PARN Global News Article - 24 August 2018

Record number of students celebrated top grades in Computer Science GCSE, but the number of students sitting computing qualifications has fallen overall. 

It is no secret that we are living in a very digital and techonlogical age, and increasingly more roles and careers are requiring computing skills of some degree.

So why despite this well-known fact, are fewer GCSE students electing to study computing? 

The government has set a target to get 2.1 million new technical and digitally skilled people in the workforce by 2022. But with fewer students choosing to study computing, is this a feasible figure?


Looking 2018's GCSE results, of those who sat Computer Science exams, 44,164 students  ­- 61.4% of the total - attained grades 9 to 4, equivalent to the old A* to C grades, with 14,961 - 20.7% of the total ­- achieved grades 9 to 7, equivalent to the old A* and A grades. 

This is almost double the number of students who took ICT GCSEs. Of those who took ICT, 27,357 students - 64.4% of the total - attained grades 9 to 4. The number of candidates sitting ICT was 42,480, down 41.8% year-on-year.

Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS, said: 

“These results are testament to the energy and enthusiasm teachers have put into giving a great many children the high quality, inspiring computing education they need.” 

The number of candidates sitting Computer Science was 71,928, up 11.2% year-on-year.

According to BCS, despite these figures, there has been a decline of 22,850 - or 16.6% - of students leaving Key Stage 4 with a qualification in computing-related subjects. They have suggested that because the subject has suffered from too little funding and a lack of awareness, this has caused an uptake that is still too low. 

Julia Adamson said: 

“There is a critical need to improve computer science teaching through better professional development, support and resources. We need to recognise the value of the subject and students, particularly girls, need to be encouraged and supported to take the subject.

This sentiment was echoed by Sue Sentance, board member of Computing At School, part of BCS.

She said:

“If education is about helping children to understand the world around them and preparing them for the world of work, then Computer Science in schools is vital when 90% of future jobs will require digital skills.”