BTEC: Supporting and encouraging the computer science revolution

Thu Feb 07 16:04:00 UTC 2013

The Department for Education (DfE) recently announced that computer science will be included in its major reforms of the school curriculum.

We welcome the endorsement of computer science as an important strand of the curriculum.

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There are different approaches to computer science, and we're pleased to be able to offer significant computer science content within our BTEC Firsts in Information and Creative Technology for students who want a vocational approach.

The next generation BTEC Firsts in I&CT have been developed to inspire level 2 learners to become technology-savvy producers of technology products and systems, rather than consumers of them.

Computer science is a major part of these qualifications. Unit 1: The Online World and Unit 2: Technology Systems are core units, and contain around 40% computer science content. There are also plenty of optional units to choose from which boast relevant content on programming (Unit 12: Software Development), computer games and app development (Unit 8: Mobile App Development, Unit 17: Multimedia Products Development) and automated vehicles (Unit 16: Automated Computer Systems).

But it’s not just schools that should benefit from this new focus on computer science. We're also pleased to announce that the Diploma size of the qualification, which was developed with FE colleges in mind, contains a specific computer science pathway, with an additional programming unit and a core unit on computational thinking.

The need to bring computational thinking into schools was specifically highlighted within the DfE’s announcement, and we're pleased that colleges should be able to offer it for first teaching from September 2013 (subject to accreditation).

We also welcome the recent announcement that Google is funding 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers for students to help promote the uptake of computer science. This exciting initiative will be of enormous benefit to BTEC schools and colleges, who will be able to use the Raspberry Pi as a teaching tool to deliver BTEC Firsts in Information and Creative Technology.

Schools and FE colleges can be confident that their vocational offering reflects the exciting developments within the IT sector and creative industries.

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To learn more about how the recent focus on computer science can benefit your school or college, please speak to your ICT subject advisor Gareth Byrne. You can call Gareth and his team on 0844 372 2186 or reach him by email at TeachingICT@pearson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @PearsonICT.

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