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Slower ICT curriculum rollout will disadvantage Welsh children

A new English ICT curriculum beginning in September may see schoolchildren in Wales disadvantaged against those in England, according to education experts.

They say this is because from autumn, it will be compulsory for English schools to teach skills such as computing and coding – but this will not become mandatory for Welsh schools for a minimum of four years.

Dr Tom Crick, Welsh government advisor, believes this delay will risk seeing Welsh pupils left behind.

Although many schools in Wales already teach computer coding and programming, it is not compulsory and reports say some teachers struggle with certain aspects.

With the Welsh government, Dr Crick is carrying out a review of the curriculum and will release a report on the future of education in Wales, including ICT.

“This is a global issue – not just about our competitiveness for Wales,” he claimed, speaking to the BBC.

“We’re looking at our competitiveness against other countries who have already made these significant changes and very clear declarations about they see computing education being very, very important,” Dr Crick added.

Government ICT Sector Panel Also Concerned

Chairman of the Welsh government’s ICT sector panel, Tom Kelly, echoed Dr Crick’s thoughts, claiming that a lack of necessary IT skills could lead to people missing out on jobs.

“There will be people coming from outside Wales into Wales who have got the competencies and the skills to be able to fill the jobs in Wales, which in reality should be filled by people in Wales,” Kelly claimed.

The chairman added that he was frustrated to see the recommendations from an ICT review published last year have seen a delay in implementation.

Meanwhile, the Welsh government has informed the UK press that digital literacy is a “vital element” in the redevelopment of the curriculum.