The government has published details on a “new, more challenging” GSCE in computer science, and content for more “rigorous and demanding” GCSEs in music, art and design and physical education.
Content has also been published for A levels in dance, music and PE as part of a “commitment to raise the quality of arts education”.
The new computer science GCSE, which will be taught from 2016, will teach pupils how to write code, design programs and understand the ethical and legal impacts of digital technology.
It will include up-to-date content on issues such as cybersecurity, and “will provide young people with the knowledge and tangible skills they need to go on to further education and successful jobs”, said the Department for Education.
The GCSE in computer science builds upon changes made to computing teaching within the new national curriculum, brought in in September 2014.
Simon Peyton Jones, chair of Computing at School, which promotes the teaching of computer science at school, said: “I am delighted that Ofqual have formally introduced computer science as a GCSE subject with its own subject specification. The subject content reflects the computer science component of the new programmes of study for computing, and gives students a clear progression pathway from GCSE, through A level, to university study in the subject.”
New content in arts GCSEs will “allow pupils to develop their creativity and self-expression, and broaden their understanding of Britain’s cultural heritage, while equipping them with the underlying knowledge and technical skills they will need to compete in the arts”.
The music GCSE will include a greater focus on knowledge and critical engagement with a wide range of music, while there will be a new emphasis on drawing in art and design. In dance there will be new theoretical content requiring critical appreciation and understanding of professional works at GCSE, and critical engagement and embodied knowledge at A level, and in PE there will be a greater emphasis on theory and use of data to evaluate physical activity.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our plan for education is ensuring all pupils experience a broad and balanced education which will prepare them for life in modern Britain and enable them to access a wide range of jobs in a competitive global market.
“Today we are sending a clear message that arts education can be every bit as rigorous as the rest of the school curriculum. These subjects can lead to creative and rewarding careers in everything from engineering and design to our emerging digital industries.”
The government announced in April 2014 that a number of subjects would be reformed at GCSE, ready for teaching in September 2016.
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