At St. Giles Academy, we are passionate about our computing curriculum being a vehicle for children’s empowerment through enriched opportunities. We have developed a curriculum that will deliver creativity and experience to provide all our children with a broad, stimulating and ambitious curriculum that will develop their knowledge and cultural capital so that they are able to succeed. We believe that we should will equip children with the skills to participate in a rapidly changing world where work and leisure activities are being transformed through technology. It is also our intention that all children will have access to a high-quality Computing education, which will encourage them to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and adapt to these changes. Computing has deep links within all areas of the National Curriculum and it is imperative that Computing is linked intrinsically with all areas of learning in order to prepare children for any digital landscape of future. Computing skills are a major factor in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners and our Computing curriculum will ensure that all pupils become digitally literate, primarily: being able to find and use information and technology in a safe and effective way (at a level suitable for their age) in order to become active participants in a digital world.
The computing curriculum at St. Giles Academy follows the National Curriculum using the scheme Kapow that has been adapted to make it suitable for our pupils. Our pupils have access to a variety of devices and technology which motivate and excites our pupils to want to learn and experience more .Additionally, skills are embedded throughout other curriculum areas, particularly in Reading and Maths where websites such as Reading Eggs and Times Tables Rockstars are used daily to support children progress.
Despite computing not being explicitly mentioned within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework, which focuses on the learning and development of children from birth to age five, there are many opportunities for young children to use technology to solve problems and produce creative outcomes. In particular, many areas of the framework provide opportunities for pupils to develop their ability to use computational thinking effectively. EYFS assessment of Computing (Understanding of the World) is evidenced via Tapestry software and is in line with both the new EYFS profile requirements and Development Matters.
KS1 & KS2
The key threads through the computing curriculum are:
- computer science (programming and understanding how digital systems work),
- information technology (using computer systems to store, retrieve and send information)
- digital literacy (evaluating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully).
How is this subject taught?
At St. Giles we have created and developed a two year cycle that maps out the coverage to enable the discrete teaching and opportunities for children to use and access technology. Each key stage specifically plans the specific needs and outcomes for their class based upon the topics and skills expected within that year group.
Assessment for learning is used heavily during computing to check prior learning and understanding throughout. All concepts are modelled well by class teachers to ensure children have opportunity to ask questions and have first hand experience of all the elements to their computing learning.
Programming & Coding - Use of Scratch Jnr, Turtle logo, Scratch and Kodu. Children will learn what an algorithm is and be taught how to program and debug if and when necessary.
- Scratch is a programming language and online community developed by the Scratch Foundation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It’s designed to help young people create and share interactive media including games, animation, and stories. Using Scratch, children have opportunities for working collaboratively, thinking creatively, and reasoning systematically.
- Logo is an educational programming language, first developed in the 1960s. It is commonly known for its ‘turtle’ feature. Originally an actual robot that moved around the floor, Logo turtle coding now uses an onscreen ‘turtle’ or ‘sprite’. This sprite can be programmed to draw shapes, pictures, and designs. The ‘turtle’ itself can be anything the designer chooses, from cars to bird.
- Kodu is a simple visual programming language made specifically for creating games from UKS2 onwards. The distinguishing features of Kodu are visual icons that are added together like building blocks to form instructions and game environments constructed by the user in a 3D scene editor. It is designed to be accessible by children and enjoyable by anyone. As well as on PC, Kodu is also available via Xbox 360, which adds appeal for many children.
Information Technology - Key and basic skills through the use of Microsoft programs such as Word, Presentation and Excel.
- Microsoft Word teaches basic typing and word processing skills. Children will learn how to type with two hands, use the shift, space and enter key properly, and edit work by using the backspace, delete and arrow keys. Children will then go on to learn how to use undo and redo and to select and format text.
- PowerPoint Presentation focusses on important computer skills needed for safe and effective computer use and introduce some further skills concerning the use of folders, searching for files and printing. Children then build on this knowledge introducing children to presentations and teach the skills needed to create presentations adding shapes, sounds, links and animations.
- Excel is used to show children what a spreadsheet is and how they are used. Skills are taught to input formulas, formats and investigate specific problems. Examples include number calculations, sports league tables, test scores, and budget planning.
Online Safety - It is very important that children are taught to be good Digital Citizens. Therefore, every half term includes a discrete Digital Citizenship lesson. Digital Citizenship lessons encompass online safety, online bullying, online privacy and identity, healthy technology usage, use of passwords, copyright and managing information online.
How do we teach our children to stay safe on the internet?
An easy way for children to remember some key safety points is to think SMART. This stands for:
- S - safe - keep all personal information safe.
- M - meeting - never agree to meet up with anyone you don't know well.
- A - accepting - think about how safe it is to open emails or attachments.
- R - reliable - remember that people online are not always reliable.
- T - tell - if you’re every worried or uncomfortable, tell someone.
How do ensure that the progression of knowledge and skills for Computing?
Children's knowledge and skills are overlooked by the class teacher where they will make teacher judgements as to whether children have achieved the objectives against the skills documents. Class teachers work closely with subject leaders to discuss and monitor progress, having conversations and sharing work produced in staff meetings and on our school twitter page. This then enables staff to plan appropriately for next steps and future learning.
We encourage our children to enjoy and value the curriculum we deliver. We will constantly ask the WHY behind their learning and not just the HOW. We want learners to discuss, reflect and appreciate the impact computing has on their
learning, development and well being. Finding the right balance with technology is key to an effective education and a healthy life-style. We feel the way we implement computing helps children realise the need for the right balance and one they can continue to build on in their next stage of education and beyond. We encourage regular discussions between staff and pupils to best embed and understand this. The way pupils showcase, share, celebrate and publish their work will best show the impact of our curriculum. We also look for evidence through reviewing pupil’s knowledge and skills digitally through tools like Tapestry and our school Twitter. Progress of our computing curriculum is demonstrated through outcomes and the record of coverage in the process of achieving these outcomes.