“Technology should improve your life… not become your life.”
At Atwood, we value computing as an important area of our curriculum, particularly in developing a child’s computational and critical thinking skills. Our continually evolving curriculum ensures that our children are ready to deal with a rapidly changing world through the use of technology.
We want the children to develop an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether they include computers or not. Increasing one's computational thinking skills allows us to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. People who can think computationally are more able to conceptualise, understand and use computer-based technology. They are therefore better equipped going forward in our ever increasingly technologically based world.
We follow the National Curriculum for Computing and support this by using two schemes of work, one from Rising Stars and the other from the National Centre for Computing Education. We have assessed where there were weaknesses when using just the Rising Stars curriculum and have strengthened these gaps by incorporating units from the National Centre for Computing Education.
Computing is a practical subject and we allow the children opportunities to practise what they are learning as often as possible using the technology we have both in school and out. We teach the children to identify how technology is used in the real world, therefore seeing its purpose and importance in our lives. We encourage the children to use their creativity in computing so as to spark their excitement and enthusiasm in thinking critically about how they can take their subject knowledge and skills forwards.
We have used Focus Education resources as a basis for developing the progression of knowledge and skills in computing. We monitor and map the skills and knowledge taught throughout the school to ensure that there is a clear progression of learning. We try, where possible, to adapt our curriculum to incorporate local and national computing events as well as staff and children’s interests. We also encourage families to learn coding and computing skills at home as well as to continually update their online safety knowledge by regularly sharing information and access to learning opportunities.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are taught to use equipment and software confidently and purposefully, to communicate and handle information and to support their problem solving, recording and expressive skills. In Key Stage 2, our children extend the use of computing that they use for communication, investigation and programming and work to understand how to communicate safely.
Children are introduced to a wide variety of skills within computer science, information technology and digital literacy during a weekly one hour lesson. Use of technology is also incorporated into other areas of the curriculum, being used in the following ways: research into subjects such as History and Geography; software such as Lexia is used to support learning in English; hardware such as the Beebots to develop positional language in Mathematics and cameras to learn photography and animation skills in art and design.
Programming is a core part of learning about computer science. Whilst learning about programming we focus on the problem solving, systematic and critical thinking skills that are a vital element in developing our ability in this area. Developing computational thinking supports our learning in many other areas of the curriculum and daily life and is reinforced through cross-curricular teaching. We empower our children to know about the hardware that they are using and the basics of how these devices work. We equip the children with high-level skills in using computers, software and the internet so that they can apply these skills in a broad range of contexts.
Computing is a subject which is enjoyed and looked forward to by the children of our school. Our children are confident when using a range of hardware and software. Our links with the local secondary school have provided the children with opportunities to use different hardware such as Micro:bits and Lego Mindstorm, and software to develop their programming skills. They have a deep understanding of online safety, how to stay safe online and what to do when things do happen. We have had some online safety incidents, however these have been dealt with swiftly and effectively by staff, pupils and parents.