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Gove details GCSE reforms with strong focus on technology

The final document follows months of consultation into a renewed national curriculum

Education Secretary Michael Gove has today published the framework for England's new National Curriculum, which will see GCSE's reformed and introduced in 2014 with a strong focus on computing and technology.

The framework follows months of consultation on a draft that was released in February, but still excludes English, mathematics and science - the national curriculum framework for these subjects is expected in the Autumn.

However, a final view of how students will be taught Computing, which is set to replace the current GCSE in ICT, and Design and Technology has been released.

There have been little changes made to the GCSE Computing framework, which still aims to "equip pupils to use information technology to create programmes, systems and a range of media" so that students are educated to a level is "suitable for the future workplace".

The only noticeable additions to the Computing framework include the requirement that students can 'debug programs', as well as being able to 'use technology safely and respectfully'. There is now repeated reference to enabling students to be able to keep personal information private and ensuring that they know where to go for help and support when they have concerns about material on the internet.

"Perhaps the most significant change of all is the replacement of ICT with computing. Instead of just learning to use programmes created by others, it is vital that children learn to create their own programmes," said Gove.

"These changes will reinforce our drive to raise standards in our schools."

He added: "They will ensure that the new national curriculum provides a rigorous basis for teaching, provides a benchmark for all schools to improve their performance, and gives children and parents a better guarantee that every student will acquire the knowledge to succeed in the modern world."

Outside of GCSE Computing, there have been a number of changes made to the framework for Design and Technology, where the Education Secretary hopes that the UK can create a new generation of designers and engineers with the latest reforms.

The new document states that the national curriculum should "develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world". It also focuses on building and designing high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.

Gove said: "In particular we have revised the draft programmes of study for design and technology to ensure that they sufficiently reflect our aspirations that it should be a rigorous and forward-looking subject that will set children on a path to be the next generation of designers and engineers."

The government will now undergo a one month consultation on the legislative order of the document, which will give it statutory effect. Subject to the outcome of that consultation, Gove intends to finalise the new national curriculum this autumn so that schools have a year to prepare to teach it from September 2014.

In similar news, the Department for Education has also announced that the government will introduce Tech-Levels alongside A-Levels, which will be endorsed by employers and trade associations.


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