At Ashton St Peter’s Primary School, we acknowledge the rapid rate at which technology is developing and progressing; and it is important that we equip the children at our school to engage with this. Through explicit teaching of technological skills, knowledge and techniques, children will be enabled to understand and become active participants in a digital world. By making links with a range of curriculum subjects, such as Maths and Science, children will gain a firm understanding of the uses and possibilities of Computing. As a result of learning how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming, children will be equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Children will also be equipped to deal with and prevent potential dangers online through explicit and discrete teaching of e-safety. By combining the skills in these areas with their imagination, children will feel confident to develop and share their own ideas through a range of digital media. Making children aware of the wide variety of jobs and opportunities there are linked to Computing, will encourage children of any gender, ethnicity or background to engage with technology safely and purposefully within school and the wider world.
Our Computing curriculum has been organised in a specific way in order to develop progression of skills across the school. The five key areas are: E-safety, computing systems and networks, creating media, data information and programming. These are introduced in the Early Years Foundation Stage through a range of different approaches in real life situations, including programmable devices and use of everyday technologies. These topics are revisited in each year group throughout the school; building on previously taught skills. Planning is informed by and aligned with the Key Stage 1 and 2 Computing National Curriculum and teachers follow the planning on the ‘Teach Computing’ website for every topic except ‘e-safety’ and ‘programming. Teachers use the Espresso Coding plans and resources to support their teaching of the programming unit.
We feel it is important to start with e-safety each year to ensure the children are aware of how to stay safe online and use technology discerningly. The knowledge and skills in this unit are referred to throughout the other topics in the year so children can apply them in their work and understand the importance of staying safe online. The other units become increasingly more demanding within each year group, so children are continually being challenged and encouraged to develop previously learnt skills. It was decided that children would benefit from having a whole term on programming, as experience has shown that they have more opportunities to develop more complex apps, resulting in better outcomes.
Outcomes for each unit are easily relatable to the children and teachers have a good understanding of expectations; in particular, the vocabulary children are expected to use. This in turn helps to inform termly assessment judgements and subject leader reports, which aids evaluations of and improvements to the implementation of Computing.
The school has a class set of both ipads and Chromebooks to support teaching and learning across the curriculum and classes are timetabled for their use. At the beginning of each topic, teachers ascertain the children’s ability and use this to inform their decisions about which technology would best achieve the outcomes and how children’s learning can be supported or extended in order to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding.
Our Computing curriculum has been carefully designed as a spiral curriculum; revisiting the same units throughout their school journey, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning. This ensures children continually build upon the knowledge and skills throughout the units in the year and as they progress through the school. At the end of each unit, children will have the opportunity to demonstrate their progress and evaluate their learning. This could be through discussions with a teacher, demonstrations of their skills or by producing a final piece of work which showcases their knowledge and understanding. Outcomes are closely linked to the objective statements and if children are reaching these by the end of the unit, then they are considered to be in-line with or above age-related expectations. Children enjoy Computing and become increasingly confident using a range of technology for different purposes, explaining their choices and considering their work constructively. In addition, they understand the impact of their actions online and are prepared to use technology safely across other curriculum areas and in the wider world.