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Title Has the impact of the course of study affected miss ‘s calling pick in ICT? ‘

Table of Contentss

List of Tables

List of Figures





The Historical Context of Curriculum Change

Womans in the ICT Workplace

A Socio-linguistic Overview

Educational Theory, Contemporary Situation and Curriculum Areas

The Curriculum

Factors that Influence ICT Choice

Gender Issues

Role Models

Working Hours

Consequences and Recommendations

Discussion and Development



Table 1 Overview of the UK National Curriculum

Table 2 ICT ‘s and the Curriculum

Table 3 GNVQ Choices at 14, Apprenticeship and Pay

Figure 1 Factors Influencing ICT and Learning… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ..4

Figure 2 Honey and Mumford’s Learning Cycle… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … 10

The go oning conflict to guarantee an instruction system that caters reasonably and expeditiously for all elements of society informs this survey. The country of ICT and its interaction with the UK National Curriculum has caused some defeat in that its comparative newness has non excluded it from a really evident gender spread. There are more work forces working in ICT than adult females. Why, when misss are surpassing male childs at school, should this moneymaking business non be pulling adult females? It is typical that where course of study, theory and world meet, these spreads show up clearly. This thesis looks at these spreads and seeks to insulate some of the factors that need turn toing in order to alter the current position quo.



We want every kid to accomplish their full potency by guaranting that every school in England makes full usage of ICT for larning and learning, to better criterions across the board.

DfES 2005, Sec. 125, p. 41

This thesis looks into how the UK course of study in general impacts upon misss picks to come in ICT callings. The survey raises a figure of issues runing from how the course of study relates to the economic system and employment to how attitudes towards certain occupations are formed. In peculiar, this involves how the course of study influences the development of girl’s mentality at school, and where ICT’s tantrum within this as both an attitudinal and educational constituent. The rubric has been kept intentionally unfastened in order to let and include an scrutiny of the connexions between these attitudes from both a course of study content and a socioeconomic position.

Through a brief expression at the wider Fieldss of socio-cultural surveies, it is hoped that a better apprehension of the relationships between instruction and work picks will go evident. The thesis besides involves a expression at the existent Numberss of adult females working in ICT places and how this may associate to the Numberss analyzing and utilizing ICT’s both at school and in farther instruction. This is used to supply a footing from which to place if, how and why the UK authorities, and associated educational organic structures, have adapted their attacks to gender and ICT instruction in schools. It should besides be possible to see how effectual, or uneffective, these alterations have been.

In justification of the hypothesis that the course of study can merely realistically be considered as portion of a whole, one can look at how curriculum alteration has seen misss progressively out-performing male childs at school with respect to consequences. However, as ICT employment statistics show, this does non reassign into the workplace. Milleret Al( 2004 ) point out that kids form thoughts of gender appropriate employment when they are still really immature, and this affects picks. It is besides shown that at about the age when pupils are required to do career-related class picks ( Year 9 ) , they are still influenced by gender and occupation acceptableness ( e.g. Tinklinet Al.2005 ) . Despite Government attempts to disrupt in school gender stereotyping of employment, the consequence seems to detain instead than destruct these parametric quantities ( see SEP 2005, Section 2 ) .

Whilst student’s chief class picks are made post-primary school ( Year 9 presently ) , the averment of this thesis is that the engendering of topics can get down really early. As such as big per centum of the thesis looks at primary instruction every bit good as secondary.


The thesis is presented chiefly as a literature reappraisal. It therefore nowadayss an expanded literature reappraisal taking up to a brief sum-up of the consequences. The thesis so uses the treatment subdivision to analyze these consequences. The intent of this attack is to back up ramblingly the hypothesis that the course of study signifiers portion of a whole and can non be taken in isolation, particularly when it comes to issues such as gender.

As the thesis is more a reappraisal, instead than a qualitative or quantitative survey, its methodological analysis orientates around recognizing specific positions sing gender and seting these into context. This requires an scrutiny of the ‘space’ between theory and world, such as the interlingual rendition of sensed worlds ( e.g. gender prejudice and stereotyping in schools ) into specific actions, agenda’s and policies ( e.g. school societal inclusion policies, equal chances callings presentation and official publications such as DfES 2003c and DfES anti strong-arming web sites, links and battalions such as DfESDon’t Suffer in Silence) . It must besides use the same acknowledgments of specific agenda’s to the plants studied. This is of peculiar relevancy to the societal, political and ethical point of views found in the research studied. Where possible, these underlying factors, and how they may act upon a work, are pointed out.

More specifically, the chief parametric quantities of the thesis are established through a survey of interactions between the UK National Curriculum and gender issues in schools. The survey is divided into subdivisions that examine the factors raised by this inquiry and coatings with a treatment and thoughts for farther research.

The Historical Context of Curriculum Change

Whilst it is possibly excessively sweeping and generalised to impeach the old constituents of the UK educational system of a gender prejudice, it was non truly until the 1960’s that a displacement off from gender distinction in instruction began to gain more serious consideration ( e.g. Salisbury & A ; Riddell 2000 ) . One illustration of this is shown by the fact that male and female instructors merely began to have equal wage in 1962. It is non surprising to happen grounds of engendered attitudes and attacks, despite latter-day efforts to neutralize nomenclature and instruction, throughout the history of UK instruction. Curriculum alteration can be viewed as one of the tools used to compare instruction to both an idealized construct of society and as a contemplation of the attitudes that society wishes to proclaim, as will be discussed subsequently.

From a historical position, in 1988 the Education Reform Act saw the debut of a standardized National Curriculum for State schools. It aimed at promoting competition between State schools through such procedures as expression support and conference tabular arraies. The intent was besides to raise criterions and align instruction with the political, societal and economic docket of the twenty-four hours. Since the late 1990’s, the Labour Government has worked on altering from a comprehensive, en masse instruction, to a more separately trim attack. A simplistic overview of this should take history of the debut of specializer plans and schools, apprenticeships, work-based acquisition and policies such asEvery Child Matters( 2003 ) . At the more matter-of-fact degree, the schoolroom is capable to a more constructivist paradigm, as are the support systems ( counsellors, helpers, advisers etc ) . However, whilst holding the ‘space’ created for these more single formats, such as single acquisition plans ( ILP’s ) , specialist tuition and support, schools besides have a prescribed course of study work load to accomplish. A ulterior subdivision looks at how the course of study relates to society, but an apprehension of its impact needs to be examined from existent consequences.

Establishing their information on the International Adult Learning Survey ( IALS 1995 ) , Machin and Vignoles ( 2006 ) showed a comparative diminution in immature workers ( preponderantly male ) numeracy and literacy during the 80’s and 90’s. Awareness of worsening criterions is apparent in their steps introduced to antagonize this, such as the 1988 National Curriculum for 7 to 16 twelvemonth olds. Continued hapless consequences, and increasing differences in consequences harmonizing to gender, led to a figure of enterprises. One of these was the debut of the National Literacy and Numeracy schemes which required schools to present Literacy and Numeracy hours. These besides introduced tightly prescribed benchmark and procedure methods with associated appraisal schemes ( Machin & A ; Vignoles 2006, p. 7 ) and were renewed under the Primary National Strategy in 2006. It is of import to observe that these schemes endeavour progressively to incorporate with an classless ICT attack.

Naturally, the course of study continues to undergo reform. In 1998, the Government introduced the National Grid for Learning ( NGfL ) which ‘ … increased dramatically the proviso of ICT resources in school and preparation for instructors ( BECTA 2002 ) . Although non covered here, the importance of teacher’s professional development to the efficient execution and instruction of and utilizing ICT’s goes without stating.

As methods of conveying the course of study have moved towards more motivational, ‘fun’ and prosecuting schemes ( e.g. DfES 2003bExcellence and Enjoyment – A Strategy for Primary Schools: DfES 2004 ) , ICT’s are progressively being recognised as attractive ( and in some instances re-motivating and inclusive ) tools. Lord and Jones ( 2006 ) comprehensive reappraisal of pupils attitudes towards the course of study places ICT’s as 2nd merely to PE in pupils sentiments. The increased thrust to utilize ICT more efficaciously is happening its manner throughout the course of study. For illustration, the Barnet instance survey ( DfES 2007 ) of ICT for Foundation Stage communicating via engineering showed a higher capacity amongst pupils than anticipated. This may be a instance of instruction catching up with society, nevertheless if statistics are to be relied on, such can non be said for adult females working in ICT occupations.

Womans in the ICT Workplace

The socio-economic importance of IT to the UK goes without stating. As a moneymaking country of work, with plentifulness of development chances, it would look logical that ICT’s should pull work forces and adult females every bit. However, even a cursory glimpse at the research literature in this country shows a go oning and important under-representation of adult females in professional ICT occupations. In line with the above quotation mark, a more recent study showed that ‘ … within the UK work force, adult females fill merely 15 per centum of IT occupations ( UKPRWire 2007, online )

… Information technology professionals are typically male, immature ( in their mid mid-twentiess ) , and without domestic duties.

Webster 2005, online

Other research, such as that undertaken by UK IT recruitment house Parity, shows the lifting Numberss of adult females come ining the UK market place, ( 50 % harmonizing to UKPRwire, 2007 ) is non reflected in the figure of adult females traveling into ICT arrangements. In fact, Parity’s 2006 research showed a definite lessening. The UK is non entirely in this as the EC as a whole tends to reflect similar statistics. At this phase of the thesis, the inquiries raised by this are:

  • What are the stipulations that define this ‘imbalance’ ?
  • Why are so few adult females attracted into ICT?
  • Are these factors being managed to successfully promote alterations in position?

Whilst the figures vary somewhat harmonizing to their statistical beginnings, all these quotation marks show the same thing ; that few misss appear to be taking ICT as a calling option:

In the IT sector, women’s employment has remained resolutely around an norm of 28 % across the EU ; in the professional countries of IT work ( as opposed to clerical and other non-professional businesss within IT ) , adult females made up merely 17 % in 2001…

Webster 2005, online

A great trade of work has been undertaken into placing the grounds for this evident gender-defined, chiefly male, involvement in ICT businesss. These surveies have looked at how, where and why gender may act upon attitudes and interactions with ICT’s. Some have looked from a Governmental position and related this to accommodating the National Curriculum ( e.g. DfES 1998: DfES 2005: DfES 2006 ) , some have taken a gender-and-stereotyping-in-schools position ( e.g. Weiner 1994: Abbott 2001: Skelton 2001 ) and some have focal points on work-related surveies ( e.g. Parity 2006: Valenducet Al.2004: Mermet & A ; Lehndorff 2001: Lingard & A ; Douglas 1999 ) . The undermentioned subdivisions contextualise and analyze the factors raised in these surveies.

A Socio-linguistic Overview

This subdivision starts with locating some of the socio lingual and cultural factors that impact upon schools as a whole. This is regarded as peculiarly of import as it provides a background for reexamining the impacts of a specific course of study upon misss.

As Figure 1 seeks to show, there are long standing statements environing schools and their topographic point in society. Bourdieu ( 1973 ) labelled them as both the terminal consequences and the agencies of perpetuating a dominant discourse. Those who agree carried the argument further into how the individuality of persons ( Burr 1995 ) is constructed by these factors. It seems logical that following the sociolinguistic theories means that civilization as defined by Foucault ( 1983 ) is the root of discourse. Therefore the establishments that determine and promulgate specific civilizations, such as schools, have to be constructed by the society from which they originate. For illustration, the course of study and policies that outline a schools attitude and behavior towards its pupils are generated by the society to which they wish to lend. In kernel, schools have to reproduce both the good and the bad elements in the society which defines them ( Bourdieu 1973 ) , including gender stereotyping and prejudice.

This is of peculiar involvement with respect to gender and the instruction of ICT. For illustration, what factors contribute to the ‘cultural capital’ placed upon ICT in instruction? Where does the perceptual experience of ICT occupations being more suited to boys than misss arise? Is it political, economic or societal? SEP ( 2005, Sec.2 ) tells us that class picks become more gender stereotyped as pupils continue their instruction, with more males set abouting Physicss and ICT classs at university than females. It needs to be asked whether educational systems produce attacks and sentiments of ICT’s through formal dockets and policy paperss, including the course of study and instruction schemes. Is there a more unrevealed docket that underlines student’s engagement in schools ( see Lareau and McNamara 1999 for a treatment of the other factors that need consideration ) . Clearly, there is more at work that a individual fixed construct. Without taking this excessively far, it is of import to be cognizant of the how society and civilization interacts with concepts of ‘self’ ( e.g. Riding & A ; Al-Sanabani 1998: Byram & A ; Zarate 1997 to call a few ) . This helps raise consciousness of any gender related stereotypes that may perpetuate in pedagogic patterns and educational systems and how these may impact girl’s occupational picks. It besides helps juxtapose the three elements of theory, world and alteration against alterations in the UK course of study and their intended results.

Educational Theory, Contemporary Situation and Curriculum Areas

From Piaget’s early research into children’s cognitive development, it has been progressively recognised that proviso demands to be made for pupils assorted ages, phases and larning manners. The issues of gender have caused much contention for those who like, and disfavor, phase theories ( e.g. Gilligan 1993 ) with the chief accusals being that the research inquiries come from an unconsciously male paradigm. Piaget’s phases ranged from a pre-operational ( 2-6 or 7 year ) and concrete operations phases ( 7-11 or 12 ) to a formal operations phase ( around 12 to grownup ) . Whilst the first two phases are defined by a cognitive development ( Krauseet Al2003 on Piaget, pp.39-59 ) that bit by bit moves off from the demand for concrete stuffs to derive understanding, the latter is defined by the capacity for abstract idea. As Maria Montessori pointed out, the early phase is defined by larning through the senses.

The usage of cognitive developmental phases can be seen as lending to the gender argument through a nature V raising type argument ; gender as an built-in factor that affects acquisition, and gender as an externally imposed set of values. Cognitive testing is besides used to analyze the impact of gender. Of the legion surveies that differentiate misss from male childs, one recent survey ( Strandet Al, 2006 ) was sufficiently big to deserve statistical cogency. Basically, they narrowed the sensed gender spread. Standet Alfound that misss demonstrated stronger verbal logical thinking accomplishments whilst boys rated higher in quantitative and non-verbal logical thinking. Subsequent surveies, such as Solomon and Harrison ( 1991 ) besides narrowed the sensed gender spread and suggested steps to further film over the boundaries such as group treatment. As research continued to formalize the gender spread and specify more finite constructs, they began to place school work with student image ( e.g. see Warringtonet Al.2000 ) where it was less ‘cool’ for male childs to work hard at school than misss. Surveies besides translate this into the occupation market ( e.g. Manning & A ; Swaffield 2005 ) through rewards, placing no difference at get downing but increasing in favor of work forces by 10 old ages.

To set this in context, each course of study country creates a argument as to what to learn, when and how. Within this lie the issues environing ICT and gender, with possibly Science and English demoing the clearest gender divisions. For illustration, Murphy ( 1990 ) highlighted the deficiency of misss traveling into Physics, English has been accused of feminization ( e.g. Williams 2005 ) , the History course of study firm ignored the part of adult females until the 90s ( Skelton 2002, p.89 ) .

Unconscious gender divisions may be shown by the history argument. Some research workers have argued for learning history subsequently, saying that younger pupils merely do non hold the cognitive capacity. For illustration, there are those ( e.g. Skin 1967: Hallam 1970 ) that argue that kids have a capacity for historical idea that aligns good with Piaget’s phase theories. These research workers asserted that younger kids did non posses the cognitive capacity that was necessary for the abstract nature of historical idea. They besides argued that the capacity for abstract idea could merely develop easy as kids move towards the more formal operational phase ( 12 plus ) . However, as the accent has shifted from cognition ( the ‘empty vessel’ attack ) to treat, and towards pupil centred instruction, the footings of mention for developing believing schemes has besides changed, as have the tools. Whilst the argument over historical thought continues, the usage of ICT’s provides new avenues for presenting understanding, and this may good back up the statements of those such as Booth ( 1987 ) , Lee ( 1983 ) , Shemilt ( 1980 ) and Ashby and Lee ( 1987 ) that younger pupils could be taught to believe historically. However, certain facets of the procedure and connexion attack have been accused of ‘feminising’ the course of study ( e.g. for treatment see Weiner 1994: Lingard & A ; Douglas 1999: Skelton 2001 ) . These surveies confirm that misss performed better at schools than male childs with respect to makings. From the position of ICT’s, it would look that the finding that this does non transport over into society ( Arnot & A ; Dillabough 2000 ) is peculiarly valid.

Support for the usage of cross-curricula ICT’s comes within the Governments perceptual experience of ‘excellent teaching’ and finds official counsel through the QCA and DfES guidelines. For illustration, the QCAIntroducing with Historywebsite promotes history instruction as a cross-curriculum tool for citizenship, ICT, inclusion, literacy and creativeness ( QCA 2004, online ) and provides units of work for usage or to move as illustrations. This exemplifies ICT as a cross-curricula acquisition tool – a agency to an terminal – as is typical of the incorporate attack. This is something to bear in head when looking at the gender instability with adult females workinginICT as opposed to workingwithICT.

To return to the theories, Vygotsky ( 1896-1934 ) added the dimension of the societal environment to larning. This is of peculiar importance to ICT. For illustration, the ideal of ‘community of practise’ , whilst accepted as strong acquisition schemes, appear to demo early stereotyping and may assist with understanding why fewer adult females go into ICT’s post-school. Lord and Jones ( 2006 ) stated that misssappearedless confident than male childs with ICT’s, but that male childs were more likely to overrate their ability ( Lord & A ; Jones 2006, p.71 ) . Others pointed out how gender based stereotypes of male and female work are formed at school, despite course of study content and pick, and affect pupil class picks and hence future work ( EPPI 2007: Rees 1999: Francis 2000: Francis 2000b ) .

Vygotsky worked on the inter-relationship of societal and cultural factors from a more lingual position. He put the kid into the environment as a constituent, instead than a disengaged portion, and looked at how societal interaction contributed to the individual’s instruction and acquisition. This has been picked up in the constructivist schoolroom through a more precise consciousness of societal interaction and the environment. The impacts of socio-cultural factors on a child’s constructs of egos have already been mentioned. From a ‘community of practice’ position, utilizing sociolinguistic concepts to develop cognitive capacity can be seen as built-in to the ideals of work-place preparation, something that the UK Government progressively encourages. It works through supplying an chance to rehearse and to derive existent ‘body knowledge’ whilst still being in a state of affairs where the initial format can be taught and learnt.

ICT’s provide a different societal concept. It could be that ICT’s attract pupils otherwise harmonizing to their nature and different capablenesss ( as opposed to gender ) eg a mechanism to be understood or a communicating tool to be used, a machine to be programmed or a agencies of widening a societal web. There is a intuition that outlooks of computing machine use may good be a portion of what is labelled a concealed docket defined by societies ‘norms’ and outlooks. It is from this position that engendered constructs can be formed e.g. male childs will desire to cognize how a computing machine works whilst misss will desire to go good at utilizing computing machines. To be combative, it could be suggested that this kind of stereotyping, witting or unconscious, may good lend to the shaping of feminine and masculine course of study contents. As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs suggests, beyond the strictly physical demands of nutrient and shelter, there is a demand for a psychological comfort zone ( safety, security, understanding etc ) . From a ‘comfort’ position, it is an country that needs more attending in order to understand the correlativities between gender and ICT’s.

Another facet of a cognitive ‘comfort zone’ involves larning manners. Learning manners are basically divided into ocular, aural and kinesthetic. Since the 1980’s the influence of Howard Gardner upon UK educational policy is one of the most seeable. Gardner’s research focused on how persons demonstrate different intelligences. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, produced in 1983, outlined these different ability countries. The original intelligence countries were defined as ; ‘language, music, mathematical comprehension and logical thinking, spacial consciousness, physical motion, and societal understanding’ ( Krause 2003 ; p.201 ) . The following measure was to see how to provide for these and this involved a definition of individual’s existent acquisition manners. In combination, these constructs allowed for an understanding how persons, both male and female, learn. It besides helped program for their instruction. For illustration, ICT’s are by and large attractive to pupils and can be used to actuate and re-engage pupils. They have besides contributed another larning manner: helter-skelter acquisition manner ( Lee 2000 ) . In the following subdivision Tables 1 and 2 show the curriculum-defined elements that relate ICT’s to subject countries but it should be noted that the attraction of ICT’s, and their motivational capacity, including their topographic point in the acquisition rhythm, needs far more research particularly with respect to gender. For illustration, the considerable sum of educational research on the different acquisition manners ( e.g. Lewin 1942 ; Kolb 1984 ; Keefe & A ; Ferrell 1990 ; Honey & A ; Mumford 1992 ) has led to analytical systems such as Honey and Mumford’s ( 1992 ) Learning Cycle based on Kolb’s Model. Figure 2 outlines the progressive phases in this theoretical account. ICT’s can be made to fulfill each of these phases and personality types, yet it is every bit of import to understand which pupil, irrespective of gender, is utilizing which attack and why in order to provide for their acquisition efficaciously.

Adapted by writer from Chapman, online

There are ever reviews of theories and theoretical accounts and this is a necessary portion of the developmental thrust. As with this theoretical account, elements that contribute to an apprehension of a peculiar procedure can be found, as with many other theoretical accounts. This 1 has been chosen for its practical application. For illustration, the Honey and Mumford Model has clear advantages for ICT usage and preparation. The acquisition manners involved in this rhythm scope from ocular ( verbal ) to feeling ( intuitive ) to active ( brooding ) and consecutive ( planetary ) . There is besides a emphasis on ‘constructive alignment’ . This means that there is a witting attempt made to set up a infinite for the different acquisition chances through supplying different larning chances. This links good with the thoughts of the helter-skelter acquisition manner identified for net-learning in that it can be an inclusive portion of the rhythm affecting a broad scope of larning manners ( e.g. ocular, audio, practical application –seeing the consequences of a computing machine plan – and so on ) .

Once once more, it should be taken into consideration that other factors impact on a Learning Cycle. Whilst this one focuses on the leting practise to specify the development of both the phases and the gaining of expertness, in world it can non be isolated from its environment. For illustration, there will be all the usual set of societal judgements that go along with it. It is besides possible to place learning chances that do non wholly conform to the current constructivist paradigm when it comes to ICT’s. For illustration, the acquisition of computing machine procedures can be in some scenarios more efficaciously achieved through a more a behaviorist, rote larning attack.

To sum up this overview, as Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory ( 1989 ) argues, one can non take any one factor in isolation. From a socio-linguistic position, it seems logical that gender issues and the course of study should affect a holistic, ‘macrocosm’ position of how persons and schools interact with society. It should besides include the ‘microcosm’ function of parents, equals, instructors and the wider community. However, of the many surveies into educational research and workplace surveies correlativities, ( e.g. poorness, societal division, knowledge, civilization etc ) , a big subdivision looks specifically at gender pigeonholing at school, deliberate or inadvertent, as a contributory factor to employment instabilities ( e.g. Harris & A ; Nixon 1993: Gorard & A ; Rees 1999: Gorard, Rees & A ; Salisbury 2001 ) .

The Curriculum

Some surveies, such as Abbott’s ( 2001 ) , have worked specifically on the links between Government educational policy and the UK course of study from the position of ICT. These surveies highlight how faculty members and politicians often hold changing positions on what should be included in the course of study ( Arnot & A ; Dillabough 2000 ) . The current political rhetoric tends to follow similar lines:

Children learn better when they are excited and engaged – but what excites and engages them best is genuinely first-class instruction, which challenges them and shows them what they can make. When there is joy in what they are making, they learn to love learning’ .

DfES 2004, Clarke, Foreword,

Appendix 1 shows the UK National Curriculum for England: information and communicating engineering ( QCA/DfEE 1999 ) and Table 1 outlines the current UK course of study as a whole. As Table 1 shows, ICT’s are a compulsory, non-core topic up until Key Stage 3. From Key Stage 3 on, ICT is seen as one of the chief targeted countries. On the one manus, schools are encouraged to accommodate these demands to their students, yet on the other they are expected to accomplish prescribed and really specific marks.

Table 1 Overview of the UK National Curriculum

Key Stages

Compulsory Subjects

Optional Choices

KS 1 and 2

( 5-11yrs )

  • English
  • Mathematicss
  • Science
  • Design and engineering
  • Information and Communication Technology ( ICT )
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Physical instruction
  • Rhenium
  • PSHE ) and citizenship
  • modern foreign linguistic communication ( s )


( 11-14yrs )

  • English
  • Mathematicss
  • Science
  • Design and engineering
  • Information and Communication Technology ( ICT )
  • History
  • Geography
  • Modern foreign linguistic communications
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Citizenship
  • Physical instruction
  • Careers instruction and counsel ( during Year 9 )
  • Sexual activity and Relationship Education ( SRE )
  • Religious instruction
  • PHSE


( 14-16yrs )

  • English
  • Mathematicss
  • Science
  • Information and Communication Technology ( ICT )
  • Physical instruction
  • Citizenship

Compulsory untested:

  • callings instruction
  • ( citizenship )
  • physical instruction ( PE )
  • spiritual instruction
  • sex instruction
  • work-related acquisition

Students must take callings instruction and work-related acquisition. Schools must besides offer spiritual instruction, SRE and at least one topic from each of the four ‘entitlement ‘ countries as follows

Entitlement Areas

  • Humanistic disciplines topics
  • Design and engineering
  • Humanistic disciplines
  • Modern foreign linguistic communications

Other picks

  • concern surveies
  • technology
  • wellness and societal attention
  • leisure and touristry
  • accomplishments for working life and life accomplishments
  • fabrication
  • societal scientific disciplines

Adapted from Directgov web site 2007

On the whole, the DfES has outlined and encouraged an integrated, classless and transverse course of study attack to the usage and instruction of ICT’s ( DfES 1998, DfES 2005 ) in schools. Where infinite has been required for larning how to utilize ICT’s, the mechanics have often been set within another context, such as the usage of image redacting package within the context of art ( see e.g. National Curriculum in Action: Fabulous Animals ) or English with templets ( see e.g. NCA: Making Poems with Templates ) . ICT’s have besides been recognised as a motivational instruction tool ( e.g. Ofsted 2004 ) :

ICT is more than merely another learning tool. Its possible for bettering the quality and criterions of pupils’ instruction is important.

DfES 1998, Annex B, 4/98, p.1

Table 2 lineations where ICT’s are presently situated within the course of study.

Table 2 ICT ‘s and the Curriculum

Area and on-line location

Relationship to ICT

Outline of demands


Dedicated ICT class

  • set out in 8 degrees plus ‘exceptional’

Art and Design

Primary ICT class constituents, compulsory from KS2 although strong advice to present as a cross course of study constituent in KS1

  • ICT’s for picture, montage, print devising, digital media, fabrics, sculpture


Compulsory units and correlativities after KS1

  • informations file to analyze fieldwork informations
  • orbiter images and grounds from ICT-based beginnings
  • utilizing function package
  • communicating e.g. electronic mail
  • research e.g. cyberspace
  • presentation e.g. word processing
  • spreadsheets

Design and Technology

Compulsory units and correlativities after KS1

  • web based research
  • coating and redacting accomplishments
  • ‘drawing ‘ package or computer-aided design ( CAD ) package and a pressman
  • Mechanical control


Required from KS1

  • ICT-based information texts
  • Basic computing machine and keyboard accomplishments
  • Research tool
  • Writing, redacting and completing accomplishments


Required from KS2

  • Research tool ( including practical museum Tourss etc )
  • Organizational tool for information storage and production


Compulsory from KS1

  • Use relevant maths plans
  • Find, green goods and transform images utilizing ICT
  • Gather and bring forth informations for example, charts, diagrams, graphs etc
  • Use spreadsheets, databases, geometry or in writing bundles

Modern Foreign Languages

No demands until KS3

  • Research tool including in mark linguistic communication
  • Writing and redacting tool
  • Communication tool


Compulsory from KS2

  • Sound direction including gaining control, version, polish, alteration etc
  • Knowledge of communicating formats eg notation


compulsory from KS1

  • Data direction and production eg quantitative and qualitative informations in diagrams, graphs, tabular arraies formats etc
  • datalogging





At 14 ( Year 9 ) , pupils have a pick of classs plus the mandatory units ( ICT, Maths, Science and English and the non-examined compulsory topics ) . Curriculum surveies have shown that pupils tend non to associate their earlier classs to any future world and happen much of the work irrelevant. However, as mentioned, ICT’s are high on the list of front-runners and one would anticipate to see more correlativity between school use and work.

As antecedently mentioned, considerable attempts have been made to supply ICT stuffs and hardware for schools. The DfES, in its Harnessing ICT papers ( 2005 ) papers, inside informations the thrust to better quality and utility of the available package resources and plans. It besides lists who and how the DfES is working with those, such as BECTA and NESTA Futurelab, to raise the quality of its productions. The Curriculum Online uses a beginning of 600 companies for its resource proviso and continues to spread out this with the BBC Curriculum online ( DfES 2005, p. 41 ) . It besides advocates the usage of ICT as a tool for reconnecting scholars who are disaffected with school. The motivational attractive force of ICT is good recorded and it will do interesting research in the hereafter to see how ICT can be applied as a agency of societal inclusion. ( Although here is non the topographic point to analyze this decently, it is deserving observing that the bulk of ill-affected childs are male. )

There is a general acknowledgment of the demand to incorporate ICT’s at both Primary and Secondary degree. One can look at the certification for a figure of schools and happen the same stated attack. For illustration, Stechford Primary School’s Policy ( 2006 ) certification advocates a cross-curriculum attack to ICT’s, in line with Governmental demands:

We are developing our ain strategies of work in the foundation topics. Literacy, Numeracy and ICT have a Curriculum function beyond their timetable allotment. They appear, where relevant, in the instruction and acquisition across the Curriculum.

Stechford Primary School’s Policy for Whole-School Planning 2006

Factors that Influence ICT Choice

The undermentioned subdivisions highlight the issues that the thesis has raised in more item.

Gender Issues

This issue appears to lie at the bosom of the affair. Whilst officially everything is done to supply and open and equal pick to all pupils, as outlined by the undermentioned quotation mark:

When planning, instructors should put high outlooks and supply chances for all students to accomplish, including male childs and misss…

National Curriculum online ( no day of the month ) , Sec. B1

Some claim that the course of study has become excessively feminised ( e.g. Epsteinet Al.1998 ) . Yet, in world, pupils are capable to far more influences than merely that of the course of study:

Capable picks reflect profoundly held biass about the type of occupations to which adult females are best suited

Davies 2003, online

Having antecedently stated that the research showed misss and male childs have equal entree to ICT’s at school, there are those who find the antonym:

There is plentifulness of research grounds [ … ] on the disadvantages that misss have faced in going every bit adept in computing machines to male childs in the UK. The decision drawn is that all adult females and misss are likely to endure a disadvantage in their attack to ICT as they come to literate patterns influenced by gender stereotyping in society.

Digitalbrain, sec 2.4, no page

Interestingly plenty, it appears possible to specify a alteration in attitude amongst misss as Lord and Jones point out when they say that ‘the research besides indicates that girls’ assurance in computing machine use becomes an issue as they get older’ ( 2006, p. 37 ) . Attempts to set up an equal and indifferent instruction, and counteract stereotypes, for both male and female pupils have led to a series of enterprises with a assortment of consequences. For illustration, the constitution of girls’ computing machine nines ( BECTA 2002, Sec. 4.6.2. p. 16 ) . However the research besides shows that misss are every bit adept with ICT’s as male childs and make non miss entree to the equipment ( BECTA 2002 ) . As work-related surveies on the gender spread are presently demoing, one of the chief deterrences for misss to travel into ICT involves a perceptual experience of the work as preponderantly male and excessively demanding clip wise. Therefore, whilst girl’s accomplishment at school has been shown to surpass that of male childs, particularly in early numeracy and literacy ( DfES 2003 ) , another set of attacks is required to do the transportation of these abilities into the workplace.

The Equal Opportunities Commission besides recognises a gender spread in the domain of ICT, but is possibly less normative about how to alter this:

The EOC welcomes the inclusion of ICT in the national marks for 14-year-olds in 2007. Statisticss confirm that ICT is already a male-dominated topic and marks will concentrate attending on bettering battle of misss and male childs with ICT.

Equal Opportunities Commission

Table 3 shows the division of Numberss of misss and male childs at GNVQ/Apprenticeship degree taking up ICT as opposed to Health and Social Care. Again, this seems to bespeak a perceptual experience of ICT as preponderantly male.

Table 3 GNVQ Choices at 14, Apprenticeship and Pay

Part 1 GNVQs

M As

Wage rates

% within option

% within option


Girls: Information Technology




Male childs: Information Technology




Girls: Health and Social Care




Male childs: Health and Social Care




From Equal Opportunities Commission web site, updated 2005,

Figures from QCA/Ofsted and DfEE1998

The QCA besides shows consciousness of the gender spread ( e.g. QCA online, no day of the month ) . For illustration, the guidelines the undermentioned subdivision lineations outlooks of learning schemes to counter gender stereotyping:

Teaching attacks that provide equality of chance include:

  • guaranting that male childs and misss are able to take part in the same course of study, peculiarly in scientific discipline, design and engineering and physical instruction
  • taking history of the involvements and concerns of male childs and misss by utilizing a scope of activities and contexts for work and leting a assortment of readings and results, peculiarly in English, scientific discipline, design and engineering, ICT, art and design, music and physical instruction
  • avoiding gender pigeonholing when organizing students into groups, delegating them to activities or set uping entree to equipment, peculiarly in scientific discipline, design and engineering, ICT, music and physical instruction
  • taking history of pupils’ specific spiritual or cultural beliefs associating to the representation of thoughts or experiences or to the usage of peculiar types of equipment, peculiarly in scientific discipline, design and engineering, ICT and art and design

QCA National Curriculum online, no day of the month, B/3c

The perceptual experiences misss seem to hold of working in ICT as a masculine business has besides received attending. In the recommendations derived from the comprehensive surveyWidening Women’s Work in Information and Communication Technology,Valenducet Al.( 2005 ) , advise:

… national educational establishments [ … ] should hold precise information on the occupation contents in ICT professions, in order tobetter design school and university course of study.

Valenducet Al.2005, p.126

To sum up this subdivision, it appears clear that it is non the content of the course of study that defines picks every bit much as the associated perceptual experiences that go with the classs and awaited businesss. The sum of literature that outlines how instructors should convey the course of study shows a strong feeling that instabilities still exist with respect to inclusive, equal and indifferent instruction. Attempts continue to raise teachers’ consciousness of their ain pedagogical practises, such as the followers:

There are many ways in which, frequently accidentally, differences based on gender can take to different intervention. This can give the incorrect signals about what misss or male childs can accomplish.

Equal Opportunities Commission Scotland, p25

Role Models

Another facet that has been highlighted by the research for this thesis has been that of function theoretical accounts. Freedman ( 2006 ) stated that most of the ‘role theoretical accounts that we see are frequently male and geeks’ . He besides pointed out the famine of female function theoretical accounts in ICT callings and the deficiency of cognition about what an ICT calling may affect. Other research agrees with this, although non in rather such footings. In the SIGIS study, Sorensen ( 2004 ) recognises a demand for ‘ … societal acquisition in relation to inclusion’ ( online, no page ) and that illustrations of successful adult females working in ICT demand to be better demonstrated both at institutional and society degree.

The GovernmentsChoices at 14 to 19web site ( Directgov, no day of the month ) links to a series of instance surveies. With respect to ICT ‘s, these purpose at supplying an penetration into what the occupation might imply and demo both male and female function theoretical accounts. International surveies, such as the BridgeGender and ICTstudy besides point out a demand in the UK to hold adult females in more high profile, more proficient and better paid ICT places ( Gurumurthy 2004, p. 26 )

Working Hours

Webster ( 2005 ) cites the findings of Mermet and Lehndorff’s ( 2001 ) survey which showed that persons within ICT professions often imposed long on the job hours upon themselves. However, the nature of the work does be given to pull those who have few other committednesss. The undermentioned quotation mark comes from the DfES publication for Year 9 pupils sing calling picks

… we do hold a policy that states you should non go forth your place before 7.00am on Monday and should return by 7.00pm on Friday.

Zephir interview for DfESWorking in Computers and IT( 2006 ) , p.3

Consequences and Recommendations

Whilst the treatment subdivision develops this thesis farther, a sum-up of consequences and recommendations at this phase are:

  • the National Curriculum endeavours to supply equal entree to both misss and male childs in countries such as ICT
  • State schools endeavour to supply all pupils with entree to a broad scope of ICT’s
  • Career picks are affected by more than the National Curriculum.
  • Students picks at Year 9 may be capable to gender pigeonholing
  • Strong Professional Development and in-school support is necessary to guarantee that best practise remains at the head of learning utilizing ICT’s
  • The grounds of course of study interaction with societal and economic factors demands to be studied from the position of ICT’s in order to set up when and how gender enters the equation
  • Gender and employment stereotyping still exists and contributes to work picks, despite the National Curriculum
  • The National Curriculum must be seen as portion of a wider construct of society in order allow for efficient and effectual alteration
  • Stronger proviso of function theoretical accounts of both gender throughout course of study are needed to back up a blurring of sensed boundaries to employment and calling pick

Discussion and Development

Several inquiries have been explored and raised through this thesis. Questions have to be asked as to what the UK National Curriculum really achieves. Ideally, it presents and unfastened and equal pick for all pupils, male and female, and contributes to a sound, good rounded and balanced socio-economic hereafter for the UK. However, the thesis appears to demo that a National Curriculum can non in itself counter the development of stereotypes and constructed attitudes. It could hence be said that the course of study, whilst it impacts positively on pupils through its presentation of chance, needs to be considered within the wider context of school, society and work.

The picks made at 14, harmonizing to the Equal Opportunities Commission, are excessively fraught with troubles, including the fright of traveling against perceived societal norms, be they gender defined or non. The statement is that it is difficult for misss and male childs to do picks that may travel against the traditional gender stereotype. Therefore, picks at 14 may direct pupils into employment paths that may non really be in their best involvements.

There has been limited geographic expedition of how effectual the educational methods have been in righting gender instabilities happening in the ICT workplace. This country appears to still be preponderantly male. Why? Another country new to research is that of the methods and picks of larning available to the ‘net generation’ via ICT. A thorough apprehension of how pupils are larning through ICT’s will supply better capacity to learn.

Equality of entree and proviso has besides raised some really different sentiments. Even the DfES recognises that:

One of the five cardinal countries the DfES has found problem with is:

Success in guaranting equal entree to engineering for all kids, immature people, households and scholars…

DfES 2005, p. 13

Some of the research and instructor remarks negate any jobs sing equal entree ( e.g. Lord and Jones 2006 ) . Others find great disparities. This could be taken as reflecting a diverse society and the individualism of instructors and schools. All these countries need more work to better specify the correlativities and thereby supply effectual steps to guarantee an classless attack to instruction and society.


In decision, it would non look to be a acquaintance with ICT’s that is the job with respect to a deficiency of adult females in the ICT workplace. As this thesis has shown, kids in UK schools have plentifulness of chance to see and go adept with ICT. The issue is hence possibly more one of attitude. A instead light-minded sum-up could set this as misss regard workingwithICT as absolutely acceptable, but workinginICT is still considered more of a ‘boy’s thing’ . The impact of the National Curriculum is to originate and promote alteration, but it’s interaction with society is where the key to its success lies.

It appears that the impact of the course of study upon girl’s picks of classs and callings can non be taken in isolation. It may good be lending to attitudinal alterations, but these are slow and non recorded so far. That is non to state they are non go oning and there are many other considerations to be taken into history ( societal and economic alteration, political alteration, population alteration, work diverseness etc ) .

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DfES ( no day of the month ) ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence: instance studies’ , website links, accessed 27ThursdayApril, hypertext transfer protocol: //www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying/caseindex.shtml

DfES ( 2007 ) ‘Improving the usage of ICT in the Foundation Phase: Barnet’ , accessed 19ThursdayApril 2007, hypertext transfer protocol: //www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/casestudies/foundation_stage/ict_foundation_stage/barnet/

DfES ( 2006 ) ‘Working in Computers and IT’ , Connexions Handbook for Students, accessed 8ThursdayApril 2007, hypertext transfer protocol: //www.connexions-direct.com/_library/publications/WIComputersIT-06.pdf

DfES ( 2005 ) ‘Harnessing Technology: Transforming acquisition and children’s services’ , accessed 13ThursdayApril 2007, hypertext transfer protocol: //www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/e-strategy/docs/e-strategy.pdf

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