IT should be "at the core" of the primary curriculum and taught across all subjects, a report by former senior Ofsted inspector Jim Rose says today.
Computing skills are increasing in importance for children and should be taught across the curriculum as well as a standalone topic, the report says.
Under the proposals, primary schools could see traditional subjects such as history replaced by six "areas of learning": understanding English, communication and languages mathematical understanding scientific and technological understanding human, social and environmental understanding understanding physical health and well-being and understanding the arts and design.
The report says, "A sound grasp of ICT is fundamental to engagement in society, and the foundations for this engagement must be laid in primary schools. Along with literacy and numeracy, the use of technology to develop skills for learning and life should be at the core of the primary curriculum."
ICT is not yet providing value for money in many schools, according to the report, and some skills should be taught to children at earlier stages.
"Because ICT has the unique capacity and potential for developing and enlivening all domains of learning, including literacy and numeracy, it should also be taught both discretely to capture its essential knowledge and skills, and through its applications across the whole curriculum to deepen understanding," it said.
Karen Price, CEO of the IT sector's skills council, E-Skills UK, said, "We welcome today's report and the emphasis it places on the role of technology in primary school education. The effective use of IT can really enrich learning for young people.
"Today's generation has grown up with technology and it forms an integral part of their lives. It follows that they have more advanced technology skills at an earlier stage in their lives. We also welcome the report's recommendation that the primary school curriculum should better reflect this."
The full report will be published in March 2009, when the government will decide which of its recommendations to accept.