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Ofsted research review on computing - 16 May 2022

25 May 2022 (by admin)

The latest of Ofstedā€™s subject research reviews focuses on computing.

The report includes the following points:


  • The national curriculum establishes the requirement for all pupils to study computing to the end of key stage 4. As far as academies are concerned, Ofsted says “Our handbook states that ‘academies are expected to offer all pupils a broad curriculum that should be similar in breadth and ambition’.”
  • Research suggests not all pupils in KS3 and KS4 are receiving sufficient curriculum time to learn the computing subject content set out in the national curriculum.
  • Access to computing at GCSE is improving but there are still gaps in provision, with state schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged pupils less likely to offer GCSE in computer science.
  • There are disproportionately few girls in computer science: they make up only 21% of entries at GCSE and only 15% of entries at A level.
  • Research consistently identifies that there is a lack of suitably qualified computing teachers to teach the subject.
  • There are long standing issues in recruiting sufficient computing teachers into ITT.
  • High-quality computing education may have the following features
  • The planned curriculum includes a breadth of knowledge relating to computer science, information technology and digital literacy.
  • Declarative knowledge (‘knowing that’) and procedural knowledge (‘knowing how’) are identified, sequenced and connected in the curriculum.
  • Skilful use of technology is underpinned by procedural and declarative knowledge.


As an aside, colleagues who have read my work on knowledge, practice and the curriculum will no doubt have heard me refer to Legitimation Code Theory (LCT). It’s good to see that Ofsted has drawn on some interesting LCT-based thinking that’s happening in the computing community. You can read more here.

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