IT is dead, long live ICT!

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The 3rd November announcement about the end of the IT GCSE and GCE is exactly that, the end of IT GCSE and GCE, not the end of IT as a subject. Following the Wolf Report and subsequent vocational review, qualifications used by schools and attracting league table points need to be either GCSE within a specific category or agreed vocational qualifications.  The Wolf Report, however, said that the vocational versions had to be more rigorous and fit for purpose (they scrapped 96% of existing IT qualifications) and there a number of these ICT qualifications still available from TLM, OCR, Edexcel, City and Guilds and BCS that attract league table points now and for 2017.   The DfE list of technical awards that count for 2018 is expected to be released shortly and we expect to see the majority of the existing qualifications to continue to enjoy league table points. The new specification for Vocational qualifications means they are expected to be co-developed and backed by industry and students need to report back on how well they helped them in their career.  If anything, the requirements for the vocational IT qualifications are far better than a GCSE/GCE due to the tight regulations.

A conversation I had this morning with the DfE confirmed that the announcement means that the expectation is for more challenging and interesting IT qualifications in the vocational space.  This is a wonderful opportunity to prepare our students for lots of different careers in a changing world. The GCSE/GCE CS will cover the academic and theoretical route of computers and the vocational qualifications will take care of the rest.  Given that CS is now a statutory curriculum subject, this makes sense.

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About the Author
Ian Lynch has worked in a range of roles in 4 LAs an independent school and a CTC. Led OFSTED teams, been an assessor of the NPQH and set up and run three education based enterprises. Main interest is in driving actions that can make a difference within the constraints of "the system" using knowledge of how "the system" works.
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    Paul Child Reply

    I would love to be offering a vocational ICT qualification for those students not taking CS GCSE, however, as with many schools our students now opt in year 8 which means that we never know whether a qualification will count in league tables.  My SLT, with some justification, simply won't allow it.

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      Paul Taylor Reply

      I do understand that.  However, DfE (and us AOs) have gone through a great deal of pain following the Wolf Report to make sure that vocational (now called Technical) qualifications are of a certain quality and meet their criteria.  They are planning to revise their regulations so that qualifications can be added on a rolling process as they appreciate that schools need more than 2 years to make their choices.  They publish what is required of AOs and almost all qualifications follow a similar pattern in terms of content so that there is compatibility across IT.  OCR have set a precedent as they said their quals were on the 2017 tables and they were not when published.  They appealed and changed them until they were.  There is no cast iron guarantee in anything, but the current IT qualifications, baring some disaster, should be around for a while*.  Therefore, if your students opted for a qualification in Y8 and it no longer had performance points in their Year 11 (when they count) they could transition to another AO and they would accredit prior learning.

      * A caveat here is that I have heard noises that ministers are not happy with a certain IT qualification that is completed in a week with no 120GLH.  As long as qualifications meet the guidelines set out by DfE and Ofqual, which are clearly set out in advance, they should be on the tables.  If not the one you choose, then one that they can transfer too.  DfE are not going to punish students for something that is beyond their control.

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