This report brings together government data on computing provision in English schools, including the school performance tables for exams taken in 2018 and the school workforce census up to 2017.

It distinguishes between computing, the broad subject described by the national curriculum, and computer science, ICT and other specific qualifications under that umbrella. It specifically looks at schools offering GCSE computer science and other computing qualifications at Key Stage 4 (KS4).

The key findings are that:

  • The number of hours of computing/ICT taught in secondary school dropped by 35.8% from 2012 to 2017. Across the country, KS4 saw 31,000 fewer hours taught per week, a 47% decrease.
  • In Key Stage 3 (KS3), the time given for computing dropped from an hour in 2012 to just over 45 minutes in 2017, despite the marked increase in the demands of the national curriculum at this level.
  • The overall number of qualifications taken by students at Year 11 decreased by 144,000, or 45%, between 2017 and 2018.
  • The percentage of students sitting GCSE computer science increased marginally from 12.1% in 2017 to 12.4% of all GCSE students in 2018.
  • Whilst overall numbers of GCSE computer science providers were up, 8.2% of schools that offered the subject in 2017 were not offering it in 2018. In this group, one in five (19%) girls’ comprehensive schools who offered GCSE computer science in 2017 dropped it in 2018.
  • With GCSE computer science student numbers levelling out and the removal of GCSE ICT in 2018, a further decline in the total numbers of hours of computing taught and qualifications taken seems highly likely for 2019.

This report can be read in conjunction with the full report on the 2017 exam sittings.