The government expects that the new ICT curriculum due to be implemented from September 2014 will be shorter and therefore more flexible and innovative.
Yesterday, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that ICT would be disapplied from the national curriculum from September, following a public consultation. It will be replaced with a more ‘rigorous’ ICT curriculum from September 2014.
Dr Vanessa Pittard, who was head of the now defunct Technology Policy Unit and is now, according to her LinkedIn profile, responsible for education standards policy at the DfE, told the Westminster Education Forum in London today:
“There will be a programme of study (PoS) from September 2014. It will be much shorter to allow for innovation.
“[It will focus on] the absolutely essential core knowledge.”
Pittard added that a draft PoS for ICT will be published later this year.
The public consultation on the disapplication of ICT attracted 330 responses, Pittard revealed, with 58 percent of respondents favouring disapplication of the current programme of study, and 50 percent in favour of disapplying attainment targets. Sixty-six percent of respondents thought that the ICT curriculum should be more challenging.
Although organisations such as The Open University and The Corporate IT Forum expressed concerns that the disapplication of ICT from the curriculum would create a vacuum that would allow teachers to choose not to teach ICT because it would not be assessed, Pittard denied that this would happen.
“ICT is still part of the national curriculum at all key stages,” she said.
“[It’s there] to be adapted and amended, or ignored if there is something out there better.”
It appears that the DfE needs to make its message around the ICT curriculum changes clearer to teachers, however.
Kevin McLaughlin, ICT co-ordinator at Old Mill Primary School in Leicester, initially welcomed the news about the disapplication of ICT, believing that “schools are free to pursue an inspiring ICT curriculum that can benefit every learner”.
But he added: “However, if ICT teaching is so terrible, than misapplication will do nothing at all to improve it. It doesn’t make any sense.
“Government is washing its hands of it.”