A-level IT curriculum needs urgent review to prevent future skills gap, warns Intellect

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A-level IT curriculum needs urgent review to prevent future skills gap, warns Intellect

Jenny Williams

The ICT and computing A-level curriculum requires an "urgent review" following a continued decline in the number of students gaining qualifications, according to industry body Intellect.

This year's A-level results show a 1.8% drop in the number of students taking IT-related A-levels, with 15,962 students studying for ICT and computing A-levels in 2011, compared with 16,251 last year.

"The number of young people taking ICT or computing A-levels has fallen yet again. This gives further weight to Intellect's previous demands that the way these subjects are taught needs urgent review. If this trend is not reversed soon, the skills gap in the UK IT sector is going to get much worse," said John Higgins, director general at Intellect.

Karen Price, CEO at sector skills council E-skills UK, also called for the trend to be reversed as the number of students taking A-level Computing fell for the eighth consecutive year.

"Achievement is also lower with just 3.7% of students gaining A* grades, compared to the average across all A-level subjects at 8.2%. The proportion of females sitting the Computer A-level continues to decline, down to 8%," said Price.

She added the results are disappointing in face of demand for half a million new entrants to the IT profession over the next five years.

"The students of today are the IT professionals and business leaders of tomorrow and we must reverse this trend. That is why employers are supporting the need for curriculum reform, with the intention to create new A-levels and GCSEs in IT that will be highly regarded by both universities and employers, and sought after by students," she said.

Earlier this year, Intellect called for government to scrap IT lessons from the national curriculum.

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