Industry organisations have welcomed Education Secretary Michael Gove's announcement today of fundamental overhaul in the way ICT is taught in schools.
Both BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and supplier body Intellect gave his shakeup warm welcome.
Bill Mitchell, Director BCS Academy of Computing says: "BCS is extremely pleased that Michael Gove has publically endorsed the importance of teaching computer science in schools. His new proposals, particularly the suggestion that if a new rigorous GCSE in computer science is developed it might be included in the EBaac, are also a significant first step towards enabling schools to teach computer science.
"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 (CAS) curriculum, which is endorsed by both Microsoft and Google."
Phil Smith CEO Cisco UK and Ireland agreed. "Young people today have a relationship with technology and an affinity for computers and IT which is unique and vastly different to any other generation. It is essential to the future of the British economy that we address the shortcomings in ICT education and help school children and students to maximise their potential – failure to do this will result in a detrimental skills shortage for IT in the very near future.
The ICT suppliers' organisation Intellect said the changes were in line with its representations to the Department for Education last year, during a review of the national curriculum.
John Hoggard, Intellect's Head of Government & Education said: "Our member companies are committed to helping schools teach this new generation of lessons. The announcement today is a vital first step to ensure continued growth and competitiveness of the UK. We will continue to push for schools to build students' skills through embedding tech into teaching of all other subjects."
The process will not be easy. The BCS warned: "There are major challenges ahead not least because there is a shortage of both intellectually challenging GCSE qualifications and teachers with expert computer science knowledge. However, together with Computing at School and collaborating with groups like Next Gen, our experience and resources mean that we are ideally placed to provide teachers with what they need to teach both digital skills and computer science."