BCS calls for computer science to be included in the EBacc


A new report from BCS urges that computer science should be included as an optional subject within the EBacc and a new computer science EBacc certificate should be developed as soon as possible.

The case for computer science as an option in the English Baccalaureate” was published recently by the Institute. The report represents the considered opinions of a wide range of experts from Microsoft, Google, IBM, BT, Facebook, Eidos, Metaswitch Networks, Double Negative, Raspberry Pi and Bloodhound, Russell Group university Computer Science departments such as Edinburgh, Manchester and Queen Mary, as well as BCS, Intellect, Next Gen Skills campaign and Computing at School (CAS).

In January 2012 at BETT Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove MP said: “If new Computer Science GCSEs are developed that meet high standards of intellectual depth and practical value, we will certainly consider including computer science as an option in the English Baccalaureate.” BCS’ report provides convincing evidence that some of the new GCSEs in computer science require a higher degree of intellectual depth to achieve grade C than is required by some physics GCSEs.

Bill Mitchell, Director of BCS, Academy of Computing, part of the Institute said: “When the EBacc was introduced computer science did not exist as a separate GCSE subject, but now there are at least two that we have shown far exceed the standards of rigour necessary to justify their inclusion in the EBacc.
"We also now have the Royal Society and Next Gen reports explaining that computer science is a rigorous, intellectually challenging subject that should be taught in schools and that should be included as an EBacc option We’re therefore calling on Mr Gove to follow up on his promise.

“We need computer science to be a significant part of a renewed ICT curriculum that also encompasses digital literacy and information technology. All of these are important, but without computer science in the EBacc there just will not be enough secondary schools willing to take on the challenge of introducing such a rigorous subject at GCSE level. That will be bad news for UK plc at a time when we need to out-educate all of our international competitors to remain competitive.”

Bill concluded: “Making computer science an option within the EBacc would signal the educational and economic importance government attaches to the subject, and at the same time give head teachers a concrete incentive to offer and resource the subject, and encourage students to take it.”

The BCS report splits consideration of whether Computer Science should be included in the EBacc into two parts:
First, as a matter of principle, should the school subject of Computer Science be an option within the EBacc?
Second, in practice, is there clear evidence to suggest some existing GCSEs in Computer Science should qualify for inclusion within the EBacc and that it is possible to develop a new EBacc Certificate in Computer Science?

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