The Department for Education in England has just published a policy paper entitled “Educational Excellence Everywhere”. I haven't read it in its entirety yet, but I was interested to learn what, if anything, it had to say about the Computing Programme of Study. The short answer is: not a lot.
Some general observations
An interesting general point is that it seems to be full of contradictions.
“By the end of 2020 all schools will be academies or in the process of becoming academies.”
How does that square with:
“We will build on the success of the free school programme to open 500 new [free] schools [and UTCs] by 2020.”?
Despite the National Curriculum being excellent, Academies can choose not to follow it. But the DfE has an answer to this:
“the national curriculum [will be established] as an ambitious benchmark that autonomous academies can use and improve upon”
Mind you, the freedom of schools to develop their own curriculum is somewhat constrained by the qualifications and accreditation framework, since the DfE intends to:
“Continue to equip schools to embed a knowledge-based curriculum as the cornerstone of an excellent, academically rigorous education to age 16”
There will be:
“A new role for local authorities – local authorities will move away from maintaining schools and focus on championing pupils and parents”
“Regional School Commissioners (RSCs) will intervene promptly where academies or MATs (multi-academy trusts) are underperforming”
(That used to be the role of the local authorities’ Schools Improvement Officers.)
So what does the paper say about digital skills?
Erm, next question?
How about Computing:
“recruitment remains particularly challenging in subjects like computing”
(The word “challenging” is government-speak for “insurmountable problem”.)
But, have no fear, because the DfE:
“… will ensure that enough talented teachers are recruited, wherever they’re needed.”
“We have also funded … the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computing to build a national network of 300 ‘Master Teachers’, supported by ten regional university centres, to deliver face-to-face CPD to teachers.”
Which is all very good, apart from the fact that we were supposed to have 400 so-called Master Teachers by now. See: Government spends £3m in scramble to get 400 ‘master’ computing teachers, and my own article, 5 reasons there is a shortage of Computing at School Master Teachers, and what we can do about it.
As I said at the start, I haven’t read the entire document yet, but from my quick flick through it I have to say I am not too impressed. But I think it’s important to read it in case there are nasty surprises in it.
There’s also another document to accompany it: Educational Excellence Everywhere: impact assessment.
Here are the links: