Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Computing curriculum in Scotland

You may have noticed the on-going debate in England about the ICT curriculum. There have been criticisms about what is taught in English schools, with complaints that it is boring and only focuses on using software rather than creating it.

This morning the Minister for Education, Michael Gove, spoke about the problem at the BETT conference in London. He described the current offerings as "harmful and dull" and pledged to change the curriculum in England.

Some people have claimed that Scotland does it better. While we also have a number of ICT awards that focus on using the technology, we have maintained a strong focus on the technical side of the subject. The National Courses in Computing have retained their technical emphasis, with computer programming an essential component. More recently, we have introduced new awards in computer games [PDF] that combine programming with engaging content, which have been well received.

There are also new courses in the pipeline. The changes to Computing that will come about as a result of the Curriculum for Excellence will emphasise computer (and information) science, the new HNC Computing makes software development a mandatory component (it was previously optional), and there are new awards in mobile technology, which involve the creation of smartphone apps, about to become available to schools and colleges.

I don't mean to sound complacent. There is always room for improvement, and there are challenges facing Scotland too. But, I think, the Scottish curriculum has something for everyone.


  1. Ted Hastings14/1/12 2:19 pm

    Perhaps there's an opportunity here to get some of the relevant Scottish qualifications accredited on QCF?

  2. Yes, Ted, some of these SQA awards may be closer to what the government would like to see in English schools.