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November 28, 2011

IT teaching in schools needs reform: Government

Video games and special effects industries need better teaching to thrive

By Jason Stamper

Nimba Creations is a UK-based special effects firm

Nimba Creations is among a booming special effects industry in the UK.

Following publication of an independent review of skills (Next Gen) for the UK’s video games and visual effects sectors published earlier this year, the Government has today announced that, "The teaching of ICT and computer science in schools needs reform."

The news comes after a CBR report which found that some technology companies are struggling to find graduates with the right skills, with some companies even talking of an impending skills crisis.

The Next Gen report though speaks mostly to a different challenge: the quality of IT teaching in schools, although the Next Gen report did also recommend that the Government, "Support better research-oriented university-industry collaborations in video games and visual effects."

Commissioned by Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey in July 2010, the Next Gen review, the Government says, "Provided an important contribution to the evidence base for the skills needs of these industries, which have real potential for significant growth."

The response goes on to say that through its curriculum and exam reforms the Government will look to pave the way for the sector to help schools offer pupils a genuinely rigorous grounding in computer science.

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Creative Industries Minister, Ed Vaizey said, "The economic and cultural value of the UK’s video games and VFX [visual effects] sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses. It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession. We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity."

Next Gen made 20 specific recommendations for Government, industry and educators to transform the UK into the world’s leading talent hub for video games and visual effects. The response published today addresses each recommendation – see what you make of their response and please do drop us your comments below the line or on twitter: www.twitter.com/jasonstamper. There will be further CBR analysis of the recommendations and responses in coming days.

Related: IT industry facing growing skills crisis

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