Fall in total number of students taking ICT GCSEs reinforces demand for new curriculum
24 Aug 2012
Following a hugely successful pilot, e-skills UK announced earlier this summer that the 'Behind the Screen' programme will be available to all schools from September 2012. It offers a series of projects, presented as interactive online materials, and supported by full teachers' notes. The projects are developed in close consultation with employers, and are based on real life business issues.
GCSE results released yesterday show the number of students taking all ICT courses to have fallen for the seventh consecutive year to just 70,418, a decrease of 12.5% on last year.
These are the latest figures in a worrying trend which shows the number of students studying ICT at GCSE declining dramatically year on year from a high of 261,970 in 2005.
This continuing decline is of significant concern to both universities and employers. Demand for skilled IT professionals continues to increase, yet we are failing to inspire a generation of young people to pursue technology careers or study technology at further and higher education level.
The road towards a reformed ICT curriculum was paved earlier in the year with the disapplication of the current programme of study. This has given schools the freedom to offer courses which are relevant and inspiring, as well as being academically robust.
It is for this reason that e-skills UK announced earlier in the summer that their Behind the Screen programme will be available to all schools from September 2012, following a hugely successful pilot.
Supported by co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Behind the Screen offers a series of projects, presented as interactive online materials, and supported by full teachers' notes. The projects are developed in close consultation with employers, and are based on real life business issues.
By working through them students learn computational thinking, develop high level technical proficiency, and gain creative, team working and entrepreneurial skills. Fully mapped to the ICT GCSE and equivalent qualifications, Behind the Screen will provide students with an invaluable foundation from which to pursue computing related courses at further and higher education level, as well as preparing them for jobs in the industry.
"We've been working for some time on a new curriculum for the GCSE years." says Sue Nieland. "To run alongside ‘pure' computer science, we have created something that has the same depth and rigour but for a broader cohort of students.
“These are young people who want to learn to create games, design apps, to get involved in the exciting and ever developing world of technology, and who are interested the power of technology to solve business and social problems. The extraordinary input of employers has enabled us to create exciting, engaging material to support these students."
For more information please visit the Behind the Screen website.
Behind the Screen is led by a partnership of employers including IBM, the BBC, BAFTA, Blitz Games, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, John Lewis, Logica, the Metropolitan Police Service, Microsoft, National Grid, Procter & Gamble, Sainsbury’s, SAS, Steria and TCS. It is supported by funding from the Employer Investment Fund of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.