The report takes a nation-by-nation approach, and each section has a common structure, setting out participation and attainment rates in key qualifications and awards and putting this alongside pertinent contextual information (for example, student numbers, teacher supply and policy background documents).

The data used in this report is all publicly available, if sometimes challenging to locate or interpret. It covers a five-year time period (2016/17-2020/21), including the most recent set of awards (2021) where this is available. All of the data sources are cited, including any caveats. Note that awarding approaches differed in 2020 and 2021 due to mitigations for the COVID-19 pandemic, and any comparisons should only be made with full recognition and consideration of the different approaches.

This is a deliberately data-led report, so each section firstly gives prominence to the publicly and easily available data and then sets this in the context of recent education developments in each nation. In a small number of cases, charts display data from fewer than five years. This has been done to improve the clarity of the charts.

Where curriculum levels are referred to, these relate to:

  • The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Level 2 qualifications typically include GCSE awards, whilst Level 3 includes A and AS Levels and their equivalents. 
  • The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) in Scotland. Level 5 qualifications typically include National 5 and equivalent awards, whilst levels 6 and 7 include Highers and Advanced Highers and their equivalents.

About BCS School Curriculum and Assessment Committee

The Committee’s aim is to articulate the aspiring vision, goals and principles of Computing Education. This includes:

  • To better explain what our subject is
  • To help teachers understand what computing is and how they should teach it
  • To inform inspectorates and DfE, to support them to ask the right questions, and to know what good practice looks like
  • To identify what the ideal set of qualifications is that would offer appropriate pathways for all children, especially at Key Stage 4
  • To understand what qualifications are offered and taken across the 4 nations
  • To contribute to the increase of Black Afro-Caribbean people and women in computing

This report brings together publicly available data about computing education across the UK and Ireland and provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the nation.

About BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT 

BCS is the Chartered Institute for IT. The purpose of BCS as defined by its Royal Charter is to promote and advance the education and practice of computing for the benefit of the public. As the professional body for the industry we bring together commercial organisations, academics, practitioners and government to share knowledge, inform the design of new curricula, shape public policy and inform the public.