Posts Tagged ‘Wales’
Today, the ICT Steering Group published its review of the ICT curriculum in Wales, at a launch at Box UK’s office in Cardiff attended by Huw Lewis AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education and Skills.
This is the culmination of eight months of discussion, evaluation and consultation, to identify a way forward for ICT in Wales. As co-chair of this review, I am delighted with what we have delivered: a declaration of intent for Wales, to change the profile and perception of a subject of tremendous educational and economic importance to Wales. I truly hope that the Welsh Government adopt the report’s recommendations in full and use this as an opportunity to highlight the importance of computing and digital literacy in a modern, challenging and aspirational national curriculum.
As per today’s written Ministerial Statement:
The report of the ICT Steering Group, published today, poses some very significant questions and explores themes that we must now consider in the context of the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum…I am very grateful for this report and will respond in full to all these recommendations in due course.
- A new subject named Computing should be created to replace Information and Communications Technology (ICT) from Foundation Phase onwards. This new subject will disaggregate into two main areas: Computer Science (CS); and Information Technology (IT).
- Computing should be integrated into the curriculum as the fourth science, served by a mandatory Programme of Study, and receive the same status as the other three sciences.
- A Statutory Digital Literacy (DL) Framework should be implemented to work alongside the Literacy and Numeracy Framework from Foundation Phase through to post-16 education.
- Perceptions of Computing education pathways should be changed to recognise the key societal roles of computing and technology, as well as promote the importance and diversity of IT careers.
- The revised Computing curriculum should encourage creativity, allow thematic working and develop real world problem-solving. It should be flexible enough to continually evolve to remain current, adopting an Agile ideology and approach to ensure this.
- A range of engaging and academically rigorous pathways and bilingual qualifications for Computing and Digital Literacy should be devised, encouraging interest and opportunities for deeper learning.
- Engagement and collaboration between education and industry should be an integral part of the curriculum to embed current practices and skills.
- Pathways for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in Computing should be created to encourage the best talent into the profession. All entrants to the teaching profession should have the skills to deliver the Digital Literacy Framework (DLF).
- A programme of training and professional development to enable the new Computing curriculum should be accessible to new and existing teachers.
- A National Technology Framework should be devised to create an effective technology infrastructure for education. Welsh Government, local authorities, industry and learning providers should be responsible for its effective implementation and strategic development.
- Effective monitoring arrangements should be created for Computing and the Digital Literacy Framework. Estyn should consider relevant changes to the Common Inspection Framework in light of all of these recommendations.
- An appropriate body or properly constituted group should oversee the implementation of these recommendations. Its remit would need to be broad enough to encompass this crucial governance role, utilising appropriate expertise and representing key stakeholders.
Today saw the publication of the first combined The Times and The Sunday Times University Guide 2014 (£), in which the University of Birmingham was named University of the Year, along with strong performances from Bath and Coventry (also named Modern University of the Year). Looking at the methodology for the new combined guide, with higher weightings on student satisfaction (NSS) and research quality (RAE 2008), it looks similar to the original Times methodology rather than the Sunday Times. Whilst generally sceptical of the plethora of university rankings and league tables, I wholeheartedly agree with Phil Baty (Editor-at-Large, THE) — it seems mad to reward universities for dishing out more first and upper second class degrees, as surely this metric is trivially improved?
As always, there are familiar institutions in the top 10 of the Computer Science category; due to the similarity in methodology, I’ve compared this new combined table to last year’s Times table (but it is also worth comparing to the 2013 Sunday Times table). I’ve also added another column to compare to the position in the overall table:
|1.||1.||↔||University of Cambridge||1.|
|2.||2.||↔||Imperial College London||5.|
|3.||5.||↑||University of St Andrews||4.|
|4.||3.||↓||University of Oxford||2.|
|5.||8.||↑||University of Southampton||20.|
|6.||14.||↑||University of Birmingham||16.|
|7.||4.||↓||University of Bristol||15.|
|8.||7.||↓||University of Glasgow||25.|
|9.||11.||↑||University of Bath||7.|
|10.||10.||↔||University of Edinburgh||22.|
And the rankings for Wales:
|66.||72.||↑||Cardiff Metropolitan University||87.|
N.B. there was no data available for the University of South Wales (formed from the recent merger between University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport) or the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (formed from the recent merger between University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University).
While there have been some significant drops in ranking for a number of Welsh institutions (most likely to due to student satisfaction scores), this does not seem to correlate with the 2014 Guardian University Guide from June (which also places a high value on the NSS). However, it is encouraging to see Cardiff just outside the top 20.
University ranking season is upon us once again — this week saw the publication of the Guardian University Guide 2014. In the Computer Sciences and IT category, there has been significant movement in the top 10, especially comparing against the 2013 table:
|1.||↑||University of Birmingham||(7th)|
|2.||↑||University of Glasgow||(8th)|
|3.||↑||Imperial College London||(4th)|
|4.||↑||University of Bristol||(5th)|
|5.||↓||University of Southampton||(3rd)|
|6.||↑||University of Sheffield||(10th)|
|7.||↑||University of Bath||(11th)|
|8.||↓||University of Cambridge||(1st)|
|10.||↑||University of Warwick||(13th)|
As always, of particular interest to me were the Welsh rankings:
|88.||↓||Cardiff Metropolitan University||(64th)|
(N.B. no data was available for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the recently formed University of South Wales)
Looking at the table headings and the methodology, research does not feature as one of the ranking metrics, while student satisfaction (in particular, indicators from the National Student Survey) features highly; as you can see from last year’s university guides, the different metrics and weightings can change the ordering somewhat.
The Public Policy Institute is a Programme for Government commitment that seeks to develop independent sources of expert policy advice for the Welsh Government. It will improve the robustness of policy in Wales and make the Welsh Government a more intelligent customer in terms of research and advice.
Following an open, competitive process, initiated last autumn, applications were received from a range of parties and were assessed by a panel independently chaired by Professor Frances Ruane of the Dublin Economic and Social Research Institute. The evaluation has concluded and I have been able to appoint Cardiff University to run the Public Policy Institute which will include a network of experts drawn from Universities, think tanks and other research organisations from across Wales, the UK and beyond. Organisations already recruited to the network include research groups based in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Liverpool and Swansea Universities. This is the beginning of a wider network of economic, social and environmental experts, including those from outside of Wales.
The Public Policy Institute contract will be for an initial three-year period, subject to a process of evaluation and review, and will have an annual budget of £450,000. The Institute will be led in the interim by Professor Steve Martin while a permanent Director is appointed. I expect the Institute to be launched operationally in the autumn.
As mentioned above, the creation of a Welsh Public Policy Institute is a Programme for Government commitment, with the aim of guiding the reform and improvement of public services. This is a great result for Cardiff University, who will be working with research groups from Aberystwyth, Bangor, South Wales, Liverpool and Swansea universities, as well as the think tanks The Bevan Foundation, the Institute of Welsh Affairs and Wales Public Services 2025.
In light of the significant commitments made by the Welsh Government for science in Wales, especially from a policy perspective, let’s hope that there is a clear theme of science and technology in this new Public Policy Institute for Wales.
Next week I will be speaking at Digital 2013, a headline Welsh Government event highlighting the importance of the ICT sector in Wales. In preparation for the event, I was interviewed to discuss the “Digital 2013 Opportunity“, especially with the ongoing ICT review in Wales, as well as broader science, technology and innovation policy:
Computer science touches upon all three of my education priorities: literacy, numeracy and bridging the gap. It equips learners with the problem-solving skills so important in life and work.
The value of computational thinking, problem-solving skills and information literacy is huge, across all subjects in the curriculum. I therefore believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn concepts and principles from computer science.
Indeed, computing is a high priority area for growth in Wales. The future supply and demand for science, technology and mathematics graduates is essential if Wales is to compete in the global economy.
It is therefore vitally important that every child in Wales has the opportunity to study computer science.
Leighton Andrews AM, Minister for Education and Skills (June 2012)
As co-chair of the Welsh Government’s ICT Steering Group, announced in January to consider the future of ICT and computer science in Welsh schools, we are currently inviting stakeholder views as part of a wider open consultation.
Please participate by completing the official online survey (available in English and Welsh) by Friday 10th May 2013.
|1.||↔||University of Cambridge||(1st)|
|2.||↑||Imperial College London||(3rd)|
|3.||↓||University of Oxford||(2nd)|
|4.||↑||University of Glasgow||(9th)|
|5.||↓||University of Bristol||(4th)|
|6.||↑||University of Exeter||(15th)|
|7.||↑||University of Birmingham||(16th)|
|8.||↓||University College London||(6th)|
|9.||↑||University of York||(10th)|
|10.||↓||University of Warwick||(8th)|
As always, the rankings for Wales institutions in Computer Science were of particular interest to me:
|76.||↓||University of Glamorgan||(63rd)|
|89.||↓||Cardiff Metropolitan University||(88th)|
N.B. no data was available for Swansea Metropolitan University or the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (who merged in 2012), or for the University of Wales, Newport (who recently merged with the University of Glamorgan to form the University of South Wales.
The Complete University Guide’s methodology for the subject league tables are based on four measures: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects. To qualify for inclusion in a subject table, a university has to have data for at least two of the four measures; a blank in the Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects columns is not a zero score but rather denotes that no valid data were available.
On 19 November, I chaired a seminar to consider the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales. The seminar was attended by representatives from a range of key stakeholders including schools, the National Digital Learning Council, Further Education, Higher Education, awarding organisations, industry and the media.
Following a lively and engaging discussion, there were a number of key themes that emerged that I am keen to consider further, they include:
- ‘ICT’ in schools needs to be re-branded, re-engineered and made relevant to now and to the future;
- Digital literacy is the start and not the end point — learners need to be taught to create as well as to consume;
- Computer science should be introduced at primary school and developed over the course of the curriculum so that learners can progress into a career pathway in the sector.
- Skills, such as creative problem-solving, should be reflected in the curriculum; and,
- Revised qualifications need to be developed in partnership with schools, Higher Education and industry.
I have established a Steering Group to take forward consideration of the future of computer science and ICT in schools. The group will consider the key findings of the seminar, develop proposals in relation to their implementation, and provide a report on the way forward.
The membership of the Steering Group is comprised of representatives from a cross-section of key stakeholders and includes:
- Co-Chair: Stuart Arthur (Box UK)
- Co-Chair: Dr Tom Crick (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
- Co-Chair: Janet Hayward (Cadoxton Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Professor Khalid Al-Begain (University of Glamorgan)
- Chris Britten (Ashgrove Special School, Vale of Glamorgan)
- Lucy Bunce (Y Pant Comprehensive School, Rhondda Cynon Taff)
- Gareth Edmondson (Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Swansea)
- Mark Feeney (e-skills UK)
- Charlie Godfrey (Fujitsu)
- Magi Gould (Bangor University)
- Mark John (Vision Thing Communications)
- Ben Lidgey (Monitise)
- Hannah Mathias (St David’s College, Cardiff)
- Professor Faron Moller (Swansea University)
- Gareth Morlais (BBC Wales)
- Simon Pridham (Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea)
- Maldwyn Pryse (Estyn)
- Glyn Rogers (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool)
The group will report to me by July 2013 and provide recommendations on the way forward.
The recommendations will inform the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales, which I announced on 1 October. Any necessary changes will be considered as part of any revisions to the National Curriculum in Wales.
This is a hugely positive step by the Welsh Government, especially in light on the wider review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales (as well as the recently published 14-19 Review of Qualifications); it also complements the activities of the National Digital Learning Council. I am very much looking forward to co-chairing this review and developing a modern, rigorous and challenging ICT curriculum for Wales.
The ICT sector in Wales is a driving force in both economic development and wider social change and it encourages productivity and competiveness across the economy. The sector in Wales is global and dynamic and includes a wide range of companies from blue-chip corporates through to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises across IT services, software, telecommunications and electronics.
In this context, I am determined to ensure that learners progressing through our education system have the skills required to work in and contribute to the sector.
There has been a significant decline in the number of learners taking the GCSE ICT course in Wales and I am aware that some employers have expressed concern over what is being taught in schools, that young people are being ‘switched off’ careers in the sector, and that they lack the necessary skills. There is a risk that the current curriculum is failing to provide young people with relevant skills.
On 1 October 2012, I announced a review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales. The review aims to streamline and simplify assessment arrangements and consider the National Curriculum core and other foundation subjects at each stage, to ensure that our expectations of content and skills developments are suitably robust.
As part of this wider review, the time is right to consider the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales. I will begin this process by chairing a seminar on 19 November, which will bring together some of the key players in Wales to discuss the future of ICT in schools.
I have invited representatives from the National Digital Learning Council, Further Education, Higher Education, and industry to contribute to what I hope will be a lively and informative debate on the best way forward and how to ensure that Wales is well placed to play a leading role in the global economy of the future.
I have been invited to this meeting on the 19th, so I hope to have more information in a couple of weeks.