Computing Curriculum Statement
The school’s over-arching intention is to map out Computing in line with our key drivers which are: oracy, initiative, futures, opening doors to the world and well-being. The Computing curriculum is ambitious and designed to give all pupils the knowledge, skills and cultural capital to help them succeed in life. Computing is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning. Technology is everywhere and will play a pivotal part in pupils’ lives. Therefore, we want to model and educate our pupils on how to use technology positively, safely and responsibly. Our aim is for our pupils to embrace this technology, and our broad Computing curriculum reflects this. We want our pupils to understand that there is always a choice with using technology and as a school we utilise technology to model positive use. We recognise that the best prevention for a lot of issues we currently see with technology/ social media is through education.
It is the school’s intent that our children will become more digitally literate in preparation for a rapidly changing world through the use of technology and technological advances. Through oracy, the children will be able to use, express themselves and develop ideas through information and communication technology, developing their problem-solving skills and use of their own initiative. Oracy is addressed directly through the use of logic which, through analysis, discussion and peer collaboration, will help to establish and check facts, and make predictions. Furthermore, the discussing and creating of algorithms, which is a precise sequence of instructions or a set of rules for performing a task, develops improvement of this. One of the ’12 Pedagogy Principles’ from NCCE is to work together: ‘encourage collaboration, specifically using pair programming and peer instruction, and also structured group tasks. Working together stimulates classroom dialogue, articulation of concepts, and development of shared understanding.’
Technology is changing how we live and work. The children will develop their problem-solving skills and use of initiative through developing their ideas through information and communication technology. By spotting patterns, the children will be able to make predictions, create rules and solve other problems. The children will be able to evaluate, or make judgements, based on different factors, such as design criteria and user needs. Initiative is directly used through abstraction and debugging. Abstraction is the ability to identify what is important and leaving out detail which is not required, while debugging is about finding out what is wrong in an algorithm or program and fixing it.
Children today grow up surrounded by technology and most take it for granted. However, they don’t know how it actually works and don’t yet grasp how it will shape their future. Technology is changing how we live and work. In our digital world today, nearly all jobs are affected by technology, and tech know-how can be the difference between getting ahead or being left behind. As the children become more digitally literate in preparation for a rapidly changing world, their future opportunities are directly enhanced, through progression from LKS2 to UKS2, transition to secondary school then future employment or study opportunities and as active participants in a digital world. In the wording of the National Curriculum, ‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world.’
Opening doors to the world
We live in a world in which technology is constantly changing how we live and work. In the digital world of today and tomorrow, most jobs are affected by technology and tech know-how can be the difference between getting ahead or being left behind. A dedicated series of lessons on word processing skills across the year groups, which had been highlighted as poor, will directly impact their futures and will open doors to the world. This will cover basic skills for Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, opening doors and providing future opportunities for our children, so these do not become a barrier to their current and future learning. The school will open the doors to the world and insights into future opportunities through links with, for instance, GCHQ, major employers in Gloucestershire directly and indirectly, and coding. As a school, we have also signed up to ‘Gender Balance in Computing’ offered through the NCCE (National Centre for Computing Education) to help find the best ways to encourage young women to study Computer Science.
The Children’s Society and Young Minds (2018) state that, ‘Social media is a huge part of everyday life for most young people, offering them 24/7 connectivity, creativity and access to endless information… there are many positives to social media, but it also presents new and unique pressures and risks.’ At this school, Computing will be taught within the over-arching umbrella of well-being with constant reinforcement of teaching children how to enjoy positive, safe and healthy relationships with the internet, social media and technology in a digital age. So our children can use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly, this will be taught with a focus on 8 strands: self-image and identity, online relationships, online reputation, online bullying, managing online information, health, well-being and lifestyle, privacy and security and copy and ownership. Our school aims to support and broaden the provision of online safety education, so that it is empowering, builds resilience and effects positive cultural change, developing safe and appropriate long-term behaviours.
Through the carefully planned and reviewed sequence of lessons, we intend to inspire pupils to safely develop a love of the digital world, see its place in their futures and give teachers confidence teaching it. Cross-curricular links are also important in supporting other areas of learning. The school’s Computing lesson plans and resources help pupils build on prior knowledge at the same time as introducing new skills and challenges.
We have created a comprehensive progression document for staff to follow to best embed and cover every element of the computing curriculum. The knowledge/skills statements build year-on-year to deepen and challenge our learners. Our aim is for our pupils to embrace this technology, and our broad curriculum reflects this. Through research, analysis and discussion, our Computing scheme is based on that offered by Teach Computing. The comprehensive Teach Computing taxonomy, with detailed progression of skills and knowledge for all year groups, is as follows:
Detailed learning graphs, unit plans, lesson plans, presentations and resources are offered, as well as end-of-unit assessments and rubrics enabling staff to feel confident in the progression of skills and knowledge, and that outcomes have been met. Knowledge Organisers are being developed, showing the progression of specific language involved in pupils’ learning, so that teachers can also assess understanding and progress through vocabulary.
How we teach Computing is constantly developing, being based on the ’12 Pedagogy Principles’ from the NCCE (National Centre for Computing Education) and Raspberry Pi. These principles are as follows: Lead with Concepts, Unplug, Unpack, Repack, Create Projects, Challenge Misconceptions, Structure Lessons, Work Together, Model Everything, Add Variety, Make Concrete, Read and Explore Code First, Get Hands-On and Foster Program Comprehension. Each unit is clearly sequenced, typically beginning with an unplugged or familiarisation activity. Each lesson plan and PowerPoint presentation is clear and concise, building on prior knowledge. Assessment opportunities are usually provided on the penultimate slide, whereby learners can self-evaluate how confident they are in relation to the Key Learning Point and Success Criteria. The final slide recaps what learning has taken place that lesson and details what learning will take place in the next lesson. We have recently started to evidence examples of work from each lesson by recording it in the class Computing ‘floor book’, with some children writing down what they have learnt that lesson. These ‘floor books’ show progression within and across year groups.
There are also many cross-curricular opportunities to discuss computing. For instance, one concept of 'computational thinking' is 'logical reasoning'. In English, this is explaining a character's actions in a story so far or predicting what they will do next. In Science, this is explaining how they have arrived at certain conclusions from the results of experiments. In History, this is how our knowledge is constructed from a variety of sources and discussing logical connections between cause and effect. Another concept of 'Computational Thinking' is 'algorithms', which is a set of rules or sequence of instructions to get something done. In English, this is instruction writing. In Science, this is the method after the experiment. In Maths, this could be a mental arithmetic approach such as how to multiply by 10.
We encourage our pupils to enjoy and value the curriculum we deliver, and always refer it back to our key drivers, which are: oracy, initiative, futures, opening doors to the world and well-being. Indeed, we want learners to discuss, reflect and appreciate the impact computing has on their learning, development, futures and well-being. With detailed lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations, which include assessment opportunities, recaps on prior learning and what they will learn next lesson, as well as the developing impact of the ’12 Pedagogy Principles’, pupils have the opportunity to embed their learning to long-term memory.
The ‘Digital Futures’ document produced by the GSP state that, ‘Over the last few years, schools within Gloucestershire have been noticing the negative impact of technology on their children’s learning and emotional well-being, as well as having increased numbers of incidents being reported for them to deal with which were the result of misuse of technology or online behaviour.’ Finding the right balance with technology is key to an effective computing education and a healthy life-style. The way we implement computing helps pupils realise the need for the right balance and gives solid foundations on which they can continue to build on in their next stage of education and beyond. Our pupils will be diligent learners who value online safety and respect when communicating.
Teachers will have high expectations and pupils will develop detailed knowledge and skills across the subject and, as a result, will develop well. Pupils will be ready for the next stage of the computing curriculum and will have a developing knowledge and understanding of the skills they will need. Pupils will use digital and technological vocabulary accurately, alongside a progression in their technical skills. Pupils will develop their confidence in using a variety of hardware and software and will produce high-quality purposeful products. Pupils will see the digital world as part of their world, extending beyond school, and understand that they have choices to make. They will be confident and respectful digital citizens going on to lead happy and healthy digital lives.