A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
At Gilded Hollins, we have a bespoke computing curriculum, which aims to inspire children to become, not only computer literate, but be the thinkers of the future. By building on the knowledge and understanding which is taught, pupils are equipped to use information technology to both create and debug programs and systems, use various systems effectively and most importantly, stay safe whilst doing so. Computing also ensures that pupils are able to use a wide range of online services, express themselves through interactive means and develop their ideas through information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Our computing curriculum is taught through 4 main strands:
Our computing scheme also has a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these strands and key areas across each year group. These overviews show which of the National curriculum attainment targets are met in each of the four strands. We utilise 'Code.org' as a teaching tool for the main part of out coding and programming strand as it is a fantastic teching tool which gives pupils the knowledge and vocabulary which they need to complete a task, but in bitesized steps. Extention activities are also available for those pupils who are at a stage to enrich their learning experience.
A much more open ended approach may also be employed with no specific instructions given to encourage computational thinking e.g. in Year 2, the children use ‘Lego - Fix the Factory’ for programming information. Here, the pupils will start with no instructions given. They then must use prior knowledge and problem solving skills to complete each level. This approach is always tailored according to the needs of the pupils. Individual lessons are introduced through an objective and ensure progression across all year groups. For example, in the Foundation Stage, the objective may be to move a floor robot by pressing a ‘forward’ button which progresses to being able to programme a sequence of commands to achieve a specific outcome by Year 3. Finally, in Year 6, the children’s objective will be to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an algorithm.
Pupils may be taught in mixed ability groupings depending on need. The needs of SEND children are met through differentiated tasks, the support of teachers, teaching assistants or mixed ability pairings. Wherever possible, pupils are encouraged to adapt tasks to suit their own interest. For example, when using Scratch in Year 3, the children must create their own theme which relates to them as a person. When using 'Code.org', children are able to work online, with a partner, to encourage discussion and teamwork. Hints are also available, digitally, for each task to encourage any child who may need extra help.
In Years 1 to Year 6, Computing is taught as a discrete subject but also used to enhance work in other subjects. Internet research is now an integral part of Learning Challenge topics. Also, multimedia programmes such as Word and PowerPoint are used to publish or present written work and bar charts and graphs are created in Excel and Word. Pupils record sound using microphones on Ipads (Foundation Stage phonics) as well as using recording devices in PE and music for self-evaluation of performance. In the Foundation Stage, Computing is integrated into daily practice with many activities being child initiated through free choice, as well as adult led.
A wide range of resources are used in meeting the requirements of the Computing Curriculum. These include laptops, iPads and apps, sound recording devices, Code.org, Lego WeDo software, Beebots, Sound Pegs, IWBs, Microsoft Office Suite, Scratch, Spelling shed, TT Rockstars and Reading Plus to name but a few. ‘Reading Plus’, ‘TT Rockstars’ and ‘Spelling Shed’ are subscription website which are also used to encourage and enhance home learning. Indeed, pupils are actively encouraged to practise and refine the skills they have been taught through home learning as many pupils have access to similar software at home and programming software (Scratch and Code.org) are free to use.
As online safety is a huge part of modern life, we strive to give the pupils at Gilded Hollins the best possible education within this strand of our computing curriculum. Because of this, the children learn about staying safe online through 'Code.org' lessons, 'SCARF' PSHE lessons, online safety assemblies -every 2 weeks, special events (such as safer internet day) and through posters added to our weekly newsletters.
Discrete skills taught across the school
Key Stage 1
understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
create and debug simple programs
use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
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.
Coding and Programming
Technology in our lives
Multimedia / Data Handling
Key Stage 2
design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable
Coding and Programming
Technology in our lives
Multimedia / Handling Data
Teachers monitor progress continually and adjust their teaching accordingly. Although much of the learning covered is practical and children keep a portfolio of evidence through a class 'floor book', saved work on the school’s server and on ‘Seesaw’, it should be remembered that Computing is not always about using a computer or digital device and may involve written work, note taking or diagrammatic representation. Assessment through questioning, presenting and verbal discussion is an area that the school works hard to promote and enhance. For example, in Year 4, the pupils create their own PowerPoint presentations and then read them out to the class, explaining how they created features such as titles, transitions and links.
Computing knowledge and skills as outlined in the curriculum are assessed termly. For coding, Code.org is used to assess pupils’ attainment and progress and is available for viewing by the Headteacher and subject leaders. In this way, we have a clear picture of children’s progress and achievement in Computing right across the school. In Foundation stage, learning is initiated from the child’s own knowledge and assessment of children’s knowledge is measured through the steps made in the EYFS profile and is evidenced in the children’s learning journals.
Samples of work is also stored on the ‘Seesaw’ app where it can be easily accessible to parents ensuring that they are aware of their child’s achievements.
Observations of the children working during discrete Computing lessons and using technology in other subjects have shown us that they are engaged and enthused by their learning in this subject. Teachers work hard to choose activities that will capture the children’s imaginations and with ongoing improvements in computing resources, this is becoming more varied and captivating. For example, the children have access to a range of coding lessons which include ‘pop culture’ icons such as Star Wars and Minecraft. One Year 3 child said, “I love playing games at home and now I know how to make my own. I’m going to make a ‘Horrid Henry’ game where you have to break things like he does!”
A wide range of skills are taught through the available resources. Year 5 use ‘Reading plus’ to develop their reading skills and Year 4 use ‘Hit the button’ daily, to practise times tables.
Work sampling takes place over the course of the year and allows me, as the subject leader, to work with teachers to monitor the standard of the children’s work overall, as well as review the use of the ‘Seesaw’ app and how well the cross curricular nature of the teaching curriculum has embedded across the school. We also have progress trackers on Code.org in order to facilitate future learning.
Foundation stage achievement and progress is monitored through relevant age range steps laid out in the EYFS profile. These small learning steps lead to the Early Learning Goals.
What else did the children say?
“I like making movies in ‘Imovie’ because you can add your own music and words to them to make them interesting.” (Year 2)
“Code.org is the best because you get to code games and then play them.” (Year 5)
“My mum likes looking at my work on Seesaw and I like using the blog to talk about my friends work.” (Year 3)
“Power points are the best thing about using the laptops because you can put all the information you have learnt in a topic into them and then present them to the class. It’s fun trying to have the best one.” (Year 6)
Current standards and progress
Discrete skills and specific knowledge that have to be taught over the year are formally assessed each term. This is carried over from year to year helping teachers to recognise each child’s progression. Decisions are made as to whether children are below, working within or working above the level appropriate to their age.
As the year progresses, work samples and Code.org progress trackers enable the class teacher, and me as subject leader, to gain a clear picture as to whether various children or cohorts are working above, below or expected levels in Computing. With this information, planning can be changed and improved to help progression and pupils’ knowledge.
Where to now? Recent Developments, highlights and Priorities for future developments
We now have dedicated Ipads for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. This enables multiple classes to use the equipment at the same time. Children are using many different apps to enhance their learning and understanding in other lessons (eg. Pic Collage and Photo editing are used a lot in foundation subjects).
Priorities for Future Development
From gaming and chat, to streaming and video, young people are shaping the interactive entertainment spaces they are a part of. Safer Internet Day 2022 celebrated young people’s role in creating a safer internet, whether that is whilst gaming and creating content, or interacting with their friends and peers.
At Gilded Hollins, we spent the day looking at these topics, ensuring that pupils understand how to stay safe at all times on the internet.