“Teaching children to think computationally is essential learning and should start as young as possible. Children in nursery can understand the importance of sequencing and pattern making. Computational thinking doesn’t require lots of resources or even constant access to a computer. We can grow problem solvers, careful sequence checkers, creative thinkers and logical predictors long before the word “algorithm” is ever mentioned. We must provide an equality of opportunity across both gender and background; computational thinking is not the province of any one type of person – it is fundamental to the shared experience of us all.”
-Susan Ward (2019), Times Educational Supplement
The use of ICT is an integral part of the national curriculum and is a key skill for everyday life, now and in the future. At The Oaks, we know technology can be positively used to acquire, organise, store, manipulate, interpret, communicate and present information. We believe that all our pupils are entitled to quality hardware and software and a structured and progressive approach to the learning of the skills needed to enable them to use it effectively for their futures. We foster an interest in computing that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for Computing, our aim is to provide a high-quality computing education which equips children to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The curriculum will teach children key knowledge about how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Learners will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers.
By the time they leave The Oaks, children will have gained key knowledge and skills in the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science (programming and understanding how digital systems work), information technology (using computer systems to store, retrieve and send information) and digital literacy (evaluating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully). As a school, we know that a high-quality computing education is essential in our ever increasingly digital world. The objectives within each strand support the development of learning across the key stages, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.
At The Oaks, we aim for our children to embrace this evolving technology through trial and error, sequential exploratory sessions and subject specific sessions led by the class teacher or MGL. Our goal is to nurture and develop creativity, and inspire their imagination within computing.This is supported throughout the school’s curriculum by innovative, purposeful computing vocabulary to ensure our children are digitally literate in our ever evolving digital world.
We intend for all children including SEND and pupil premium children to have frequent and fluid access to devices in order to develop their creativity, resilience, risk-taking and critical thinking skills across all subject areas. We also allow the children the opportunity to reflect if their techniques were successful and purposefully adapt their ideas. This supports the school’s understanding that using technology is fundamental in many aspects of our children’s futures and they need to be equipped with secure knowledge. Secure and fluent knowledge that they can apply to their future; in secondary school, in university, and beyond in the workplace. In addition, children are given frequent greater depth opportunities to extend their computing knowledge in order to become tenacious, independent computer users.
Furthermore, we realise it is crucial that all children know how to use the internet safely. We believe that they must understand how to safeguard their own personal data when using websites and apps, but also when experimenting, inventing and creating their own digital content. This is threaded throughout our computing curriculum rather than celebrated in individual events. We actively explain to all our children the vital importance of keeping themselves safe and prepare them to be responsible and compassionate computing users now and in the future.
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
...of our curriculum
At The Oaks, computing is taught over a series of learning episodes. This ensures children are able to develop depth in their knowledge and skills over the duration of each of their computing topics. Teachers use the ‘Switched On: Computing’ scheme, published by Rising Stars, as a starting point for the planning of their computing lessons, which are often richly linked to engaging contexts in other subjects. In addition to the computing scheme we also teach basic computing skills such as creating a Word document and typing up a piece of work or creating an excel document and using formulas. Knowledge and skills of the computing National Curriculum are mapped across each topic and year group to ensure systematic progression. These can be found on the class curriculum maps. We have a class set of ipads and two class sets of laptops to ensure that all year groups have the opportunity to use a range of devices and programs for many purposes across the wider curriculum, as well as in discrete computing lessons. The computing curriculum is also enhanced by our MGL computing specialist, and this enables the children access to specialist equipment. Employing cross-curricular links motivates pupils and supports them to make connections and remember the steps they have been taught.
The implementation of the curriculum also ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy. The children will have experiences of all three strands in each year group, but the subject knowledge imparted becomes increasingly specific and in depth, with more complex skills being taught, thus ensuring that learning is built upon. For example, children in Key Stage 1 learn what algorithms are, which leads them to the design stage of programming in Key Stage 2, where they design, write and debug programs, explaining the thinking behind their algorithms. We also teach a progression of Computing vocabulary to support children in their understanding.
Online safety is taught within each Computing lesson as a short starter activity as well as being taught as a unit each year. Online safety procedures are communicated with all staff and parents.
…of a Carefully Enhanced SEND Computing Programme
To ensure that our SEND children can access all our computing concepts, we are guided by the 2020 EEF Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools Guidance Report. Therefore, we focus on supporting our children with additional needs by removing barriers and providing additional support and time to complete tasks. We also allow all children to have the opportunity to explore the technology and the programs.
…of Supportive Online Platforms
In addition to physical resources, all children within school have access to several online platforms including mathletics, TTRockstar, Accelerated Reader, MyOn and more. A full list of these can be found in our Home Learning Policy. All of our online platforms are also used regularly within the classroom and they are modelled by staff so children can access them independently.
…of a Targeted Approach for our Children who receive Pupil Premium
Through the EEF Guide to Pupil Premium (2019), we know that a tiered approach tailored to our children that receive Pupil Premium funding allows them to make the greatest progress and close any attainment gaps that may have arisen due to their background. This is balanced through three key areas:
- Ensuring our teaching staff, especially those early in their career, have high-quality training and support. This enables them to understand how to teach with high expectations.
- Removing wider non-mathematical barriers through tailored strategies. For example, personalised attendance strategies, extra emotional support or funding further provision like technology for accessing mathematics online platforms at home.
…of Valued Professional Development for our Motivated Teaching Team
At The Oaks we appreciate the importance of staff professional development and aim to develop our staff to be competent and experts in computing. As technology advances quickly it is key that we develop our staff continually. The Computing Lead aims to provide up-to-date, purposeful professional development in order for all teaching staff to have deep subject knowledge, this is sometimes delivered by our computing specialist from MGL.
…of tailored support for the Parents and Carers of our Children
Our school website offers a variety of online support for parents from e-safety to supportive videos on how to use online platforms. We also use social media to share e-safety tips for apps and games that children access. We recognise how sometimes children are more competent using technology and programs than parents and carers and therefore we promote them to actively engage with their children about what they access and how to stay safe online.
The development of this computing curriculum is inline with our 3 year school development plan.
What will it look like when we have achieved our intent?
Our approach to the curriculum results in a fun, engaging, and high-quality computing education. The quality of children’s learning is evident in curriculum books. Teachers are able to revisit misconceptions and knowledge gaps in computing when teaching other curriculum areas. This supports varied paces of learning and ensures all pupils make good progress.
Much of the subject-specific knowledge developed in our computing lessons equip pupils with experiences which will benefit them in secondary school, further education and future workplaces. From research methods, use of presentation and creative tools and critical thinking, computing at The Oaks gives children the building blocks that enable them to pursue a wide range of interests and vocations in the next stage of their lives.
At The Oaks, we offer staff professional development through MGL and we offer an after school STEM club on a Wednesday led by our specialist teacher.