Despite Ofsted warning that its value is doubtful, ICT has become the fourth most popular 14-19 course in English schools, TES reported this week. The news comes as a survey carried out on behalf of The National Centre for Languages (Cilt) suggests that fewer students are taking a GCSE in a modern language.
Charting a shift from traditional subjects to more modern ones, TES said that there had been a 669% rise in entries in the last two years, which means the OCR National level 2 in ICT has been used in more than half of secondaries, and is now being taken by more pupils than many GCSEs in maths, English and science.
Reasons given for the success of ICT over traditional courses included: they were enjoyable to teach; and students found them motivating and relevant.
Regarding the decline in the numbers of students taking a language onto GCSE level, Cilt suggested that schools are steering pupils towards subjects where they are likely to get top grades.
Pressure is now mounting to remove vocational courses from the main school league tables (a plan put forward by the Conservatives), and for the government to put in place major reforms to encourage the take-up of languages.