Still "much work to be done" on skills, says Livingstone

Teachers lack "relevant qualifications" for computer science

48 hours after Education Secretary Michael Gove signalled a dramatic shift in the teaching of computing in UK schools, Ian Livingstone, co-author of the report that persuaded the Government, has admitted there remains "much work to be done".

Responding to concerns that teaching standards were insufficient to support a switch from ICT to computer science this year, Livingstone told

"We have to start from somewhere - there's a major task to develop skills in this area. Not enough ICT teachers currently have the relevant qualifications; however, the BCS [The Chartered Institute for IT] and Computing At School claim they have 1000 teachers in schools who are able to teach computer science today."

If we can show that computer science is rigorous enough then it could become an option alongside the other sciences.

Ian Livingstone

He added: "There needs to be a major push by industry and government to develop skills as part of continuing professional development as well as training a new generation of teachers to teach computer science."

Gove's speech marked a significant victory for the Next Gen Skills campaign, with the Government adopting the number one recommendation of the Livingstone-Hope report by pledging to put computer science on the National Curriculum.

But, noted Livingstone, his report had "20 recommendations for government, educators and industry," and he would continue to campaign for them.

"We have our work cut out," he acknowledged. "Solving the technical aspects of what makes an exciting, rigorous and industry relevant Computer Science GCSE is a real challenge. 

"Michael Gove made a really interesting reference to the new English Baccalaureate - if we can show that computer science, as developed by expert bodies, is rigorous enough then it could become an option alongside the other sciences.  That's a real prize for us."          

The Eidos executive also gave his take on what changed Gove's mind - with the Minister having been viewed for some time as a serious obstacle to the campaign's goals.    

"I think the Secretary of State finally understood that evidence and recommendations in Next Gen chimed with what other digital industries were saying," explained Livingstone. 

"Of course it took Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, to highlight the problem. But that opened the door to DfE, where I had some brilliant meetings with Michael Gove's special advisors.

"The government's formal response to Next Gen was very encouraging culminating in Michael Gove's historic speech at BETT."

Related stories

ESA opposes potential DMCA rule change aimed at preserving abandoned online games

"Preservation of online video games is now critical,” says Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment

By Haydn Taylor

Hawaii proposes landmark legislation against loot boxes

UPDATE: State representative who previously declared legislation a "slippery slope" affirms support for efforts toward regulating loot boxes; expects more states to follow Hawaii's lead

By Haydn Taylor

Latest comments (4)

Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales6 years ago
Forgive the naysaying, but all Gove has done is release schools from slavishly following an externally imposed curriculum. Everything else is now up to individuals. Where's the victory here, when the Foyal Society report says 1 in 3 are qualified to reach the current ICT curriculum. And where is the extra resourcing?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
jim ellis 2D/3D artist, design, illustration, concept artist, video editor 6 years ago
Well Im teaching on a games course for a break from Industry for a while...I'm pretty chuffed that ICT has been binned...but hang on - has it... tried to ask the IT department today to allow students to start learning Python or Java and what was the outcome.... "Oh no, that cant happen!"
"Why ever not?" said I.
"Well if they write scripts they could change something on the network, you'll have to find an alternative to them learning to program!!!!"
- so ICT is dead - HA I think not little puppy! So I did - cue - pants to syllabus...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
We are drowning in technology.

We need liberal arts expertise.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (4)
David Atkins Education 6 years ago
The trouble with having an IT curriculum set in stone is obvious. Teachers in state schools have been whipped by Ofsted for not following the NC. Now teachers have a reply to those Ofsted inspectors. Teachers now need Gove to put his money where his mouth is.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.