Our Computing curriculum at Spring Gardens Primary School aims to develop creativity, resilience and digitally confident young people who are able to enthusiastically and actively participate in an increasingly digital world. We aim to develop skills that children need in order to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in their future. From learning to follow instructions and building resilience in Early Years, to preparing our children for high school by developing their critical thinking, our aim at Spring Gardens is for children to leave us as responsible and competent users of technology at home and beyond as we prepare them to be creators rather than simply consumers of digital products.
Children have access to a challenging and engaging curriculum that develops skills in computational thinking at the core while also giving them the life skills they need to embrace and use new technologies in a safe and responsible manner. When creating solutions to challenges, they should understand and develop their sense of self-worth and resilience and be given opportunities to apply problem solving skills to broader contexts both in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities in the wider community such as First Lego League.
Before leaving Spring Gardens, it is important that children become digitally literate and able to use information and communication technology to express themselves, collaborate, develop and share their ideas. Going forward, children at Spring Gardens will be part of developing a culture where they are given opportunities to create content, support peers and become positive role models as digital citizens.
Computing is taught in discrete lessons through half-termly units. Our units covered over the year find balance between the three areas of learning. The core of computing is computer science in which children are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming with algorithms and debugging. Building on this knowledge and understanding, children are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content in the form of communication, multimedia and data handling. Finally, children are taught about digital literacy in the form of online safety and the use of varying technologies with responsibility and accountability. This year, we are addressing gaps in digital literacy such as basic computer skills and word processing gaps that have been further identified as a result of home learning and gaps in skills across the school in this area.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in computing, we implement a curriculum that is progressive and builds on prior learning and skills. We have created a comprehensive progression document, alongside the North Tyneside Scheme of work, for staff to follow to best embed and cover every element of the computing curriculum. Knowledge and skills build year on year to deepen and challenge our learners. We aim to foster a classroom culture of high expectations, enthusiasm and passion which encourage students to think for themselves to solve problems whilst demonstrating creativity, logical thinking and resilience.
The teaching tasks are set in engaging, meaningful and authentic contexts with an appropriate balance of tasks that require a variety of devices and also include a unit of ‘unplugged’ activities linked to developing their knowledge and understanding of their role within e-safety.
Within lessons, children work in a variety of ways that include an appropriate mix of direct instruction, demonstration, peer-to-peer coaching and guided exploration. Teachers use a range of formative and summative assessment practices to make students’ thinking visible, check their understanding, measure progress and inform future learning. We aim to deliver feedback to students that uses the language of computing and computational thinking and identifies strategies for improvement and creating compositions fit for a purpose.
Children at Spring Gardens are keen to access Computing and IT outside of the classroom and we are working towards ensuring adequate provision is made so no child is left behind when accessing hardware at home. We are looking at how the allocation of hardware can be utilised to its full potential. Each child in Key Stage 2 has an NTLP account where they can access facilities online such as email and Google Documents for collaborative working. Each class also has access to some sort of online collaboration site, whether this be Google Classroom, Class Dojo or SeeSaw. As a school, we are working towards streamlining our practice to ensure all children have an area where they can access, store, collaborate and complete tasks set in school and at home. Extra curricular activities for Computing are always over-subscribed and children are enthusiastic about participating in coding opportunities.
We recognise that our children are keen to learn about computer science through well-planned and progressive units. However, we know that we need to be good role models especially when it comes to their online presence. It is important that our children find the right, mental and physical balance between the time they spend on and offline. We ensure that children and staff have regular conversations about how they use, interact and keep themselves and others safe in an ever growing digital world.
Our curriculum is planned with a ‘low-threshold, high ceiling’ approach to allow all children the opportunity to access intended learning and succeed while offering opportunities to extend their learning and begin to master concepts. Learning is demonstrated through opportunities to discuss, reflect and appreciate the impact computing has on their learning, development and well being when children return to collective KWL grids. Key vocabulary is available for staff and children to reference when discussing their learning. Progress of our computing curriculum is demonstrated through outcomes and the record of attainment on Target Tracker. We measure the impact of our curriculum through pupil voice, regular recorded evidence and images of the children's practical learning using Google Forms, and moderation opportunities with Local Authority Computing Networks. Moving forward, it is important that children showcase, share, celebrate and publish their work to show the impact of our curriculum.