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Teachers and IT industry frustrated by closed nature of ICT reform process

08 Oct 2012
School children using a computer

Teachers, education advisors and members of the IT industry have told V3 they are concerned their views will not be heard during the reform process of the new draft ICT curriculum.

The new curriculum is set to be launched in schools next September and the consultation period on the document closed on Monday, having been open for just one week.

The Department for Education has asked the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to manage the reform process and coordinate the development of the new IT programme of study (PoS).

Last week the bodies, through a members forum on the Computing at School (CAS) website, gave those working in the education sector one week to share their views on the content that will form the first ICT PoS draft.

This first PoS draft will be submitted to the DfE by 23 October, and the DfE will then hold a formal public consultation on the draft PoS over a three-month period in Spring 2013.

However there is concern that the BCS and RAEng, during their consultation with the IT industry and education advisors, are not giving school teachers and students enough input before creating the draft.

So far discussions have largely taken place behind closed doors or on private members forums, like CAS.

Although the BCS and RAEng argue there will be opportunities for wider consultations later, the concern is that once the draft is completed, there will be limited opportunity for change.

Joanna Poplawska, performance director for the Corporate IT Forum, said she was anxious the first draft of the PoS was being put together without a proper consultation.

"The Corporate IT Forum have 45,000 members who may have not been consulted," said Poplawska. "We are very concerned."

Meanwhile, ICT teacher Ilia Avroutine, who works at the Royal Grammer School in High Wycombe, agreed that more consultation should be taken with teachers before the draft is put together.

"The initial stage in making decisions where there's lots of brainstorming, all ideas are considered and not one idea is shot down is a very important stage. Then should come the gatekeeping stage where the more active minority should decide which ideas can work," he said.

"Currently, unless teachers are active in their associations, like CAS, they would not even know about this consultation, let alone be able to give their opinion."

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