On 19 November, I chaired a seminar to consider the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales. The seminar was attended by representatives from a range of key stakeholders including schools, the National Digital Learning Council, Further Education, Higher Education, awarding organisations, industry and the media.
Following a lively and engaging discussion, there were a number of key themes that emerged that I am keen to consider further, they include:
- ‘ICT’ in schools needs to be re-branded, re-engineered and made relevant to now and to the future;
- Digital literacy is the start and not the end point — learners need to be taught to create as well as to consume;
- Computer science should be introduced at primary school and developed over the course of the curriculum so that learners can progress into a career pathway in the sector.
- Skills, such as creative problem-solving, should be reflected in the curriculum; and,
- Revised qualifications need to be developed in partnership with schools, Higher Education and industry.
I have established a Steering Group to take forward consideration of the future of computer science and ICT in schools. The group will consider the key findings of the seminar, develop proposals in relation to their implementation, and provide a report on the way forward.
The membership of the Steering Group is comprised of representatives from a cross-section of key stakeholders and includes:
- Co-Chair: Stuart Arthur (Box UK)
- Co-Chair: Dr Tom Crick (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
- Co-Chair: Janet Hayward (Cadoxton Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Professor Khalid Al-Begain (University of Glamorgan)
- Chris Britten (Ashgrove Special School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Lucy Bunce (Y Pant Comprehensive School, Rhondda Cynon Taff)
- Gareth Edmondson (Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Swansea)
- Mark Feeney (e-skills UK)
- Charlie Godfrey (Fujitsu)
- Magi Gould (Bangor University)
- Mark John (Vision Thing Communications)
- Ben Lidgey (Monitise)
- Hannah Mathias (St David’s College, Cardiff)
- Professor Faron Moller (Swansea University)
- Gareth Morlais (BBC Wales)
- Simon Pridham (Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea)
- Maldwyn Pryse (Estyn)
- Glyn Rogers (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool)
The group will report to me by July 2013 and provide recommendations on the way forward.
The recommendations will inform the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales, which I announced on 1 October. Any necessary changes will be considered as part of any revisions to the National Curriculum in Wales.
This is a hugely positive step by the Welsh Government, especially in light on the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales (as well as the recently published 14-19 Review of Qualifications); it also complements the activities of the National Digital Learning Council. I am very much looking forward to co-chairing this review and developing a modern, rigorous and challenging ICT curriculum for Wales.