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.