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Government to give computer science EBacc status

30 Jan 2013
Students and teacher working with computer

The government has confirmed that computer science will be made part of the English Baccalaureate.

The Department of Education said the change is being made because of the importance of computer science for both education and the economy.

"Having computer science in the EBacc will have a big impact on schools over the next decade," a spokesperson said.

"It will mean millions of children learning to write computer code so they are active creators and controllers of technology instead of just being passive users.

"It will be great for education, great for the economy, and will help restore the spirit of Alan Turing and make Britain a world leader again."

V3 has campaigned tirelessly for the government to give computer science "EBacc status", as have numerous skills groups, particularly the British Computer Society, universities and education advisors. IT firms including Microsoft, Google, IBM, BT and Facebook have added their weight to these calls.

V3 expected the announcement after hearing rumours on the Computing at Schools private members forums. However, the DfE would not confirm the news until today.

The announcement coincided with the opening day of the BETT annual trade show, which showcases education technology.

At the moment, the EBacc represents a measure used in UK school league tables to assess student performance in a set of core GCSE subjects: English, maths, sciences, history or geography and a language.

Gove said today that computer science will be added to the list of separate science options, which currently includes physics, biology and chemistry. Pupils who sit any three of the four separate sciences and get at least a GCSE grade C in two of them will get an EBacc.

Under Gove's plans, EBaccs will eventually replace GCSEs altogether in a modern day type of O-level, although this will only be for the core set of subjects that are currently EBacc measured. Subjects such as music, drama and religious education will continue as GCSEs.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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