The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has announced that the current programme of information and communications technology (ICT) study in England's schools will be scrapped from September.
Michael Gove said that the inadequate grounding in computing offered by the current curriculum was in danger of damaging Britain's economic prospects.
Technology in schools will no longer be micromanaged by Whitehall. It will be replaced by an "open source" curriculum in computer science by giving schools the freedom to use teaching resources designed with input from leading academics that equip pupils with the skills employers want.
Michael Gove said: "We in Britain should never forget that one of our great heroes, Alan Turing, laid the foundation stones on which all modern computing rests. His pioneering work on theoretical computation in the 1930s laid the way for Turing himself, von Neumann and others to create the computer industry as we know it.
"Our school system has not prepared children for this new world. Millions have left school over the past decade without even the basics they need for a decent job. And the current curriculum cannot prepare British students to work at the very forefront of technological change.
"Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years, once we remove the roadblock of the existing ICT curriculum.
"Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch. By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in University courses and be writing their own Apps for smartphones."
The reform of ICT in schools has been welcomed by industry leaders.
Peter Barron, Director of External Relations for Google, UK said: "We are delighted that the Government has recognised the importance of computer science teaching in schools. Too few UK students have had the opportunity to study true computer science, resulting in a workforce that lacks the key skills needed to help drive the UK's economic growth. We look forward to seeing how these new educational resources develop, based on teaching how computer software works rather than simply how to use it."
Richard Allan, Director of Policy for Facebook, Europe said: "Facebook welcomes the Government's plans to make ICT teaching in schools more interesting and relevant for young people. We need to improve our young people's skills in this area for the UK to be truly competitive in the digital age. Businesses also need to play their part in helping to equip young people with the digital skills they need."
Bill Mitchell, Director of BCS Academy of Computing, which was set up to promote computer science as an academic discipline, said: "BCS is extremely pleased that Michael Gove has publicly endorsed the importance of teaching computer science in schools."
Read more on the Department for Education website