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How does your school do IT now it's not a NC requirement?

(6 Posts)
owowow Mon 20-Mar-17 14:27:34

So, IT has now been replaced by computer science in the national curriculum, yes?

But students still need the sort of core IT skills that are used in so many jobs - word processing, spreadsheets, database skills etc .... the sort of things covered in the ECDL.

Are most schools still doing this sort of stuff? Do they just build it into other lessons or use ECDL resources or something else? I've heard ECDL resources are expensive so small schools can't afford them.

cricketballs Mon 20-Mar-17 16:54:38

whilst this post seems to be a journalistic question I will bite...

The CS curriculum does still include 'digital literacy' which includes spreadsheets, DTP, esafety etc therefore all schools should (but academies don't have to) be delivering it. However many have gone over completely to the CS aspect.

Luckily, at my school we haven't jumped ship fully as we have recognised that given the very low skill set the students are starting year 7 with we need to spend the largest proportion of our 1 lesson a week on the basics.

For example until a couple of years ago, we were confident that our year 7 students had at least seen a spreadsheet before and knew the basics, for example some key words like "cell", knowing they had to start a formula with an = and the */ for multiplication and division.

Our last two years of new cohorts can not even use a 'normal keyboard' correctly as they are so used to tablets, so whilst they can edit a video on an iPad, being able to use 2 keys at the same time is alien to them (they use caps lock for one capital letter rather than the shift key) - we have had to go right back to basics as they are no longer receiving this education in primary.
Therefore we are having to spend more time on IT rather than CS in KS3; we do though have a 3 year KS4 so those who choice GCSE CS do have time for their learning.

Within KS4 we are running the ECDL, but unlike a number of schools we actually timetable the students for lessons rather than bringing in a company to deliver it in a week. This course however is not on the approved list of qualifications for the current year 9s (although they have submitted a revised spec to the DFE and are awaiting confirmation)

At a recent options evening, so many of our parents were very vocal in the fact that they could see we were going to very soon face a skills crisis, which although this report from the House of Commons
Science and Technology Committee recognises this, it is far too focused on computer science, whereas it actually states "However, there is a digital divide where up to 12.6 million of the adult UK population lack basic digital skills. An estimated 5.8 million people have never used the internet at all. This digital skills gap is costing the UK economy an estimated £63 billion a year in lost additional GDP."

Whilst I am all for CS as a subject, it can not and should not replace IT education as they are completely different. We should not also confuse being able to use IT efficiently and correctly with being able to "share a video on facebook".

and breath!

owowow Mon 20-Mar-17 18:22:49

Thanks cricket. (No, not a journalist - a parent governor trying to work out my expectations should be. Have been told ECDL too expensive so wondering what else is out there).

Badbadbunny Mon 20-Mar-17 18:50:43

Seems a right mess at the moment. Kids are starting secondary school at such diverse levels of ability, I just can't see how IT can be "taught" unless they're going to stream/set from the start of year 7. As said above, some pupils have barely seen a keyboard these days due to tablets and phones, yet others are already fairly competent as the usual desktop programmes such as databases, spreadsheets and word processing, and many will have done basic computer programming. And then you have anomalies like my son's French teacher in year 9 insisting all the class created an online movie of some French poem via a free app!

But do we all need to know desktop computing using keyboards these days? Isn't tech moving so fast that by the time today's year 7's are leaving school/uni, will anyone be "keying" in data to desktop PCs via a keyboard anymore? We already have voice recognition software that writes text, accounting software that drags in transactions automatically from online banking, etc. But how many people actually end up working in jobs where spreadsheets and word processors are even needed anyway?

Maybe in 5-10 years time, the average person will get all their "computing" needs via their phone and tablet. If any trades/professions need word processing, spreadsheets, databases, etc., then perhaps there should be training for each job requirement. After all, in days gone by, not everyone was taught typing or shorthand - it was an option at most secondaries but also a very common evening class at local adult education classes. Same with book-keeping - never taught in schools, so people learned in adult education or on the job by their employers.

I'm not entirely sure that either ECDL nor CS should be compulsory at secondary school. I just don't see how they can teach it at an appropriate level to each pupil when the pupil's ability levels will be so diverse. Complete waste of time teaching the basics to all, many of whom already know it (and more). Complete waste of time teaching CS to those who struggle with literacy and numeracy and will never be more than "key in" and certainly never get near any programming!

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 20-Mar-17 20:47:15

My y9 is having a week per term of maths lessons replaced by IT work.

troutsprout Tue 21-Mar-17 10:01:58

Year 9 -1 'computer studies' lesson (100 minutes) every week
Tiny state secondary (400 pupils)

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