Computer Science - is it offered?

(23 Posts)
cricketballs Fri 15-Feb-13 21:17:06

Blissex xxx

Blissx Fri 15-Feb-13 15:10:43

Totally agree cricketballs-it's just the misunderstanding between "equivalent of so many GCSEs" and "I'm doing a GCSE". I thought some parents on here might like to be re-assured that they are perfectly good qualifications (BTECs, ECDL etc) but not to get confused between the two when it comes to Sixth Form options. It must be hard with lots of different bits of information at Options Evening. Sorry again if I was unclear and to Oddball for taking over the thread! smile

GrimmaTheNome Fri 15-Feb-13 13:55:17

>There are teachers within schools who can deliver this subject, but not many given that a lot of ICT teachers are in a role that they have no degree/qualification for but just as they showed an interest in ICT

Talking to DDs teacher at parent's evening this week - she's her Electronics and ICT teacher but does the CS too - it sounds like it really does take some keen staff to set it up.

cricketballs Thu 14-Feb-13 22:13:40

I will agree with you in terms of the 'selling' methods of vocational Blissx and it was a league table issue - what I would like to point out (although this isn't really the thread to do it grin) is that vocational qualifications should not be dismissed just because they aren't GCSE!

I used to teach BTEC Business and have been forced to move to GCSE. Whilst GCSE is supposedly the better qualification the BTEC covered far more content and understanding that the GCSE.

I will concede that a Pass is very easy to gain although this alone should not be dismissed fully as those who are only capable of gaining a Pass in this qualification are very unlikely to gain a GCSE grade and therefore at least leave school with a qualification the Merit and Distinction levels are very hard and require a great deal of analysis and evaluation at a high level to achieve these grades.

sorry to have strayed away from the basis of the thread but I always feel the need to change the persona and general misunderstanding Gove of these qualifications wink

Blissx Thu 14-Feb-13 21:39:20

Spot on, cricketballs! Completely forgot about unit 1 so sorry for the mis-information there. Just re-read my post and I do sound anti-vocational. Just want to clarify that it's because parents have historically been told 'equivalent to 4 GCSEs or B at GCSEs' it becomes synonymous with 'I'm doing a GCSE', when it comes to Sixth Form choices. They are perfectly good qualifications in their own right-just not GCSEs.

cricketballs Thu 14-Feb-13 20:27:23

the Cambridge does include a test to comply with the new rules that at all qualifications that can be included in the league tables have a exam element to them. The test is unit 1 and is 25% of the final grade, with the rest being made up of coursework. All new spec BTECs are also running in the same fashion.

The Business Communications is a mix of business and ICT. They have to have basic business knowledge for 50% and then use ICT skills and knowledge for the communication part.
Business and Economics is part basic business knowledge, i.e. marketing mix, recruitment, basic finance etc and the 2nd part pure economics

As Blissx has said, business and ICT are usually within the same faculty and you will find that the vast majority of business teachers also teach ICT at some level. My background for example is 50% computing/electronics/ICT and 50% business (my pre-degree qualifications are pure electronics and computing to HNC standard and then A levels in business and law; my degree is Business and ICT so I am qualified to teach ICT, computing and business).

Computing is a 'new' qualification at this level and therefore is not offered at many schools currently it is very quickly gathering pace with the recent inclusion as a science for the Ebacc. There are teachers within schools who can deliver this subject, but not many given that a lot of ICT teachers are in a role that they have no degree/qualification for but just as they showed an interest in ICT.

For the subject of computing to be offered at the majority of schools, there needs to be a lot of retraining not only for those not qualified, but also for the like of me who has not had to use their skills/knowledge for so long as we have had to deliver the rubbish curriculum as prescribed by the old NC/specs.

I will add though, the latest Edexcel spec for GCSE ICT is a lot more interesting and relevant and not as easy as people believe!

longingforsomesleep Thu 14-Feb-13 20:22:03

At ds's school (state grammar) they do the ECDL in year 8 and 9 which is equivalent to a GCSE grade B. They do it at their own speed and then do programming and website design when they've finished it. In year 10 they have the option to start AS computer science.

Blissx Thu 14-Feb-13 19:45:39

Hi Erebus,
If I can help, I'll try and translate what those qualifications are (they are not all GCSEs). The Business and Communications and Business and Economics are nothing to do with ICT as a subject. They are to do with business and profit/loss etc. However, they may be taught in a 'faculty' that might include some ICT teachers. The CiDA is a qualification that is on it's way out-100% coursework and definitely not for the most able. If it was, they would offer the Diploma for Digital Applications. It is ending this year. Methinks it is to boost their league table standing while they still can. The Cambridge Nationals Level 2 is the replacement to CiDA, AiDA and DiDA, however, and has been approved by Gove. Still 100% coursework but with a little more rigour and even a Computer Science unit. Still not a GCSE though.
Hope you find this useful.

Erebus Thu 14-Feb-13 11:54:39

It's all the computing subjects that are confusing us with DS1's options, too!

For 'ICT' in Y9 and 10 they do a 'Business and Communications' GCSE (end of Y10), but his GCSE choices include 'Business and Economics' (which apparently still falls under the ICT banner, 'Certificate in Digital Communications (level 2)' which is described as being only for the most able; 'Cambridge Nationals in ICT (level 2)' but apparently only available to the few, though this few seems to be the vocationally bound; and Computer Science.

OddBoots Thu 14-Feb-13 07:02:06

Thank you very much, it really does seem a mixed bag. I've had a look at the course spec for it on two different exam boards and it is far from soft but my ds could do it with ease as he loves computers and can code in a few different languages. I would be surprised if he didn't do it at A Level.

sashh Thu 14-Feb-13 06:54:04

So I'm assuming it's the same. Does anyone know if it's perceived as a Soft GCSE?

About as soft as maths.

This is interesting, I did O Level Computer Studies and A Level Computer Science in the 1980s then it seemed to drop out of favour.

It's good to see it back.

At ds's school a btec ict is compulsory and in addition pupils can choose ict or ict computing as one of their gcse options.
So I think it indeed depends on the school.

Happymum22 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:01:28

Computer science is coming in as the 'new' thing in response to the technology advances hence more jobs in the field. From what I've heard it will be fairly tricky and definitely not a 'soft' subject.

Blissx Wed 13-Feb-13 19:58:42

Sorry about my typo-so used to calling it one and the same! The OCR exam board call it Computing and AQA call it Computer Science, but yes, they are the same thing smile It is not perceived as a soft subject and is part of the EBacc and in fact has higher grade boundaries than Maths! It's just so new as a GCSE. That said, ICT does have it's place if done as a GCSE and not vocational, as most people need to use IT-not everyone will code it.

Ours don't offer it. DS2 would have loved to take it and the ITC teacher tried to convince him that ICT was better hmm.
ICT is a total waste of time IMO.

5madthings Wed 13-Feb-13 19:38:18

Ds1's school offered computer science last year as well, hadn't realized it was a new thing.

DD's school offers Computing as an option. No mention of the word science at all. confused

So I'm assuming it's the same. Does anyone know if it's perceived as a Soft GCSE?

Blissx Wed 13-Feb-13 18:31:58

This is the first academic year that it has been available to all schools as a GCSE. Prior to that, it was a two year pilot from just one exam board, available in only 100 test schools. I was in one of those test schools. I would imagine that most schools in the country are using this year to try out and re-train teachers as well as seeing what the other exam boards have to offer as they only released their specs last Sept.
It was only last week that Gove stated Computer Science would be part of the EBacc certificate and league tables and then retracted the EBacc certificate. All schools would not have known this last Sept. So, in that respect for your question, I think that it is very typical, but that things will change next academic year (when Gove makes up his mind!).
Sorry if this doesn't help you and your situation. However, I would say, your DC can take up Computing A Level not having done any beforehand.

LIZS Wed 13-Feb-13 17:35:02

ds has taken ECDL extra which is GCSE equivalent and modular during ICT lessons and a few extra sessions.

lateSeptember1964 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:31:53

GCSE computer science offered at my Ds local comp school. They also offer GCSE or Btec ICT Interestingly we have just moved him from a private school where only ICT was offered. I read somewhere that many ICT teachers do not have the ability to teach computer science.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 11:55:22

DDs school (girls state grammar) offers Comp Sci or ICT as options. I'm not sure CS is widely available yet, they only started offering it at hers last year.

They're probably saving money by having teachers who can only do KS3 ICT, and also on kit. I'd be narked.

5madthings Wed 13-Feb-13 11:53:03

My ds is in yr 9 he has to take a btec in ICT and computer science is also offered as an option. He has to take 8 compulsory GCSE's including the btec as one of those and then he can choose three options.

It seems to depend on the school.

OddBoots Wed 13-Feb-13 11:50:43

I just wondered if I could do a quick straw poll about the availability of this subject.

My ds is in Y9 and is doing his options, for his stream (Ebacc) the school has decided ICT is a waste of time but they don't offer Computer Science either. Is this pretty typical or am I right to feel a little narked about it?

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