Tough new tests for children at 5 and 11?

(62 Posts)
mrz Mon 08-Jul-13 06:54:25
MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 10:56:18

Oh and I was a teacher but couldn't code for toffee,great at teaching reading etc but I'd be dire at programming.Wonder if they'll outsource,hmmm could be a market.<strokes chin>

OddBoots Mon 08-Jul-13 11:34:58

It's about time programming came in, I was absolutely horrified at parents' evening at my ds' secondary school when it became clear that not one of the ICT teachers knew a single programming language.

Periwinkle007 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:30:51

the other problem with prgramming is that what is in demand changes over the years. a child can learn to program in primary school in one language, when they are then at GCSE level that one won't be the one mostly used any longer and by the time they have done a degree and got a job it will have changed again. Now the principles of programming and how you have to think things through is the same (I think) in different types of programming but there are a lot of differences between programming on a Mainframe or Unix for example. I was RUBBISH at programming, I absolutely hated it and found it very difficult to do. I was however extremely good at the management of it all and coordinating stuff which many of the programmers couldn't do (and had no desire to do).

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 12:37:08

Exactly Peri my dp is very good at keeping one step ahead and changing languages accordingly but he is simply thinking about his career,how on earth you do it x amount of years ahead with thousands of children and the resources they need I don't know.

I wonder what other countries do.

Tbh any change though will be better than IT at the moment in schools going by my dc.Even dd who isn't an IT geek finds it easy and boring.

Periwinkle007 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:43:04

well quite - IT is seriously bad in many schools. When I worked in Uni admissions it was awful that people could be coming in with some of the ICT A-levels/equivalents at grade A and actually only being able to use word, excel etc, never having done any programming. scary to be honest. I am sure many of them would have been more than capable of learning stuff at a higher level but the qualifications didn't give the opportunity. I am not sure with primary schools as we are only at reception stage at the moment.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 08-Jul-13 12:46:23

we always used to assess them when they came into school anyway. it makes more sense to find out what they know when they come in than at the end of year two if they are going to use it to grade the school. afterall, foundation and key stage one teachers have put in a lot of work to get the children to the standard they are by the end of year two. o at least one would hope so.

assessment should be informal and easy to complete on 30 4 year olds. I do noot trust gove to be able to deliver that though.

dd is going to start programing with her dad soon anyway. he promised ages ago but we have been a bit busy with bereavements and parents and sorting out all the stuff that goes with it.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tiggles Mon 08-Jul-13 13:07:54

In principle, as a bigger picture, teaching programming to school children especially at secondary level, is a very good idea.
But as a PP said, in their secondary school none of the IT staff had programming knowledge, who is going to teach these 'several languages' to them, and teach it well. Unlike maybe in some lessons where I hear tales of the teacher being one step ahead of the class, to teach a subject like programming you really need to understand it, especially in the more modern Object Oriented languages. I wonder whether Gove and his colleagues have actually tried it.
The starting point for procedural languages is, firstly - can you follow instructions accurately, followed by can you create accurate instructions.
e.g. if you were teaching someone to wash up, after telling them to put the washing up bowl in place and turn the tap on, would you remember to tell them to turn the tap off again. Every action needs to be documented very carefully. Only once you can create an accurate instruction list can you then start to program. Teaching actual programming from age 5 will miss out the basic steps of learning to create instructions in a sensible order (something I believe DS2 has been learning to do in year 1 - instructions, not programming). If when they are saying 'programming' at 5, they really mean 'creating instructions' it could be ok.

The sounds of tests designed to be tough at age 5 is ridiculous. Parents have enough anxiety at the year 1 phonics test, which is not meant to be tough. Having removed testing at year 2 replaced with less stressful continuous teacher assessment it seems a step backwards.

Tiggles Mon 08-Jul-13 13:11:07

Oh, just seen more detail. 5year olds will be expected to debug their own simple programs. They really do mean actual coding then...

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 13:40:07

Will be interested to see how they get every 5 year old competent in de- bugging going by the de- bugging traumas dp had with his team last release.grin

Blissx Mon 08-Jul-13 13:51:15

Ahh, surprised this has turned into a "bash IT teachers thread"!

For what it is worth, I am an ICT teacher with a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from Sussex University and have been teaching both ICT and Computing for the past 9 years after being an XML programmer in industry first (Computing and ICT are different so no wonder those studying ICT qualifications cannot program - it is a different course!) It is not our fault that Tony Blair focused solely on ICT after 1997 and garnered the notion "anyone can teach IT", which has led to lots of schools bypassing ICT with non-specialists.

At secondary, up until 4 years ago, there was only a Computing A Level which was notoriously hard as it would have been the first time students would have covered the extensive material. Then, 4 years ago, a pilot GCSE in Computing was introduced and last Sept, this went nationwide. Give us some time to put it all into place!

We are slowly introducing Computing into Key Stage 3 as well so that it is not such a jump at GCSE. Computing is not just programming though (how about how a computer actually works/Binary/Logic/Systems/Networks etc) and knowing lots of languages are not advisable when learning to code anyway, as you won't go into any depth. Learning the principles (sequences, loops, functions etc through Scratch is a great start) first and the language "second" is much better. Hence, Primary children can get started earlier. There was a post that mentioned only Scratch was available - not true. Can I suggest to get an avid pupil to look at Greenfoot, Alice, Kodu etc,. all free to download?

I was talking to someone who works for Credit Suisse on Saturday and is paid huge amounts of money to manage risk using the language Python and he admitted he'd pass most of it off to his techs. I said to him I have 16-18 year olds who can probably program better than he can and he agreed!

Sorry for the long post, but my overall point is that schools are getting there. ICT teachers are spending long parts of their holidays re-training, helping other schools, re-writing whole Schemes of Work and getting back on track. Unfortunately, it just won't happen overnight.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

weirdthing Mon 08-Jul-13 14:02:05

Blissx - my Dh works in IT - we home educate and he is teaching our sons IT exactly as you have said. My friend's DH has a Phd in programming and used to earn shit-loads of money (they also home ed) and he too agrees on knowing how the computer works.thinks before learning to program. Our kids are all 3-7 and know how computers work, have taken them apart and are learning basic programming alongside how computers think. My son's ex-classmates are doing cut and paste!

Tiggles Mon 08-Jul-13 14:04:50

Not an IT teacher bashing thread at all smile. Merely concern that many schools do not have the facilities to teach 'several languages' and programming in general at primary level. I know several primary teachers who give the impression they are not really very confident with maths, I am concerned if they also had to learn and teach programming.
With a confident teacher I would be very happy for all my children to learn programming in school, but to only give a year for all schools to become competent in an area where there has been little need before, seems to be a government run before you can walk initiative.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 14:10:54

What Little said

Bliss I hate to say it but sadly I doubt your 16 year olds could code good enough for most firms with billions reliant on said code.My dp is a rarity(a manager who is a damn good coder) and he struggles at times to get tech people good enough and who can produce good enough work in the time needed.

I think the gov may be under estimating the level of expertise needed to teach this stuff at the higher end and indeed primary with the more able.

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 14:11:51

I think we pointed out a long way down we weren't teacher bashing re IT.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MirandaWest Mon 08-Jul-13 14:28:31

Is there a link to the new curriculum (coding and other aspects)?

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 14:32:34

I guess but there is never time(or money at the mo)for training is there.Dp has often had to train himself in his own time. The reason they seem to be beholden to contractors (paid silly money and not always that great) is because they need the expertise instantly not a year ahead.

The bosses higher up say what they want and pluck deadlines out of the air- you have to provide it.

Maybe this curriculum will help but not sure how they're going to provide the expertise or resources.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrButtercat Mon 08-Jul-13 14:47:33

Yes,guess you're right.Dp does seem to be one of those with a natural aptitude who can learn any new code.That said he is very good at maths has an engineering degree,Msc in computer science etc.Scarily he loves it.hmm

I know all the training in the world wouldn't enable me to produce one word of code.grin

Wonder what they do in India etc.Having said that dp has had quality issues with outsourced code so maybe they don't have all the answers.

Tiggles Mon 08-Jul-13 14:53:24

The company I first worked for, the first projects I worked on were 'merely' testing code for safety critical projects. The skills and thoroughness developed through this, where not a single error could be left undetected (think RAF fighter jet crashing if code wrong, or power station blowing up), were exceptionally useful. Through studying code for many months before writing any of my own I learnt a lot of best practice.
Once 'let loose' to write my own code, we were told the day before "On your way home buy a book on X programming language" you will be expected to code in it tomorrow. Learning the language syntax is the easy part, it is the intricacies of good design which are way more important (in my opinion grin).

consulation is here

runs to Aug 8th.

Tiggles Mon 08-Jul-13 15:03:59

Thanks kitten

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