A radical overhaul of the school curriculum to allow pupils to be more creative in technology lessons has been unveiled by the Government.
The move follows criticism by Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of the internet giant Google, that Britain was throwing away its rich heritage in computing by ignoring creativity in schools.
David Willetts, the Science minister, admitted Mr Schmidt was right when he announced the changes yesterday. "One of the points he made was that education of IT was all about computer literacy," he told the British Science Festival in Bradford. "It was simply approaching young people as consumers, it was not about creating software."
A pilot scheme will be launched in schools later this year to shift the emphasis in favour of teaching pupils to design their own computer software. If successful, it will lead to a new GCSE and A-level in the subject. "I want to see the ability to create software, to write programs," he said.
In his lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August, Mr Schmidt criticised the lack of training in computer creativity. He said: "You invented computers ... yet today none of the world's leading exponents are from the UK."