- Somehow the technicalities of programming ('... work with variables and various forms of input and output; generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs ...') alongside the respect agenda and the focus on search engines makes for a set of requirements that seem strangely dated. Isn't the online world now more about creating content? Of course evaluating and analysing online information is more important than ever, given the ease in which content can now be created, but isn't encouraging children to create content the best way of learning its potential fallibility?
- Small point , but shouldn't 'solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts' be 'deconstructing'? I know decompose can mean to separate something into its components, but it is now more familiarly used to suggest decay. Deconstructing is what we want children to do - break down and dismantle problems ...
- Half the PoS statements at each key stage focus on the computer science agenda, giving an impression that Computing is a very different beast to ICT. The rest of the statements are about ICT, digital literacy, information literacy (whatever you want to call it!) and are very content-heavy. This is NOT a slimmed down curriculum.
- Going back to the programming content - for many (a majority?) of primary teachers (including ICT co-ordinators) this will be gobbledegook. And who is out there to help them make sense of it? LA advisory services are no more and the freelance training providers will be playing catch-up. Most have made a good living out of peddling the creative end of ICT (digital photography, animation, iPad apps) in the past few years - few are really equipped to suddenly switch to being programming gurus.
- And on a positive note - compared to some other subjects in the 'document for consultation', the Computing PoS has the potential to be translated into engaging, active, relevant and challenging activities for children. You can't learn this stuff by rote, thankfully.
On a day of quite stunning educational u-turns, 'The National Curriculum in England Framework document for consultation' appeared without much fanfare. Anyone searching within it for new ICT Programmes of Study was sadly disappointed - ICT is no more; instead we have 'Computing' - though the small print does concede that the change is subject to the outcome of consultation on changing the subject from ‘information and communication technology’ to ‘computing'. A change requiring legislation, I believe. Below are some initial random thoughts focusing on key stages one and two.
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.