New diploma fails to attract more girls to tech at school

The new IT diploma has not increased the number of girls interested in the subject, despite hopes that the vocational nature of the course would appeal to...

The new IT diploma has not increased the number of girls interested in the subject, despite hopes that the vocational nature of the course would appeal to a wider range of students.

The diploma is a large part of the fight to plug the IT skills gap, which has plagued the UK for years and led to foreign IT workers becoming heavily relied upon. Around 141,000 new recruits to the profession are needed in the UK each year, but computer science degree courses currently only attract around 13,000 students each year.

An Ofsted report into the progress of diploma courses, which were launched in September, found that the numbers of girls on the technology course are low.

The report says: "Participation by female students on the diplomas was low and below that for comparable IT courses."

IT sector skills council e-skills has campaigned for a new type of IT course at schools, criticising the current GCSE and A-level cirricula. It has also campaigned to get more girls interested in IT at school as a way of increasing numbers.

Progress in implementing the diploma was generally considered to be good, and the course is still in its early stages - not all schools and colleges offer it yet.

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