Computing - 3 I's
Computing, as a curriculum subject is a significant part of a child’s education. This is because computing plays a vital role in everyone’s daily lives and should therefore be at the forefront of primary education. Computing can provide both an extensive and wealth of knowledge, experience and fundamental life skills in modern-day society. It gives pupils the opportunity to learn a wide range of transferable skills, for example using various different forms of software such as iPads and Chromebooks. The skills taught during computing at Hempstalls connect and transfer between all subjects and are therefore cross-curricular across our school.
Computing at Hempstalls highlights the changing world in which we live in and in fact, the importance of computing today. Pupils at Hempstalls are exposed to a thorough and robust computing curriculum, which is of great importance as many of our children are disadvantaged demographically. Therefore, exposure is essential in giving each child an equal opportunity to access technology, as many will not in their daily lives. Furthermore, at the forefront of our curriculum is E-Safety. The ever adapting world of technology can expose children to many areas of risk. E-Safety is a vital part of our curriculum and every lesson taught will be underpinned by this term. We will ensure that each child has a clear understanding of how to stay safe online and which procedures they should follow to protect themselves whilst using technology. Through effective teaching, research and studied pedagogy, pupils at Hempstalls are able to develop the knowledge and skills to prepare them for the rest of their lives.
Computing will be taught through a concept-led approach, the same as every subject in our curriculum. Computing will teach pupils broad concepts such as programming, online safety and sequencing. The computing curriculum recognises that facts and knowledge of a great importance, but that this can be combined with conceptual knowledge to enable links to be made between subjects, year groups and schools, as well as their community and even the wider world. Furthermore, lessons are informed by the national curriculum and are carefully planned and structured to ensure that learning is purposeful and focused in each year group, from Reception to Year 6. Despite our lessons being informed by the national curriculum, the adoption of our scheme ‘switch on computing’, enables our school to offer an ambitious and inspiring curriculum which embodies rich knowledge and dives deeper into content through concepts and connecting concepts. Additionally, Rosenshine’s principles are also implemented across the school; Introducing new material in small steps, guiding pupil practice and ensuring a high success rate is achieved in computing.
Children who are Pupil Premium at Hempstalls are offered a broad and balanced experience in terms of computing. During lockdown, every eligible child received a device and Wi-Fi connection to ensure that they were able to access online learning and live lessons. Since then, all pupils should still be able to access the internet and this therefore breaks down this barrier to learning. At Hempstalls, we are working on providing parents with information regarding their pupils’ learning in computing and are trying to set up half-termly meetings, run by teachers to parents, to discuss and explain the upcoming units, including apps that will be used and the unit content. These sessions will be predominantly aimed at supporting parents with pupil premium children. Furthermore, we also offered a computing club during the Autumn term, where children were able to access more content related to computing.
To effectively implement computing as a curriculum subject, it will be taught in blocks throughout the year. In this way, Computing will be taught at least once a week per term and will be taught via our concept-led approach. Teaching computing in this way and through this method will enable full coverage of in-depth curriculum subject concepts and computing content. The concepts will work as a catalyst for new learning and knowledge to be embedded, so that depth and substance of key skills, facts and information is achieved. Children at Hempstalls will be exposed to several different devices such as iPads, laptops and Chromebooks, ensuring that they digitally literate and able to use such devices in a variety of different ways. Further to this, other subject areas also utilise such technology to enhance pupil exposure and highlight different ways technology can be used. For example, in science data-loggers are used to record sound and light, as well as monitoring pulse rate. At Hempstalls, digital literacy is therefore made cross-curricular.
Our computing curriculum is purposefully built on from KS1 to KS2. In Key Stage 1 the children will learn to understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions. They will be taught to create and debug simple programs and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs. They will be shown how to use a range of technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content as well as recognise common uses of information technology beyond school. They will be taught to use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.
In Key Stage 2 the children will design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems such as micro bits; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts. They will use sequence, selection and repetition in programs, use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and correct errors in algorithms and programs. Children will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration. They will use search technologies effectively, learn to appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content. Children will be taught to select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals. They will use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content they may see and who to contact if they see such content.
E-safety is a connecting concept that is weaved throughout each module and explicitly taught during every block throughout the academic year. In addition, E-safety also shines through in many other areas of the curriculum. For example, being intertwined in our weekly PSHE sessions through explicit examples or related content. It is also highlighted as a home-school link - For example, it is embedded through Reading Eggs, Times Tables Rock Stars (TT Rockstars) and weekly homework via Google Classroom. Furthermore, as the computing lead, I put weekly E-safety tips on our school newsletter for parents to follow, to ensure that they are aware of how to keep their children safe online or whilst using technology and to keep them up-to-date with current information and key tips regarding online safety and similar related content.
Children at Hempstalls leave as computing champions. The robust computing curriculum enables pupils at Hempstalls to be digitally literate and able to join the rest of the world on its ever-developing, digital platform. They will be fully equipped with the key skills and knowledge needed to use technology effectively and safely. Evidenced in the pupils’ expert books, they will understand key terminology surrounding computing, as well as several significant people and be able to identify different related careers that many will aspire to achieve.
As our children become more aware and more confident of their abilities in relation to Computing, they will become more independent and key skills such as problem-solving, self-evaluating, logical thinking and computational thinking should become second-nature and will become life-skills. To conclude, the biggest impact we would like to have on the children of Hempstalls is for them to be aware of and understand the benefits of using the internet, but also the consequences of its misuse – They should be entirely aware of how to keep themselves safe online.
The impact of computing will be monitored through pupil interviews, seeing if the children can discuss computing, their year group theme and content, relevant terminology and the skills that they have learned.
A positive impact can already be directly seen through our use of Google Classroom during the COVID-19 lockdown. For example, we provided the most disadvantaged children with laptops so they could access Google Classroom. Our school continued teaching live lessons daily, which was beneficial in ensuring that COVID had as little impact on pupil’s learning as possible. Teaching and learning was closely monitored by subject leads who would carry out drop-in monitoring remotely for all curriculum subjects. Furthermore, upon returning to school,
‘Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living.’