Ofsted has warned of a severe skills crises that looks set to hit the teaching of ICT and computer science.
The school inspection body said many computing teachers lack the skills needed to provide pupils with a well-rounded education of the subject. This situation is likely to get worse now that the curriculum is expected to become more focussed on science and programming.
Ofsted national advisor for ICT David Brown said the challenge of providing ICT and computing teachers with right skill-set will be "enormous" for the education sector.
"It's going to be a particular problem at primary [level]. I don't think this been completely grasped yet and continuing professional development (CPD) training does need to be done now," said Brown, further noting the shortage of CPD courses on offer to computing teachers,
Brown warned that if teachers do not undertake CPD classes, the government's new computer science school curriculum is in danger of collapsing. He said computing teachers are especially lacking in their programming skills.
The DfE launched its revised "computing" curriculum earlier this month for a three-month national consultation that will conclude on 16 April.
The revised curriculum will eventually replace "ICT" study programmes currently being run by schools, with the new computing curriculum due to come into force in September 2014.
Brown said at the moment, when Ofsted rates schools on their provision of an ICT education, the body looks for a stimulating programme of study, one that is relevant to the lives of pupils and reflects industry use of ICT.
Brown's comments do not spell good news for the subject of computing in schools. Already there is a lack of computing teachers becoming qualified to train students in the subject.
Brown was speaking at a Westminster Education Forum in London, where other education experts also voiced their concerns about the dire need to up-skill the computing teaching profession.
Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education, said Ofsted would be crucial in driving teachers to change how and what they teach computing pupils.
"Education is a conservative profession. Everyone's always trying to get back to what they're used to teaching," he added.
Meanwhile Ian Livingstone, co-chair of Next Gen Skills and president of Eidos, said until now, with the government's current ICT education reforms, the subject was always geared at teaching children how to use technology but not how to create.
Livingstone said the new curriculum being proposed by the Department for Education (DfE) will require teachers to change their skill-sets to become more mathematical and innovative.
"In effect we have been teaching children how to read but not to write," said Livingstone.
"Maybe there's even an argument that existing maths teachers should do ICT teaching rather than existing ICT teachers," he added.
However Genevieve Smith-Nunes, head of computing and software development for Sussex Downs College, said she believes computing teachers already understand there is a need for them to brush up on their skills.
She said this understanding is growing now that the DfE has published its proposed computing curriculum.
"I offered CPD course and before November [prior to the government publishing its proposed curriculum] no one came," she said.
"Now we 40 people signed up to each of the CPD courses we are running."
"It's important for teachers to feel confident they can teach the breadth and depth of the subject."
V3 is currently running a Make IT Better campaign to improve education in schools.
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