The recent proposals to include information technology (IT) as a compulsory ‘key skill’ element throughout all areas of the 16-19 curriculum would seem to herald the end ofthe largely ‘computer-free’ A-level curriculum. Yet, the appropriateness of this impositionhas largely been taken for granted by policy-makers and educationalists alike. In an attemptto pre-empt the imposition of compulsory IT use at A level, this paper uses qualitativedata from 96 students and 29 teaching staff, in both school-based sixth forms and furthereducation colleges, to explore the current role of IT in the A-level curriculum. From thisbasis, current attempts at an institutional level to provide an IT element for all A-levelstudents are also examined. As the interview data reveal, many teachers and students seeIT as a superfluous to the ‘real’ objectives of taking A levels and are largely hostile or, atbest, indifferent to using IT. In the light of these findings, the place of IT as a core skill inthe A-level curriculum is reassessed.
- A level
- Core skills
- Information and communications technology (ICT)
- Key skills
- Post-16 education