'We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.'
Our Vision for Computing at St Joseph's
In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for Computing, our aim at St Joseph's is to provide a high-quality computing education which equips children to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. At St Joseph’s we believe children have the right to have rich, deep learning experiences that balance all the aspects of computing. The curriculum will teach children key knowledge about how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. At St Joseph’s, the core of computing is Computer Science in which pupils are introduced to a wide range of technology, including laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards, allowing them to continually practice and improve the skills they learn. As computing underpins today’s modern lifestyle, it is essential that all pupils gain the confidence and ability that they need in this subject to prepare them for the challenge of a rapidly developing and changing technological world. Through our positive attitude, our growing confidence, willingness to discover new things and determination to achieve, all children thrive through our school, in line with our ‘Grow, Discover, Achieve’ school mission.
By the time they leave St Joseph’s, 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). The objectives within each strand support the development of learning across the key stages, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.
Curriculum Intent for Computing
The Computing curriculum is taught discretely throughout school however teachers also use computing skills within other lessons e.g. research lessons, publishing work, sourcing images, recording data etc. The curriculum is inspired by the NCCE ‘Teach Computing’ scheme of work and long term plan. Topics have been carefully sequenced to build upon the knowledge and skills needed to be a computer programmer. Where appropriate, links will be made to our Global Driver words for that half term as well as the school’s Catholic Virtues. Teachers use Teach Computing as a starting point and plan engaging and exciting lessons using the 6-part lesson model where appropriate. A range of technological equipment and Apps are used to provide pupils with a wide range of knowledge and skills.
We are extremely fortunate in St Joseph’s to have one-to-one Chromebooks throughout KS2, with an additional set for Y1 and Y2 to share. We supplement these with a small number of iPads, and Interactive whiteboards are well utilised in every classroom. Both children and staff are becoming increasingly more confident about their computing skills. Remote teaching and learning has aided some individuals to develop their computing knowledge ten-fold. Children in KS2 are well-educated in the workings of Google classroom and are quite proficient in navigating it to find or submit their assignments, as well as demonstrating their knowledge through the use of floor books. EYFS and KS1 children demonstrate their computing knowledge through the use of floor books.
In EYFS, pupils will experience Computing through the following strands; ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’, ‘Physical Development’, ‘Understanding the World’, ‘Expressive Arts and Design’, ‘Managing Self’ and ‘Creating with Materials’. This involves guiding pupils to make sense of their physical world and capabilities through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about the world we live in. Pupils are encouraged and taught to be safe on the internet and use their physical development skills to operate simple games using the IPads, programming BeeBots and using the large interactive whiteboard in class to complete simple learning games. Computing is taught discretely through adult intervention using and adapting the Barefoot Computing scheme of work which are carefully sequenced to link with the current topic being taught. Pupils then have the opportunity to apply it during continuous provision. Adults know the pupils well and know how to progress their learning through questioning, prompts, suggestions and providing resources for them to use. Assessment for Computing takes place through continuous observation of the activities children are completing linked to Computing in the form of a tick sheet which then helps teachers to inform their provision plans for Computing. Evidence of these observations are kept in individual pupil’s learning journals, which includes pictures of children completing activities and anything they have said or written down which demonstrates their learning and understanding. Parts of the EYFS curriculum are stuck in books and are highlighted to show which area of learning the child has achieved through these observations. Floor books also showcase computing work in EYFS.
In Key Stage 1, the focus of Computing is to enable pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Pupils will learn that computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.The main focus in Computing is made up of three key areas: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. Each component is essential in preparing children to thrive in an increasingly digital world. Through these focus areas, pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils learn how to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Gaining the knowledge, skills and understanding throughout the curriculum allows pupils to become confident and responsible users of current and emerging technology. Our learners are encouraged to be ‘Digital Learners’, embracing the use of technology and develop their use of computational thinking and creativity. The Key Stage 1 computing curriculum focuses on pupils developing their understanding of creating digital content, learning about algorithms and simple programming and providing pupils with the knowledge and understanding of how to be safe when using technology. (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014).
In Key Stage 2, pupils will build on the skills learnt in Key Stage 1 and extend their mastery in computers, as both user and creator. Pupils will learn that computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The curriculum aims to make pupils computationally aware, teaching them concepts such as; how to predict and analyse results, how to break a problem down into parts, how to spot and use similarities and how to evaluate and approaches to help them problem-solve. A challenging and broad curriculum further develops pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding through applying fundamental principles of computer science, including abstraction, logic, decomposition and debugging. Pupils design and write more complex programs that stimulate physical systems, linking this to real world problems. They learn how internet services can be used to share and present information and how data is shared on a network. (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014).
The Long Term planning for Computing can be found below:
The importance of computational thinking
The biggest benefit of computational thinking is knowing how to take large problems and break them into simpler steps. Computational thinking is a process that makes the toughest challenges more manageable. While it draws on concepts fundamental to computer science, it can be used to solve a wide range of problems in a number of different subject areas and industries. Computational thinking offers students three main benefits; problem-solving skills, creative thinking abilities and autonomy and confidence (Ucode.com).
Pupils at St Joseph's will have many opportunities to use their computational thinking (CT) skills through a variety of subjects. During computing lessons, pupils have access to coding websites such as Scratch where they will demonstrate their CT skills through debugging algorithms to enable the sprite to do what they want it to do. Children lower down school will use the BeeBots and other resources to do this.
Curriculum Implementation for Computing
The six-part lesson for Computing
Most Computing lessons are delivered using the six-part lesson model. This includes:
Retrieval practice: Pupils will practice key knowledge from the previous unit of work. This is to help move this knowledge into the long term memory. It is also an assessment tool for teachers. This activity can be practical or written and can be completed independently, in pairs or in a group.
New learning: Pupils will be introduced to the Key Learning and knowledge for the lesson. They will also explore and practice tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary that will be used throughout the lesson. Direct teaching of the new knowledge and skills will be introduced and modelled where appropriate.
Let’s explore: Pupils will have the chance to practise new skills, knowledge and vocabulary within a short task. This can be completed independently, in pairs or in a small group.
Develop learning: In this part of the lesson, the knowledge and/or skills will be developed further as well as preparing the pupils for their independent task.
Independent task: Pupils may work independently, in pairs or small groups to complete a task or tasks linked to the Key Learning. Activities may be scaffolded for different groups of learners.
Plenary: Pupils will have the chance to reflect on their learning that day and self assess using the lesson's Key Learning. Pupils’ work may be celebrated and a discussion question may be used. Reference to our Global Driver word for the half term may also be used (where appropriate).
It is important that we are exposing children to concepts (words) within subjects and studying them in more depth in order to strengthen their understanding of topics and allow them to build on knowledge acquired in previous year groups. The stronger a child’s understanding of a certain word is, the more likely they will be be able to attach new vocabulary and knowledge on top (Marcus Jones, Huntington Research School).
At St. Joseph’s, key vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each lesson. This will include Tier 2 (vocabulary linked to the subject area) and Tier 3 (specific vocabulary for that lesson or unit) vocabulary. New words are discussed and potentially modelled within the lesson. There is an expectation that all pupils use the correct vocabulary within full sentences.
Vocabulary linked to the whole subject (tier 2 vocab)
Control, predict, digital, internet, web, simulation, virtual, technology, command instruct, algorithm, programme, click, save, open, enter, retrieve, mouse, tablet, keyboard, desktop, bee-bot, application, network, change, data, memory, coding, system, email, design
The importance of Knowledge in Computing
‘Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.’ (Amanda Spielman)
Studying computing helps us to prepare for the ever changing technological world we live in. Units/topics in Computing have been carefully sequenced to build upon prior knowledge as well as developing new knowledge in a succinct way. Teachers are familiar with where the units/topics fit in pupils’ educational journey at St Joseph’s and refer to progression grids when planning a unit of work. When using NCCE - Teach Computing to inform planning, teachers highlight key knowledge that they want pupils to learn and create bespoke knowledge organisers to support the development of this knowledge across the unit. Knowledge organisers include: previous knowledge that relates to the unit; key knowledge for the topic; aspirations for the future relating to the unit studied; glossary and key diagrams needed for the topic. These are available in every Computing lesson for pupils to refer back to. Pupils demonstrate their knowledge through a depth of understanding. A depth of understanding can be evoked through a bank of questions which teachers can quickly and effectively incorporate into their lessons, as done with core subjects e.g. What's the same/what's different about...? Explain why/how... What's the misconception with this statement about...?
Find the computing knowledge progression grid below:
Assessment in Computing
Teachers use Assessment for Learning throughout their lessons through questioning and during their application of knowledge and skills on the devices used. At the end of the unit, pupils will complete an end of unit task which will showcase the knowledge and skills pupils have learned within the unit. At the end of the unit, teachers will make a judgement whether the pupil is working at, below or above the National Curriculum expectations for their year group and this will be logged throughout the year using Insight. Subject leaders will then analyse the data from these assessments to track the progress of pupils and spot any patterns between groups.
It is our intention at St Joseph's that all children will be assessed both formatively and summatively throughout their computing lessons, and across the school year. Teachers should acknowledge whole class gaps within lessons and address those immediately, even veering from the objective of the lesson if necessary. On-going adjustments should be made to the planning sequence to allow for next steps based on the progress made within lessons and, over the course of the year, the class teacher should make a record of any child who has exceeded expectations and those who have been unable to meet the standards required. Those children should be the focus of ongoing differentiation within lessons.
Through the use of each student’s Google classroom to create and hand in work in KS2, teachers should be building a portfolio of completed tasks in their own Google Drive and in the form of a floor book. In EYFS and KS1, work will be presented in the form of floor books. Periodically the Computing coordinator will require samples of completed work to carry out a computing work trawl to assess the level of progress in teaching and learning within the subject (3 times per year).