Anglia Ruskin University

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Changes afoot in the UK

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 13:07 authored by Sue Sentance
In August 2011, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, delivered the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival. He was highly critical of the standards for computer science (CS) education in British schools ( schmidt-mactaggart-lecture-full-text). “We need to reignite children’s passion for science, engineering, and maths. In the 1980’s the BBC not only broadcast programs for kids about coding, but (in partnership with Acorn) shipped over a million BBC Micro computers into schools and homes. That was a fabulous initiative, but it’s long gone. I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even taught as standard in UK schools. Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made. That is just throwing away your great computing heritage.” Shortly on the heels of Schmidt’s comments, in January 2012, the Royal Society released a report entitled “Shut Down or Restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools” ( The report, a result of an 18-month consultation, described the teaching of CS in many schools as “highly unsatisfactory.” The recommendations included increasing the number of teachers trained to teach CS, improving in-service training, and providing more technical resources for schools. In the same week as the publication of the Royal Society report, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, July 2012 announced that the National Curriculum for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was to be eliminated beginning September 2012, subject to a consultation. It will remain compulsory to teach ICT from ages 5 to 16, but schools no longer have a prescriptive program of study and are encouraged to include more CS content.



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