School inspectorate report says more must be done to train teachers and make curriculum relevant
The teaching of information, communication and technology (ICT) in schools continues to be inadequate and fails to challenge pupils, an Ofsted report has said.
The ICT in Schools 2008-2011 report, published today by the schools inspection body, found that nearly 50 per cent of secondary schools surveyed were not meeting the needs of students with the curriculums and qualification routes they provided.
Although Ofsted found the subject was being better taught in primary schools, where two thirds of schools had good or 'outstanding' curriculums, there were weaknesses at all levels in the teaching of more demanding topics such as databases and programming.
The report echoes Ofsted's concerns from its previous report into the teaching of ICT in schools.
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, Miriam Rosen, said: "In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, young people need to be given the opportunity to learn ICT skills in an interesting, challenging and relevant way.
"Schools should provide a range of ICT courses that are suitably matched to students' needs, support them with their learning and prepare them for higher education and for skilled work in a technological age."
In 30 of the 74 secondary schools visited, nearly half of students reached the age of 16 without adequate foundation for further study or training in ICT and related subjects. The report prompted Schools Minister Nick Gibb to say ICT teaching was "far too patchy".
This has led to a drop of 64 per cent in the number of children taking GCSEs in ICT subjects since 2007, and the number taking ICT subjects at A-Level have also fallen. One positive note is that more pupils are studying vocational qualifications in technology.
Ofsted said that one way in which to improve the teaching of ICT would be to improve subject-specific support and professional development for teachers, which would lead to more relevant and interesting curriculums.
Ofsted also urged schools to encourage girls to continue studying ICT beyond the ages of 14 and 16. It pointed out that all pupils would benefit if schools engaged more with local IT businesses "to bring the subject alive and provide a fuller understanding of ICT-related career options".
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