more pupils to take computer science? please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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