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Computing - Compulsory Subject KS4 ???

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by christinejd23, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. christinejd23

    christinejd23 New commenter

    Does everybody elses school teach Computing as a Compulsory subject, not just an option in KS4? We currently teach it in Y7 & 8 then not again until Year 10 if picked as an option.
    If I am right, it is considered a compulsory subject in the national curriculum - how is it schools can get away with not teaching it? I know we are short on specialists but still...
  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I have been asking this very question for years.
    christinejd23 likes this.
  3. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    Lots of people have been asking this question, the University of Roehampton review has shown just how bad it is. However, even though Computing is one of SIX subjects that is compulsory from key stage 1 to key stage 4, the vast majority of schools ignore this, I think is is because of the term 'opportunity' which is used for keys stage 4. If ICT or CS is offered then the opportunity is there, very few schools if any offer none exam Computing at key stage 4, although I suspect if ECDL were to allowed again many schools would force full cohorts through.
    As to how they get away with it, my guess it is only the teachers of the subjects that actually care about what is going on in schools, OFSTED and Government don't seem to.
  4. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Academies don't have to follow the National Curriculum, of course, but my local comprehensive is still LA-maintained and somehow manages to have a three-year KS4 with no compulsory Computing (until OfSTED next comes to call?).

    OfSTED used to be very hot on this sort of thing. ICT was also compulsory, you might recall, and when I first started teaching, schools were criticised for not covering the full programme of study at KS4 even where qualifications were being taken. This was usually because they offered courses such as Business and Communication Systems, which didn't contain the control and monitoring aspects of the ICT curriculum.

    That might have deterred schools from offering courses such as DiDA and OCR Nationals, but OfSTED seemed to give up at some point in the early noughties, which led to some students not doing any ICT at all.
    christinejd23 likes this.
  5. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Sadly, the NCCE have made a right pig's ear of advising and planning how this country gets out of the mess it is in as far as school CS goes. It has a poorly thought through strategy, tackling the wrong areas in the wrong order and completely ignoring the role of SLT and Heads in changing the culture in their schools. At best, it is likely to lead to a temporary spike of CS skills for a few hundred teachers rather than a sustained change of outlook and commitment. The parallels with how they are approaching up-skilling and rescuing the subject and the NOF training of yesteryear are hard to ignore. They clearly did not learn any lessons.

    OFQUAL have a role to play here as well. They need to start refusing point blank to award Goods and Outstandings to any school with anything less than a committed approach to the subject for all students. It can be done. Maybe the Head has to cut the £150K salary to fund it. Maybe they need to think clearly about structuring practical classes so they are not to large with a thin range of abilities, with proper TA support and time for teachers to plan and prepare without killing them all off with workload.
    christinejd23 and ParakeetGreen like this.
  6. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    I am hoping that this is where the new OFSTED framework comes in however, having read it a few times it looks like we will be missed in favour of Maths, English, Science and other EBacc subjects. Computing comes under technology, which isn't compulsory at KS4. As such I suspect we will get missed, and in about 5 years time OFSTED will do a subject review, like they did with IT, and tell us what we already know, that schools are not giving students a chance, and stack subjects in favour of league table results instead.
  7. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    If there's a strategy it start with the above - in the classroom. Strange how that does not seem to apply when the approach is high level "research-based policy" then spending millions...

    Also, This cartoon bears relevance to a successful strategy however it eventually manifests:

    This Is Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer
  8. Diagro

    Diagro New commenter

    I for one am happy that its not forced upon all students.
    70% of students are not suited to the subject, and would make my life hell trying to push them through it.

    No thanks
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  9. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    .....that we are now teaching.

    But 100% need (an appropriate) IT education.
    Stiltskin likes this.
  10. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't say not suited, more not interested.
    I have so called low ability students that are streets ahead programming wise when compared to our 'academically inclined'. 90% of the battle for me is keeping them interested, some only want to learn to code, some could pass the exam theory without being able to code a reasonable solution. Much a case of being able to 'talk the talk' but not able to put it in to action.
    binaryhex likes this.
  11. Diagro

    Diagro New commenter

    Yes of course 100% need IT education. Although, in my eyes, delivering a comprehensive scope of topics at KS3 should be enough.
    You then allow the students who wish to progress access to either a CS GCSE and/or a Vocational IT Qualification.

    I would still say not suited, as some students simply cannot handle academic subjects, or may have a grade 1 in maths, which would make it impossible to handle programming concepts that rely on computational thinking. Then you get the majority of students that simply don't want to do it (no interest as you say)
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  12. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    We are, unfortunately, in a results driven business. Take this away and the stress is gone, as is the idea that we shouldn't teach all students Computer Science. I welcome the OFSTED focus on curriculum and the move away from results only when it comes to the idea of 'quality of education'. Results are not the end of the road if they are poor, just the start of a new journey. I teach all comers regardless and they get the same expectations, if they get it great, if they don't, 'it is what it is'.
  13. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    To be sure, you're saying the students like/are good at ACTUAL programming. But have much less interest/(hence results) at the assessment basis of the teaching? Isn't that indicating the curriculum (be it exam based or coursework based ie it ends up taking up too much time and absorbing too much focus, is at fault)?

    Some schools I've been in have a policy of B+ or 6+ in Maths then consider CS. It seems useful for expectations and also to avoid students as you say grade 1 maths attempting in effect grade 1 CS. But actually I think it's the culture that is the problem: If students had interest and exposure and coaching in the right conditions they'd probably find more success or else teachers would find more success (however it said)... But as you say in the current culture "no chance" to make it compulsory. At some stage there will be a realization academic learning is in excess probably due to cost/logistical limitations - NOT because "more academic subjects is better".

    Atm, CS / vocational ICT is a good solution. I suspect better CS depends on an iceberg of submerged conditions that are far from present, presently in schools.

    I, too, welcome our new overlords... ;-p
  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Not to lose the point of this thread, do not forget that CS IS a compulsory subject and has been ignored by most schools up to and including ks4 AND OFSTED have ignored the simple fact that students are leaving school never having experienced CS.

    I agree that a lot of ks4 students are not able to take on CS at GCSE. I feel that a lot more would be able to tackle CS at GCSE if they had been doing CS in ks3. I have taught programming, computer architecture and robotics to students from year 5. Students coming cold to CS at GCSE find it very difficult and only the most able cope. My experience is that their current maths grade is irrelevant to their CS abilities.

    The current results-based culture is the biggest obstacle here. Schools will simply not expend money or effort in any subject unless they reap a good crop of passes. Going to the trouble of hiring CS teachers or even retraining non-CS graduates is unlikely to happen given school aversion to spending money.If there is no-one to teach CS in ks3, results will never improve.
    dalersmith likes this.
  15. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Computing is compulsory not Computer Science (which is a part of the computing curriculum). Computing includes DL and IT as well as CS (the Implications, applications, and foundations)
    apapa and border_walker like this.
  16. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I get what you are saying. Problem is that the ICT teachers will simply not teach any programming or computer architecture stuff cos it isnt in the ICT curriculum.
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  17. 3monkey

    3monkey New commenter

    Schools like my admittedly average academy in a run down area have cut computer science right back - no new courses starting from Sept, existing ones are the last exam courses to run, token KS3 course from September for years 7 & 8 only, IT rooms reduced from 4 to 2, IT support staff cut back, half of computer teaching staff made redundant.

    I think our school will save somewhere around £130000 a year by not running GCSE and A Level courses so it's easy to see the attraction.

    It's sad, but I can't see Computer Science surviving except in private schools. Everyone knows that it's OFSTED, Heads and SLT who need educating not teachers so I don't understand why this £80 million grant is being spent on a bit of Python training for ICT teachers. Such a wrong thing to spend the cash on!

    Only 4.5 days to go and then Vietnam here I come!

    And why are my posts still moderated and I have to wait for them to appear? Is this the same for everyone?
  18. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    It is all a bit depressing. OFSTED dfe MATs all collude to let CS die. The 80m was chucked away
  19. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    So the question is, who is responsible for setting the curriculum?
  20. dalersmith

    dalersmith Occasional commenter

    Here is the question isn't it, when the Computing Curriculum was first given out I had a Head of IT, not Head of Computing. Her first thing was to stop what I had been doing for the last year(I had been given sole responsibility for KS3, on a twelve week carousel), were I had used CS Unplugged resources, some SCRATCH, and even introduced Java via Greenfoot. Our new curriculum used the old QCA ICT schemes so, Word processing, Presentation software, Spreadsheets and Databases all via MS Office. Scratch was introduced but not in a programming setting but as an animation software, and creative computing was Photoshop. When I questioned her interpretation of the new curriculum she refused to speak to the faculty leader and myself for a year.

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