Today the government announced that Computer Science is going to be included in the English Baccalaureate. It will count as a science alongside physics, chemistry and biology. This follows Gove scrapping ICT and bringing in a more challenging computer curriculum, in order to meet the demand of technology in the wider world. Last October saw computer giants Google and Microsoft called upon Gove to include the new computer science curriculum in the EBacc.
This is quite an interesting move by Gove. Quite rightly, the current ICT curriculum is inadequate in preparing students for the wider world, especially for students who leave school straight after GCSE’s and head out into the world of work. However, there are a few issues with including it in the EBacc. Firstly, money. One of the main reasons that ICT has been inadequate is the lack of funding that has historically run alongside it. Technology moves very quickly and a lot of schools have failed to keep up with it due to financial restraints. So I’d quite like to see Gove put his money where his mouth is and support schools to deliver the new Computer Science component adequately. Secondly, while I think the inclusion of a more rigorous IT course is a good move, it has come at the expense of other equally worthwhile subjects. RE and the Arts have suffered greatly under the creation of the EBacc and this is a massive error on Goves’ part. There are many benefits for students to have to take an art through to GCSE, and RE is going to continue to be marginalised.
But RE isn’t going anywhere for now. And it’s not being quiet about the contant attacks from Gove. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about how the RE community is fighting back. To start with, the RE Council has launched a campaign, ReThink RE.
The campaign is clear. Good quality RE for all students. And for that to happen, it should be treated equally alongside other Humanities subjects.
Our aim is simple. We want to see every young person in every school given access to good quality RE. And we are urging those responsible to rethink their approach to RE.
RE links very well with the other Humanities subjects so including it with the EBacc gives it the same status. Why Gove is so against this I don’t know. But RE plays a vital role in a young persons education and it is worth fighting for.