National reports and policy documents
Created by Amanda Ford
last edited Apr 05 2021 by Richard Pawson
Here are links to relevant national reports on Computing at School. Most recent at the top.
March 2021. Disconnected? Exploring the digital skills gap by the Learning and Work Institute. "Ahead of the launch a new UK digital strategy, we need to see a step change in ambition – from the government, from employers and from providers – in order to meet future digital skills need." BBC coverage.
Feb 2021. Digital literacy within the computing curriculum by Raspberry Pi Foundation (Sue Sentance and James Robinson). "We seek to better define digital literacy, highlight its presence and importance in the computing curriculum, and outline a progression for digital literacy modelled by the Teach Computing Curriculum.
2020. On the comparability of different programming language routes through A-level Computer Science Masters thesis by Liz Harrison. Based on statistical analysis of 2019 AQA A-level Paper 1 results, concludes that there is little variation in results across the 5 programming languages. See discussion on CAS here.
August 2020. Scottish technology ecosystem: review by Mark Logan, commissioned by the Scottish Government. "We propose a transformation of Computing Science education at school level, with the principle that the subject must be treated, from 1st year at secondary school level with the same focus as Mathematics or Physics. We also recommend considerable expansion of extra-curricular support."
August 2019. Policy briefing on teachers of computing: recruitment, retention and development, Royal Society. This briefing updates aspects of the 2017 report to gain a better understanding of what has changed since then, and to note any significant developments in computing education. It draws on a range of sources to provide an overview of current computing provision in schools, focusing on computing teacher workforce supply and development, the uptake of computing in schools and areas for action. The data included in this briefing concern the secondary school system in England, unless stated otherwise. The term ‘computing’ incorporates both computer science and ICT related courses.
May 2019. The Roehampton annual computing education report, by Peter Kemp. A data-rich snapshot of the state of play in England, based on exams sat in summer 2018.
May 2019. Dynamics of data science skills, Royal Society. The work is an extensive exploration of the data science landscape. It illustrates an explosion in demand for data science talent and skills and it identifies key areas for action to ensure a sustainable and balanced ecosystem. Two accompanying packs present personal stories of careers in data science.
June 2018 The Roehampton Annual Computing Education Report: data from 2017 - data on the uptake of the computing GCSE and A-level, including breakdowns and inter-subject comparisons using region, school type, gender, ethnicity and pupil premium. Shows different school and student demographics offering CS compared to ICT. Reported by the BBC and TES
May 2018 Females and Computing - CAS Survey 2018 - Between the 19th March 2018 and 29th March 2018 CAS conducted a survey, shared to CAS members via the CAS Community forum, asking 14 - 18 year old girls several questions about their perceptions of computing and computer science. This document briefly summarises the findings of that survey.
March 2018 2018 Developer Skills Report, HackerRank. Based on a survey of around 40,000 developers. “Of the 17 countries represented in the survey with at least 100 respondents, the UK stands out with the highest share of developers who started coding as young as 5 to 10 years old. The majority of those developers are in their 30s and 40s today. Today, this culture of forward-thinking education has persisted in the UK — it became the first nation to modernize its curriculum by requiring kids as young as 5 to take programming classes."
Dec 2017 Life in 'likes', the UK Children’s Commissioner’s report on the effects of social media on 8-to-12-year-olds examines the way children use social media and its effects on their wellbeing. "While 8-10s use social media in a playful, creative way – often to play games – this changes significantly as children’s social circles expand as they grow older. This report shows that many Year 7 children are finding social media hard to manage and becoming over-dependent on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ for social validation. They are also adapting their offline behaviour to fit an online image, and becoming increasingly anxious about ‘keeping up appearances’ as they get older."
Nov 2017 Royal Society Report: After the Reboot The Royal Society published "Shut Down or Restart" in 2012 report which paved the way for schools to introduce computing into the national curriculum. This report follows on from that providing a snapshot of the changes that have taken place since 2012. They identify a number of key areas/challenges that governments, industry and school leaders need to address in order to, in their words "safeguard our future efficacy in the digital world".
Nov 2017 What Can You Do With a Masters in Political Science? People who go into the area of political science are passionate about the political environment and how it affects the everyday lives of the population. Political scientists study the way government and all its branches and sectors operate. They research political systems, their origin and development, as well as analyze political trends, issues, and public policy.
Nov 2017 Guide to getting a Master’s Degree in Computer Science So you’ve decided that getting a master’s degree is worth it and you want to embark on the journey. There are plenty of reasons to go to grad school and many types of master’s degrees that you can choose from.
Nov 2017 Guide to Best OT Schools in USA People’s awareness on various disabilities is continuously increasing and we strive to improve the lives of those who have certain challenges. Because of this, many medical professions which were not very popular are gaining higher recognition. One of them is Occupational Therapy. That’s why this article will go through how to choose a university and what the best OT schools are.
Nov 2017 How Long Does it Take to Get a Masters Degree As technological progression continues to replace technical jobs and employment opportunities, many people are looking into gaining more skills to meet the increasing needs of the labor market.
Jan 2017 Growing up digital, A report from the Children's Commissioner's Growing Up Digital Taskforce. "The current Computing curriculum sets out in detail the technical skills and some of the legal knowledge a child should have at different ages. The Children’s Commissioner however believes this is too narrow, and often too late; your data protection rights, for instance, are not taught until GCSE level, and GCSE Computing is not compulsory.”
Dec 2016 The Roehampton Annual Computing Education Report: 2015 data from England - data on the uptake of the computing GCSE and A-level, including breakdowns and inter-subject comparisons using region, school type, gender, ethnicity and pupil premium. Shows different school and student demographics offering CS compared to ICT. Reported by the BBC and Schoolsweek
Dec 2016 Tech literacy: a new cornerstone of modern primary school education, BT and Ipsos Mori. Includes survey results about the CAS Barefoot project.
Nov 2016 Jobs of the future, Pretty Curious and EDF Energy. Here's the PDF. Lots of info, including (from the executive summary) "Computing skills will be the most in demand, with the most job openings and the highest number of new jobs (25%). Computer services will be the most science-dependent industry followed by scientific research, information services, telecommunications and computers."
Oct 2016 Robotics and artificial intelligence, a report of the Commons Science and Technology Committee. Here's a Guardian article about it: "Schools not preparing children to succeed in an AI future, MPs warn". NB: the link in the Guardian article to the report is broken; use the one in this item.
August 2016 Computing Science Teachers in Scotland 2016 , a report by CAS Scotland detailing the number, distribution and issues affecting teachers currently teaching Computing in Scottish Schools using FOI data from GTCS, Initial Teacher Education, Local Authorities and SQA.
June 2016 Digital Skills Crisis, a report of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Some good stuff in here. "The Government has set targets for recruiting teachers in Maths and Physics. They should also make a similar pledge for Computer Science."; and "The Government deserves credit for its leadership in introducing the computing curriculum but there is still some way to go for it to become truly embedded in all schools, let alone delivered to a consistently high standard"; and "We therefore recommend that the Government increase its investment in [computer science] teacher training as a long term commitment".
May 2016 Shadbolt review of computer sciences degree accreditation and graduate employability. This review discusses the employment prospects for computer science graduates, especially in the light of some surprising data suggesting that CS graduates are more likely to be unemployed than other STEM graduates.
May 2016 The UK STEM education landscape, Royal Academy of Engineering. More than 600 UK organisations run initiatives that seek to engage schools with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), but despite more than 10 years of concerted effort, all this activity has not yet had the desired impact of increasing uptake of STEM subjects among young people. The report calls for future initiatives to be far more coordinated, with better evaluation of their long-term impact.
Feb 2016 Review of publicly funded digital skills qualifications, 34 pages. The working group was chaired by Liz Williams, Director Tech Literacy and Education Programmes, BT Group. From the Foreword "I frequently hear people use the term 'digital natives'. Given the strategic importance of this tech literacy, we must move away from the belief that people can acquire these essential skills by osmosis. We should not confuse the confidence young people have using technology with the overwhelming need to put in place a robust structure to deliver digital skills to the level required in the UK, today and going forward."
Jan 2016 Computing graduate employability: sharing practice, CPHC and HEA. "Computing is one of the largest subject areas in Higher Education, and is taught in almost every institution, graduating around 9,000 students each year. However Computing graduates are recorded as having the highest unemployment rates for all subjects (11% for Computing compared with an overall rate of 7% for graduates of all subjects). This new report, jointly published by the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) and Higher Education Academy (HEA) highlights the depth, complexity and richness of employability practices in the sector, and aims to share those practices more widely."
2015 Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels. This DfE-sponsored report isn't about computing specifically, but it is an interesting look at assessment
2015 Exam Factories?, a report from the National Union of Teachers. Not directly about computing, but a passionate and well-evidenced critique of the unintended consequences of the accountability measures now being used in England (Ofsted, Progress 8, SATs, etc etc).
2015 Young Digital Makers Report, from Nesta, sets out to provide comprehensive data and insight on the perceptions, participation and provision of digital making opportunities for young people nationwide.
2015 Make or break: the UK's Digital Future, report of the Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills, chaired by Baroness Sally Morgan, Feb 2015. It includes quite a bit about school education and teacher training. Direct link to PDF
2014 Computers at schools: it’s not enough to have them and it’s not enough to use them, Evidence Institute, Warsaw. Covers the board question of teaching ICT at school, but the second half of the abstract is very relevant to CAS: "The governments should no longer focus on providing ICT equipment as virtually all schools have computer labs and access to the Internet. More investment in this field would be counterproductive. The role of schools should be rather to teach students how to use computers and Internet in more sophisticated ways that facilitate learning and individual development. Teaching how computers work, e.g. with coding classes, should be introduced to school curricula."
2014 Mapping learner progression into digital creativity: Catalysts & Disconnects, a report of the Nominet Trust, Julian Sefton-Green and Lucy Brown, Oct 2014. TES article.
2014 Digital skills for tomorrow's world, report of the UK Digital Skills Task Force, chaired by Maggie Philbin. This report has a whole chapter on computing school.
2014 European Vacancy and Recruitment Report 2014. Low qualified workers encounter increasing difficulties to find a job, face lower job stability and are out-competed by medium-skilled workers even in elementary occupations. In contrast, job opportunities are growing in some high-skilled professions. These are the main findings of the European Vacancy and Recruitment Report 2014
2014 Policy Exchange Technology Manfesto, Policy Exchange, June 2014. Policy Exchange is an influential centre-right think tank. The "individuals" section makes direct and supportive references to the new Computing curriculum.
2013 Bugs in the System: Computer Science Teacher Certification in the U.S., ACM Computer Science Teachers Association, 2013. Summary blog post.
2013 (Dec)New A levels: subject content consultation BCS and CAS response to the consultation on new A Levels </p>
Jun 2013 The age of algorithms: algorithms, analytics, modelling and data for growth and public sector efficiencies, a letter to the Prime Minister from the UK Council for Science and Technology.
Mar 2013 In the balance: the STEM human capital crunch, Social Market Foundation.
Jan 2013 Technical Matters: Building a high quality technical and vocational route through the education system, a report for the Policy Exchange. Recommendations include:
2012 Technology Insights 2012, eSkills annual report on the education and employment scene in the technology sector. Has lots of useful facts and figures. Eg "The proportion of IT & telecoms professionals under 30 has fallen from 32% in 2001 to 19% in 2011."
Oct 2012 Michael Gove announces support for training Computer Science teachers, including £20,000 scholarships for initial teacher training. Video here, showing Michael Gove, Mark Dorling, Bill Mitchell, Ian Livingstone, and Chris Bishop. Coverage from the BBC, and the Guardian about it.
Naace, ITTE, and MirandaNet wrote to Mr Gove to express concern about initial teacher training and CPD opportunities. Here is the letter, and the reply from David Laws, which give some insight into DfE thinking.
Dec 2012 How to teach vocational education: a theory of vocational pedagogy, Centre for Real World Learning.
Oct 2012 Report of the London Mayor's Education Enquiry. This is obviously much broader than just computer science but it does mention computing in several places.
July 2012 Report of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, on Higher education in STEM subjects (117 pages) The good news is that the committee explicitly included Computer Science as a STEM subject. It contains some interesting data on CS:
June 2012 A tale of Tech City, a Demos report about East London's Tech City, which includes this quote from a TEch City entrepreneur in a section about Skills Gaps: "There just aren't enough Computer Scientists in the UK. And we need Computer Scientists, we don?t need – what do they call it – ICT trained people. We need real Computer Scientists who do software engineering and programming".
June 2012 CAS, Naace, ITTE Joint Statement A joint statement prepared by CAS, Naace and ITTE about Computer Science and ICT in schools
June 2012 System upgrade: realising the vision for UK education. A report about using technology to invigorate education, by the Technology Enhanced Learning research project. Includes a section on understanding how computers work that quotes the Royal Society report "Shut down or restart"
June 2012 Two DfE responses:
May 2012 The legacy of BBC Micro, a NESTA/Science Museum report, by Tilly Blyth. Includes some reflection on what teh legacy of the BBC Micro means for today's campaign for computer science.
April 2012 A levels not equipping students with appropriate mathematical skills. Two reports, one from Nuffield, and one from SCORE, analyse A levels for the level of mathematics required. Computing gets a sub-section of the Nuffield report, and comes out quite well. "The Nuffield Foundation examined the 2010 A-level papers for business studies, computing, economics, geography, psychology and sociology. The report concluded that with the exception of computing, the variation in mathematical content was so great that the qualifications did not give universities or employers a meaningful indication of students' level of mathematical skill or understanding."
Jan 2012; Removing the duty on maintained schools to follow the information and communication technology (ICT) Programmes of Study, DfE consultation document, 18 Jan 2012
March 2012 A curriculum framework for Computing and Information Technology - Computer Science is a crucial academic strand of school education, but a rounded education in computational thinking and digital systems is broader. This document puts the pieces together, covering what is currently called ICT
March 2012 The Case for Computing as a school subject - draws on the experience of the Computing at School Group and explains what Computer Science is, and why it is strategically important. It begins with a 4-page summary, followed by appendices that provide further background.
Jan 2012 Shut down or restart: the way forward for computing in UK schools, a major report from the Royal Society. Recommendations include:
The report also discusses the lack of teachers able to teach Computer Science and recommends that the Government put funding into teacher CPD, it also recommends that DfE should define the underlying principles and concepts of Computing and IT that students should encounter at school.
The new Computer Science courses will reflect what you all know: that Computer Science is a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject.
Computer Science requires a thorough grounding in logic and set theory, and is merging with other scientific fields into new hybrid research subjects like computational biology.
So I am also announcing today that, if new Computer Science GCSEs are developed that meet high standards of intellectual depth and practical value, we will certainly consider including Computer Science as an option in the English Baccalaureate.
Although individual technologies change day by day, they are underpinned by foundational concepts and principles that have endured for decades. Long after today?s pupils leave school and enter the workplace – long after the technologies they used at school are obsolete – the principles learnt in Computer Science will still hold true."
P24 "Despite their importance in balanced educational provision, we are not entirely persuaded of claims that design and technology, information and communication technology and citizenship have sufficient disciplinary coherence to be stated as discrete and separate National Curriculum ?subjects?."
Dec 2011 DfE's Summary report of the Call for Evidence for the NC Review; sadly
it makes no reference whatsoever to computing or computer science.