Today, technology is everywhere and already plays an integral part in students' lives, something it will continue to do as they move through their education, into adulthood and the world of work. At Grayswood CE Primary School, we therefore want to provide our pupils with access to a range of opportunities, skills and computing devices which promote their curiosity, independence and initiative and help them become skilled computer scientists.
We want our pupils to develop a keen interest and awareness of the impact that technology has and our broad curriculum which encompasses computer science, information technology and digital literacy reflects this desire. We want our pupils to understand that there is always a choice with using technology and as a school we model positive use and highlight the potential and myriad positives that the computing curriculum can expose them to. As a school we recognise that the best prevention for a lot of issues we currently see with technology and its wider use, is through education and so teach our pupils how to use technology positively, responsibly and safely themselves.
Building our knowledge in this subject will allow pupils to effectively demonstrate their learning through creative use of technology and embed the key skills associated with it. Teachers recognise that technology can allow pupils to share their learning in creative ways and look to enhance the reputation of computing across the whole curriculum to make learning creative and accessible. We want our pupils to be fluent with a range of tools to best express their understanding and hope that by the time they move on to secondary school at the end of Key Stage 2, children have the independence and confidence to choose the best tool to fulfil the task and challenge set by teachers, along with the ability to embrace the future with confidence.
Computing is taught through the framework of the 2014 National curriculum. The principles and content of its requirements are at the heart of the school’s programmes of study in computing. The school uses ‘Kapow Primary Computing’, which is a scheme of work compiled by teachers for teachers. This scheme is taught from Year R – Year 6. Kapow Computing incorporates coding, computer hardware, robotics and research projects to stimulate and challenge students whilst fulfilling the criteria of the Computing national curriculum in England. Pupil develop logic and creativity through tasks and lessons that require them to draw on their mathematical, scientific, and design & technology skills. Each individual ultimately has the opportunity to create programs, systems, and a range of content as evidence of their progress and attainment as they move through the school. Throughout the scheme, progression is designed to develop pupils’ digital literacy knowledge and equip them with the skills necessary to achieve and excel in an increasingly digital society.
To facilitate our pupils with this and given access to different technology types, we have invested in Google-based Chromebooks, Windows-based laptops and LearnPad tablet devices which all year groups will use throughout their time at the school. This enables teaching to be both specific to software solutions, and encourages learners to explore different solutions to problems using their broadened experiences.
To help ensure children have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, experiences and competence with technology, the curriculum has been broken down into 3 key areas, those being:
- Computer Science
- Information technology
- Digital Literacy
These key areas are implemented throughout the units covered in each year group and provide opportunities for children of all abilities with varying levels of support from extending learning through open-ended application of skills or supporting children through structured activities. It exposes pupils to a wide variety of skills, experiences and contextualised, real-life scenarios allowing skills to be learnt during structured tutorials, then mastered and applied in open-ended scenarios. This not only enables learners to experience a practical computing curriculum in which they develop their fine and gross motor-skills as part of their technological understanding, but also gives them the opportunities to apply thought and critical thinking to their learning, gaining a key awareness of the significance this has when dealing with technology and devices of all kinds.
Internet safety is taken extremely seriously and is embedded within our curriculum. We have an Online Safety Policy that provides guidance for teachers, children and parents about how to use the internet safely. Each year group participates in a unit of lessons around online safety, children understand how to stay safe when using technology and are able to put their learning into practise, using technology appropriately as they move through the school. In line with recent updates to Keeping Children Safe in Education, our approach to online safety is based on addressing the following categories of risk:
- Content – being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content, such as pornography, fake news, racism, misogyny, self-harm, suicide, antisemitism, radicalisation and extremism
- Contact – being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users, such as peer-to-peer pressure, commercial advertising and adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes
- Conduct – personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm, such as making, sending and receiving explicit images (e.g. consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes and/or pornography), sharing other explicit images and online bullying; and
- Commerce – risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and/or financial scams
Vocabulary plays a crucial role in the computing curriculum and from Year R, children are exposed to a range of age-appropriate technological language which increases in quantity and complexity as they move through the key stages. A glossary of terms is shared with children throughout each of the Kapow units and as much as possible, is displayed in classrooms as a reference point during computing lessons. Regular and consistent exposure to these computing terms enables children to better understand the many aspects within the subject and raise awareness of the terminology they will be experiencing throughout their digital lives.
Our approach to the curriculum means that learning for all pupils is achieved through fun, engaging and relevant lessons, tasks and experiences, in which the children understand that the content taught enables them to become contributors and leaders in an increasingly digital world. The impact of our curriculum and the quality of children’s learning is primarily evident in their ability and accuracy when using technology, both in school and in other contexts e.g when completing home learning. As they move through the school, further evidence of the impact is seen in the development of the skills they require to successfully operate, manipulate and control the different devices they are exposed to from Year R to Year 6. Children will display a growing independence when using technology, but also benefit from ongoing collaboration with their peers, as they jointly explore the hardware, software, apps and programmes delivered within our curriculum.
Alongside this, the beginning and end of each computing block taught require children to complete pre and post unit assessments to demonstrate any prior knowledge they have and what they have acquired during the block of lessons. These, and interviews with teachers and learners, allows the subject lead to ensure the knowledge-engaged curriculum taught is being learned and retained by all pupils. Such information also feeds into teachers’ future planning and enables assessment of pupil’s knowledge and skills. Through cross-curricular uses of computing in other subjects, teachers are able to revisit misconceptions and knowledge gaps in computing in tandem with other curriculum areas. This supports the pupil’s varied pace of learning and ensures all make good progress.
The effective teaching of Computing at Grayswood will impact learners in these ways:
- They will be digitally literate and able to select from a range of tools and skills to create a digital outcome for a given task
- They will understand that technology needs to be used with, and treated with, respect
- They will have an understanding of how the internet works
- They will understand the benefits and potential dangers of using the internet
- They will help themselves and others to minimise the risks of being online and know how to manage any potentially dangerous incidents
- They will understand the power of algorithms and how they impact our daily lives
- They will be able to take creative approaches towards problem-solving and use logical thinking to support their solutions
Enrichment in Computing
In addition to the curriculum, we offer the following enrichment opportunities in Computing for children at Grayswood CE Primary School:
- Use of technology and devices e.g. LearnPads, Chromebooks to support cross-curricular learning
- Access of intervention programmes/activities via electronic devices
- Pupil Tech Monitors who operate the hall laptop during school assemblies and presentations
- Photographing and recording videos within Forest School sessions
- Use of the library computer and associated hardware to take out and return books
- After school Tech Club
- In previous years, children accessed home learning and pre-recorded lessons via teams, zoom and loom platforms
- Participation in local/national/global webinars, with links to other subjects