26 September 2011
If the Government’s new initiative to transform the ICT school curriculum is to be successful, teachers require a higher level of skills, according to Europe’s largest group of engineers and technicians.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, recently launched Behind the Screen, an industry-funded trial of a new computing curriculum.
However, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), believes that a higher level of technical skills is required by teachers if the initiative is to be a success and ‘fix’ the ICT curriculum.
Dr Martyn Thomas from the IET said: “This is an excellent and overdue change and it is vital that it is backed up with professional training and support for the teachers who will deliver the new curriculum.
“We have the opportunity this decade, with smartphones and apps, to inspire a new generation of software engineers in the way that the BBC Micro did in the 1980s. But it will be important to teach students that professional software engineering is as big a step up from school programming as civil engineering is from Lego.
“The new curriculum will go some way to introduce students to 'computational thinking', which is as important for biologists and bankers as it is for computer scientists and software engineers."
The Behind the Screen initiative will include a new GCSE IT curriculum which will focus more on software development and programming and will be tested out in 20 schools from November until the end of the school year. A similar pilot will run for A-Level pupils.