• Minister admits computer science curriculum is ‘challenging’

Schools minister Nick Gibb has admitted that delivering computer science is a “challenge” for schools.

His comments were made in response to questions raised by the Commons’ Science and Technology Committee. These questions highlighted concerns over the Government’s decision to replace the ICT GCSE and A-level with the computer science qualification. The committee pointed out there was currently a lack of computer science teachers and limited expertise among existing ICT teachers.

Gibb said computing science is a ‘very challenging new curriculum to deliver’ but said that approximately £4.5 million has been invested over the past three years to help the situation. Adding that the Network of Teaching Excellence is helping 300 teachers to pass on their skills to their peers.

More than 10,800 people have signed a petition calling for the ICT qualifications to remain, on the basis that it ‘will drastically narrow the curriculum’.

However, Gibb said: “There are a lot of technical and professional qualifications for those young people who do not want to take computer science but want to continue to develop their digital skills.

“We didn’t want people not to be taking the computer science GCSE and A level. We want as many of our young people to be taking that as possible”.

Official figures show that over 111,000 students sat the ICT GCSE over the summer, with only 35,000 sitting the computing GCSE.