At Holy Name RC Primary, we provide a high-quality computing education that equips our pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world around them. Our curriculum aims to prepare the children for life in the 21st century by encouraging them to develop a deeper understanding of technology and enabling them to participate effectively in this digital world.
Being based in the heart of Manchester, the city responsible for inventing the first computer and playing a pivotal role in code breaking during WW2 we endeavour to foster a creative approach to computing and critical thinking.
By following the ‘Rising Stars- Switched On Computing' Scheme of Work, our teachers are able to provide the children with high-quality, cross-curricular lessons that equip them with foundational skills and the knowledge and understanding of computing that they will need for the rest of their lives. The scheme is structured through the National Curriculum Framework to ensure the children have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, experiences and competencies within technology. Within the ‘Switched On Computing’ scheme, children are also exposed to E-Safety reminders which are incorporated in each unit of work. We also have an E- Safety Policy that provides guidance for teachers and children about how to use the internet safely. Every year group participates in lessons on E-Safety and the children are taught about how to stay safe when using technology. As a school, we also use and follow the guidance from ‘ThinkUKnow’, which is an online resource specifically aimed at children which reiterates the importance of staying safe online through fun activities, presentations and animations.
With the main focus being Computer Science, the children are taught about how computers and computer systems work, how to design and build programs, how to develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content. Through introducing children at an early age to simple coding, we support them in strengthening their logical thinking and problem solving skills which in turn support their mathematical development. As children gather more experience in designing simple programs, they understand how to better plan and organise their thoughts, skills which are generally transferable and are particularly helpful when developing good writing skills.
By ensuring our children are competent in using ICT equipment effectively, we facilitate opportunities for them to enhance their learning across the National Curriculum, through being able to conduct research, analyse information and present their thinking and creativity.
Pupils are introduced to a wide range of technology, including laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards, allowing them to continually practice and improve the skills they learn. This ensures they become digitally literate so that they are able to express themselves and develop their ideas through information and computer technology– at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
The teaching of our Computing curriculum will give our children a head start in acquiring the required level of digital literacy to become full and active participants on an ever more digital world.
All of our computing sessions are planned and taught by experienced and knowledgeable members of staff, allowing for a consistent application of the curriculum throughout the Key Stages. High-quality computing sessions allow for the development of skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas such as; Science, Mathematics, English and Religious Education. In all Key Stages, we teach a curriculum that enables children to become effective users of technology who can:
- Understand and apply the essential principles and concepts of Computer Science, including logic, algorithms and data representation;
- Analyse problems in computational term, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems;
- Evaluate and apply information technology analytically to solve problems;
- Communicate ideas well by utilising appliances and devices throughout all areas of the curriculum.
Our Computing curriculum is taught both in weekly, timetabled discrete lessons, using either iPads or laptops, and in a cross curricular way, where children, as accomplished computer users apply their skills to develop their learning in other curriculum areas. For example, in the EYFS children’s direct teaching of programming a programmable toy, links to their maths by using counting skills, using positional and directional language; to their communication and language skills by developing their speaking and listening skills, clarifying thinking; to their personal, social and emotional development by working collaboratively with peers and listening to others ideas. Further up the school explicit links are developed between Computing and other curriculum areas, for example in Y6 computing skills developed in the unit We Are Travel Writers includes developing digital mapping skills, links to geography topics including studying Ancient Greece and Locational Knowledge of South America and the Southern Hemisphere, Pacific Ocean, Galapagos Islands and the Equator.
In the EYFS the children are provided with the opportunity to interact and explore their environment using a range of multimedia equipment, including programmable and interactive toys, digital cameras and iPads. As part of some of their first activities, early technology experiences will include remote control devices, musical keyboards, televisions, cash registers, microwave ovens, tills, scanners and interactive books, as well as laptops and tablets. In the EYFS, continuous provision draws on these common uses of control technology for children to experience first-hand and to explore their uses through play. This may include the use of programmable toys like remote control cars or BeeBots, or it could be demonstrated through children ‘programming’ friends by telling them how to move around like a robot, children are also encouraged to role play with toy representations of every day technology such as washing machines, telephones and computers.
In Key Stage One 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 discover 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 Two the children will design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems and to 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. 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 and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
In school, we provide the opportunity for children to have access to laptops, iPads, interactive boards, digital cameras, BeeBots and various other electronic devices, although not every lesson requires equipment. All laptops and iPads are equipped with the appropriate software, such as Microsoft Office and Scratch and all staff and children have unique logins and passwords to access the school system. We also have a weekly computing technician to help monitor and maintain the equipment across the school.
Our Computing curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression of knowledge. The impact of the computing curriculum is evaluated through end of unit assessments in which an age-related pupil assessment is carried out against the expectations for computing within each year group. During the units, self and peer-assessment is carried out, for example, children can work with a partner to review, and help correct, algorithms and programs, or by providing critical, constructive feedback on digital content.
When teaching the selected units, teachers are encouraged to use Assessment for Learning strategies to help acquire feedback from children to adapt the session and inform future plans. Any final pieces of work at the end of the unit can be saved and assessed against the criteria and any aspects of learning that need to be strengthened based on the assessment can be developed for future lessons, in order to enhance pupil progress.
Our innovative, creative and ambitious approach to computing is reflected in the expectations of our children, to at least achieve the standards set out in the Early Years Curriculum by the end of Reception and the National Curriculum for Years 1 to 6.