As the dust settles on the closure of the public consultation over the redraft of the computing curriculum education experts are in disagreement on what the government's next steps should be.
The Department for Education (DfE) told V3 that it is currently considering responses to the public consultation but could not provide a definite date of when the final version of the computing curriculum will be ready to view.
Critics of the proposed government computing curriculum have complained about the expanded topic focus, lack of creativity and the fact that it is weighted too heavily in the discipline of computer science.
The DfE received an initial set of recommendations from both the British Computer Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering on what should be included in the new computing curriculum last year.
Although these recommendations were geared towards the discipline of computer science, the DfE has admitted deliberately extending the focus of the curriculum even further towards the computer science before launching the national consultation in March.
Peter Twining, a senior lecturer at the Open University, told V3 that, in light of comments made during the public consultation, he expects the DfE's strong emphasis on the discipline of computer science will be dumbed down slightly in the final computing curriculum.
"It's too early to know whether the consultation has been positive or not - it will depend upon what the outcomes are," said Twining.
"However, it seems clear that there is a consensus that the computing programme of study needs to have the digital literacy elements strengthened in order to rebalance it, as it's currently too weighted towards computer science. "
Meanwhile Roger Broadie, a long-serving education consultant, said the government had tried to be too rigorous and specific in its computing curriculum content.
"In places the current proposals do specify far too much. The national curriculum should be couched in statements that are independent of specific knowledge, which changes over time," said Broadie.
"Rigour comes from the assessment system that dictates how the programme of study should be assessed."
Meanwhile the BCS has come out in strong support of the government proposed curriculum, although such support is unsurprising considering the BCS input heavily into the document.
"It's great that the draft curriculum proposes computing starts at primary school. We know that primary school children enjoy learning computing, they are good at computer programing, they benefit from learning computational thinking," Bill Mitchell, BCS director, told V3.
"If the draft curriculum is adopted then what we need to do next is to help headteachers, especially at primary, to plan how they are going to teach this curriculum and in such a way that will suit their school and their pupils."
In the BCS official response to the curriculum consultation, the society told the DfE that schools could not be expected to be ready to deliver the new curriculum by September 2014 - the date when schools will need to adhere to the revised curriculum. This is because many school teachers need further training in order to be able to teach the computer science elements.
Last Thursday the BCS received £2m in funding from the government to build out its existing Network of Excellence (NoE) in Teaching Computer Science programme, so that teachers will soon be in a position to deliver the new curriculum.
There has also been disagreement among education experts as to whether the government should move forward with its proposed name change of the subject from ‘ICT' to ‘computing'
Education bodies Naace and Vital have argued that the name should not be changed, while the BCS again sided with the government and agreed with the rename of the subject to computing. Key Stage 4 of the curriculum is also being greatly contested by education experts.
While the BCS has supported the DfE in its belief that the year of school when pupils start their GCSEs should contain fairly minimal computing curriculum demands, others like Miles Berry, a computing lecturer at Roehampton University have disagreed.
V3 is currently running a Make IT better campaign to improve computing learning in schools.
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