Press release: There's more to computing than coding - March 2015

Author: Claire Lloyd

Naace Strategic Conference on 25 - 26 March 2015

‘New computing curriculum isn’t just about programming’

Naace, the community of educators, technologists and policy makers to discuss the new computing curriculum at the Naace Strategic Conference, East Midlands Conference Centre 25and 26of March. One of the discussions will focus on how, in some schools, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) - a key element in the curriculum - is getting lost in the rush to provide more teaching of computer science (the study of computers and computational systems).  

The new computing curriculum is interpreted as putting significantly more emphasis on the computing science element but in reality it still requires the teaching of all of the IT content that was included in the previous ICT curriculum (this included the study of any communication device, how to use it and some programming was included). The ICT element of the curriculum is hugely valuable to our learners, just as much as the computing science parts. Though all children need some experience of how to program a computer, only a very small percentage of those moving on to careers requiring computing skills will work as programmers, in areas such as games design and finance. Even those who program business computer tools spend most of their time using libraries of already written routines rather than writing new code.

Careers that require good computing skills are a major part of the economy. They include operation and management of commercial and industrial business systems, web design and e-commerce, creative systems, design, graphics and many more. Although these require people to understand what a program is, jobs in these areas require more of a deep understanding of the capabilities of the tools and systems analysis.  But almost all occupations require some basic knowledge of computers.

Mark Chambers, Naace Chief Executive said “I have spoken with many people who are well informed about careers involving computing knowledge and skills, and they have put the percentage of young people in these careers who will spend the majority of their time programming at less than 5%. It is vital that schools ensure that all aspects of ICT are taught as part of the curriculum. This is best done by giving pupils practical creative experiences in using ICT tools such as spreadsheets, databases, creative tools, data-sensing and analysis and so on in the curriculum areas that provide the real-world context for their use. This does not mean that we placidly accept the poor standard of teaching in some of these areas that led to curriculum change. It does, however, mean we put every effort into improving the quality of learning and teaching of all strands of the computing curriculum, not just computer science. These elements and more will be topics of discussion at the Naace Strategic Conference, the East Midlands Conference Centre on 25 – 26 March”

The Naace Strategic Conference returns to the East Midlands Conference Centre on 25 - 26 March 2015.

Press release: There's more to computing than coding - March 2015