Our Computing Curriculum
What is Computing?
Computing is any activity that uses computers to manage, process, and communicate information. In order to help their understanding, we tell our pupils that:
Computing is about using technology to make things easier, better and quicker.
Who leads Computing at Scarcliffe and what is their vision?
The computing leader at our school is Ian Marsh - who is also the head teacher. For further information about the computing curriculum, or for other support, he can be contacted via email. email@example.com
The subject leader's vision for computing is to ensure that every child leaves our school with a wide range of knowledge about how computing systems work and how they can be used to make life easier, better or quicker. He wants to make sure they are ready for the computing curriculum at secondary school and for life beyond school. The subject leader is also determined to ensure that children know how to use technology safely and responsibly. Finally, the vision is for children to have a positive and fun experience during computing lessons at school.
Computing Curriculum Intent
At Scarcliffe Primary School, we have five main intents that we hope to deliver through our computing curriculum:
- To use computational thinking in designing, writing and debugging programs.
- To have a thorough knowledge of online safety which equips them for life.
- To use search technologies effectively.
- To safely produce and consume digital literacy.
- Use information technology purposefully to be able to present and communicate work using a variety of software to design and create a range of outcomes suitable for the purpose and audience.
In order to achieve this, we have developed our curriculum intent under three broad headings:
Computer Science - This covers programming, coding and controlling both digital and physical systems.
Digital Literacy – This covers three main areas:
- Online safety
- Communication and collaboration
- Digital exploration.
Information Technology – There are several areas which are delivered under this heading:
- Multimedia – presenting information digitally
- Digital imagery – creating digital pictures and videos
- Music and Sound – Using music, sound and recording software
- Data – presenting information and statistics digitally.
Our curriculum intent document for computing (see below) shows how these areas are developed progressively during a pupil’s time at Scarcliffe. We are confident that our intent will prepare children to use technology in and out of school in a safe and responsible way and that it prepares them for Key Stage 3.
How Computing is implemented at Scarcliffe (including use of schemes)
The three broad headings are implemented in different ways at Scarcliffe. The curriculum is a two-year rolling programme to cater for mixed age classes.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
Every year, teachers plan and deliver a computer science unit to their class for one half term. These are taught through weekly lessons and replace the normal timetabled science unit for that half term.
For these units, teachers plan progressive lessons which lead to an end goal. Often the Teach Computing units are used as the basis for planning.
Teachers help children to see real life applications for learning in computer science.
Beebot, J2 Data, Scratch Junior, Purple Mash Coding, Crumble and Scratch are all explored in our computer science curriculum.
Planning for these units includes:
- Lesson PowerPoints / Flipcharts
- Learning Journeys
- Pre and Post Learning Tasks
- Sometimes teachers choose to create knowledge organisers.
During a computer science lesson, these are regular opportunities for teachers to model new learning and for children to explore software and hardware. As children gain more knowledge, they work towards producing an end of unit outcome.
The format of a computer science lesson
- Lessons often start with the question ‘What is computing?’
- Staff contextualise the learning for the lesson – where does it sit in the learning journey? There is some use of ‘Can you still?’ activities to recap core knowledge. Often these are verbal and recap prior learning within the unit
- Staff highlight any new vocabulary and revisit this to ensure children have a secure understanding.
- Staff share a clear learning challenge which is closely linked to the intent.
- Staff have a good understanding of who needs appropriate challenge and support in computing lessons. Differentiation is in place to support all to children. Differentiation might include considering mixed ability pairs, setting additional challenges and staff working with focus groups.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL LITERACY
Teaching children about online safety is an ongoing process. Staff give children reminders whenever they go online and ensure that children know what to do if they see something that upsets them online.
Our PSHE curriculum also helps children to understand the risks of being online as does our whole school topic ‘Healthy Bodies; Healthy Minds’.
As well as delivering online safety in this way, teachers deliver weekly online safety class assemblies based on the resources from Project Evolve. Delivering class assemblies means they can be pitched at an appropriate level for the children.
Communication and collaboration intent statements are taught alongside other objectives. For example, if the children produce a multimedia project, they might share this on Seesaw or on the school website.
The children also learn about digital exploration (or using the internet) through a cross-curricular (or dual objective approach). For example, if the children in Class 2 are learning about Christopher Columbus, they will need to be taught some of the digital exploration intent statements before doing conducting research. Many of the statements are revisited and built upon multiple times.
Children are also guided carefully when using the internet at school and our filtering system helps to keep them safe. We always use the Swiggle search engine to ensure child-friendly results are obtained.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
As mentioned in the intent section above, there are four aspects to the information technology strand of our computing curriculum:
- Multimedia (2) – presenting information digitally
- Digital imagery (2) – creating digital pictures and videos
- Music and Sound (1) – Using music, sound and recording software
- Data (1) – presenting information and statistics digitally.
Over a two-year cycle, each of these aspects should be taught once or twice (see the number in bracket above).
Teachers have to cover an information technology unit each long term – that is: one in the Autumn term, one in the Spring term and one in the Summer term. Often these termly information technology projects will be able to link to the class topic.
Teachers have the autonomy to decide whether they teach the information technology objectives within the topic or as an end of unit computing day.
Teaching Information Technology within a Topic
Teachers may decide that the information technology objectives are best taught through their learning journey for a particular class topic. For example, they might decide to integrate the intent statements from the data section of information technology with their science learning journey. When this is done, computing lessons must deliver the computing intent statements. Children will need to be taught new computing knowledge and skills and this must be explicit to them. For example, if a class have completed an experiment about the growth of plants in different environment and the class teacher decides to link this to presenting information in line graphs, lesson time must be dedicated to teaching children how to draw line graphs. This learning should be modelled clearly.
Teaching Information Technology through a Computing Day
With this approach, teachers will come off timetable for a whole day during the last week of a half term. Children will be given an outcome for the day that they will achieve. For example, they might be making a stop-frame animation about Pompeii or an information leaflet about Mary Seacole. Teachers will spend time in the morning teaching children the knowledge and skills they need in order to complete the task. Teachers will be able to cover multiple objectives in the intent document on that day by blocking learning through the computing day.
The end goal will often be published in some way so links can be made to the communication and collaboration section of digital literacy.
Learning will need to be well sequenced in order to support all children to achieve success towards creating an end goal. Challenge and support will be put in place through effective differentiation.
Our Curriculum Overview for Computing
The subject leader has spent time this year working alongside class teachers to develop a more in depth curriculum overview for computing. The first year (of the two year cycle) is now complete - see below. The subject leader will be working with staff again in the summer term of 2023 to develop the second year further. Below is the curriculum overview:
Links to our core abilities
We have identified seven core abilities that we hope to develop through our curriculum offer.
- Questioning and curiosity
- Critical thinking and open-mindedness
- Perseverance and resilience
- Team work
We can develop many of these core abilities through effective computing teaching, but we particularly focus on developing critical thinking and open-mindedness, communication and creativity.
Knowledge Organisers and Learning Journeys
We do not currently create knowledge organisers or learning journeys in computing lessons, but staff in each class are currently exploring how these might be useful in their particular year group.
Monitoring the impact of teaching in computing
We understand the importance of teaching high quality computing lessons to all children and leaders monitor the impact of teaching in a variety of ways.
Importantly, the subject leader spends time in classes - seeing what the children are learning, talking to pupils about their understanding and views about computing and talking to staff about the learning sequence they are following in computing. The subject leader likes to carry out book looks alongside pupils to gather information about their learning.
A range of further methods are used to gather information about the impact of teaching in computing. This is collated and shared with staff.
Staff assess children against the curriculum intent statements each year. Information is centred around determining which children are not yet at the expected standard and who are very secure within the expected standard. This provides us with information to inform our future teaching.
Here are some great websites to support learning in computing:
Online safety is so important to us as a school. As a result we take part in the iVengers project. Through this project, we have appointed two Year 5 pupils to become iVengers and their role is to ensure children are safe online. They complete a range of missions each year to promote online safety across the school community. Please click here to see the iVengers webpage.
Computing at home
We do not set homework as such for computing. However, each term class teachers send home a homework menu linked to their current topic and these often include options related to computing. In addition, a wide range of homework tasks involve the use of computers. These include uploading work to Seesaw, navigating websites and devices to get to TTR and Mathletics and accessing quizzes on Accelerated Reader. Accessing their learning in this way gives the children the chance to regularly develop their computer literacy skills.
We are always very impressed when children go home and produce work at home linked to the learning they have done in computing lessons at school. This is regularly shared and children receive recognition for having a positive attitude towards their learning.
Examples of pupil work
We are proud of the outcomes our children produce in computing and have started to take photographs of examples of some of their work. Please see the gallery below: