St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School intends to develop computational thinking through a modern, ambitious and relevant education in computing. We want to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity that will enable them to become active participants in the digital world. We aim to provide all our pupils, regardless of their backgrounds and learning abilities, with the computing knowledge and skills that will enable them to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. Technology is everywhere and will play a pivotal part in our pupils’ lives today and in the future. It is important to us that the children understand how to use the ever-changing technology to express themselves and as tools for learning.
Therefore, we want to model and educate our pupils on how to use technology positively and safely. We want them to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science. To enable them to recognise and analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems. We strive to nurture a sense of awe and wonder about the subject and foster a life-long love and appreciation of what computing has to offer. Whilst ensuring they understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with online experiences, we want children to develop as respectful and responsible users of technology, aware of measures that can be taken to keep themselves and others safe online.
Our aim is to provide a computing curriculum that is designed to balance acquiring a broad and deep knowledge alongside opportunities to apply skills in various digital contexts. Beyond teaching computing discreetly, we will give pupils the opportunity to apply and develop what they have learnt across wider learning in the curriculum.
Our scheme of work for Computing is adapted from the ‘Teach Computing’ Curriculum and covers all aspects of the National Curriculum. This scheme was chosen as it has been created by subject experts and based on the latest pedagogical research. It provides an innovative progression framework where computing content (concepts, knowledge, skills and objectives) has been organised into interconnected networks called learning graphs.
The curriculum aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in the digital world of today and the future. The curriculum can be broken down into 3 strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy, with the aims of the curriculum reflecting this distinction.
- Digital Literacy– As part of digital literacy, children acquire the practical skills and learn the safe use of ICT, along with the knowledge of how to apply these skills when solving related problems such as understanding how to use the internet safely, networks and emails.
- Computer Science– We teach the fundamental principles of understanding and applying concepts of computer science through logic, algorithms and data representation. Children learn to investigate problems in computational terms and have practical experiences of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems.
- Information Technology– Children are taught to express themselves and develop their ideas through ICT, for example writing and presenting as well as exploring art and design using multimedia.
We also deliver our Computing curriculum through the teaching of key Computing skills. These skills are progressive and age appropriate. The Teach computing curriculum is a spiral curriculum ensuring skills are reviewed and practised through all KS1 and 2. This ensures our children build on those skills previously acquired to maximise their learning potential and enable them to make links as they progress through the specific units.
Our children are given a wide range of resources and opportunities to apply their Computing knowledge and skills through cross curricular activities where they link their learning in other subjects such as Science, English, Mathematics, Art, Geography and History.
In Key Stage 1, one of the ways we are teaching the pupils about the language and concepts associated with computer programming is by using Bee Bots, which are simple programmable robots.
In Key Stage 2, we are developing a widespread use of a computer program called Scratch as well as using Crumbles and Microbits. These programs and devices enables pupils to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in computer programming.
In a typical computing lesson our pupils are provided with time to:
- review and consolidate previous knowledge
- discuss objectives, key vocabulary and success criteria
- identify and develop (build on) their computing knowledge and key skills
- experience an appropriate level of challenge according to their ability
- take part in independent as well as collaborative tasks
- self-evaluate and review their learning and that of others
E-Safety and Digital Citizenship
A key part of implementing our computing curriculum was to ensure that safety of our pupils is paramount. We take online safety very seriously and we aim to give children the necessary skills to keep themselves safe online. Children have a right to enjoy childhood online, to access safe online spaces and to benefit from all the opportunities that a connected world can bring them, appropriate to their age and stage.
Children build online resilience through the use of the ‘Project Evolve – Education for a Connected World’ framework. The framework aims to support and broaden the provision of online safety education, so that it is empowering, builds resilience and effects positive culture change. The objectives promote the development of safe and appropriate long-term behaviours, and support educators in shaping the culture within their setting and beyond.
To help with our implementation of the computing curriculum we have a variety of hardware available to all teachers, including:
- A fully equipped ICT suite.
- A set of Chrome books
- 20 iPads
- All children are provided with Google Education Suite accounts and work can be accessed in school and remotely.
Teachers measure the impact of their teaching on the pupils’ learning by noticing:
- a flexibility and fluidity to move between different applications and programs
- have acquired the skills taught to express themselves and be creative in using digital media
- are capable in applying their skills in Computing to a range of challenges
- they can use information technology to communicate safely and effectively
A pupil who has excelled within Computing and has acquired ‘greater depth’ can show it in multiple ways, using the computational language to explain their ideas and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.
When pupils struggle or fail to meet learning outcomes, teachers:
- provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate their learning
- target their teaching and questioning during lessons
- adapt and change lesson plans to close gaps or address misconceptions
- engage in verbal dialogue and provide feedback to the pupil
Teachers continue to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding within lessons and on a week by week basis. As a result of this, short term plans and activities are adjusted accordingly to meet the needs of all pupils. Having this approach not only enables our pupils to learn, know and remember more but also helps them to prepare for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the modern world.