It is a caricature of the reality that was seen in schools, where students were learning about control, programming (usually using graphical programming languages, such as Scratch), video and audio editing, scripting languages (such as html) and creating relational databases. It was a small cohort of so called “experts” who advised Mr Gove into bringing their vision to reality. This misguided group threw out the baby with the bath water.
Wind forward nearly six years from this change and there is already ample evidence that this decision, by groups with a vested interest, was at best a misguided decision and at worse a retrograde step.
Early this year, it was ironically the British Computing Society (BCS), one of the groups who advised Mr Gove, that were showing concern that the number of students taking up a qualification in computing would likely halve by 2020. You could have asked any ICT teacher back in 2012 and they would have been able to predict this outcome. Not that the computing/ computer science curriculum is of no value, it definitely has its place as a valuable qualification, but only alongside ICT/IT qualifications.
We now have students arriving at secondary schools from many primary schools with little knowledge of ICT. Many of them have used a tablet, but never a desktop computer or laptop. Secondary school teachers need to teach the students basic ICT skills before they move on to teaching computing, that’s if they have the time.
GCSE ICT was always a popular choice for girls and despite money being spent on encouraging girls to choose GCSE computer science, there is little evidence that this is having any impact. So not only are fewer students choosing a “computing” qualification, even fewer of these are girls.
It really is time to bring back GCSE ICT and A Level ICT before even more damage is done.