Computing Curriculum Rationale 2019/20
At Mab Lane we want our children to love computing. We want to show pupils the links between knowledge, skills and real life employment opportunities them to have no limits to what their ambitions are. We want our children to grow up wanting to be software engineers, video game designers, web developers or IT consultants. We want them to embody our core values and encourage them to dream big!
This year we have had a computing ‘overhaul’ and have worked closely with IT consulting agency Hi-Impact to ensure that our computing curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their digital capital. We have made it our aim to ensure that children experience engaging, memorable computing lessons in our school. We want our children to leave Mab Lane with cherished memories and the ability to embrace the opportunities they are presented with in relation to computing and IT.
The computing curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas in our school.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the computing National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the computing curriculum. For example, in the spring term the whole school will celebrate ‘Safer Internet Day’ to reiterate the importance of staying safe online. A range of Safer Internet Day activities have been planned for such as debating key online safety issues, online safety oracy tasks and designing their very own posters to display in our local area to promote online safety.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities that may be normally out of reach – we believe that this will pique our pupil’s interests and passions. For example, this year we have teamed up with specialist teachers from Hi-Impact consultancy in order to deliver engaging and exciting sessions based around computing. The children will enjoy a range of fantastic, hands on sessions and will have the chance to work with a variety of equipment to tackle computing based challenges by participating in some fabulous practical activities. We have also signed up for a field trip to visit the Apple Store in Liverpool One in order to receive specialist teaching from Apple experts. At Mab Lane we firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
During Autumn Term 2019 a complete audit of the computing curriculum was conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the computing curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and key milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills.
We focus our teaching on the four main areas of computing. These areas are revisited in a variety of different ways term on term where pupils are given the opportunity to progressively build their skills and knowledge. We believe that computing is taught best when the 4 main areas are taught little and often every term rather than completing stand alone units that focus on one area of computing for an entire half term. We believe that this way of teaching allows children to more readily use their prior knowledge and understanding to help them to further develop their computing skills and also gives them opportunities to consider where their learning will go next.
For example, in Year 1 in order to develop the children’s skills in Control and Programming across the year the children begin by using an online coding program in Autumn Term. They then move on to using a variety of coding apps during the Spring term before moving on to use Beebots and a more complex app to help them to develop skills in sequencing and debugging directional instructions for an online character in the Summer Term. As well as this the children also access ‘Code Studio’ each half term. Which is a progressive web program which helps to builds pupils programming and coding skills year upon year.
In addition to this we work alongside computing experts from Hi-Impact consultancy to provide specialist computing teaching to pupils in across the school and frequently revisit online safety through explicit teaching, themed days and national celebrations such as ‘E-Safety Awareness Week’.
Computing subject specific Key Milestones assigned to each year group have been developed and shared with all staff. These characteristics underpin all work in computing and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. This also allows for Key skills to be built upon each year and for progression to be demonstrated for each year group. These key milestones can be found below.
Computing is taught explicitly for an hour weekly in every class. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to computing and that computing subject matter can be revisited frequently. Computing is also taught in a cross curricular manner whenever possible. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
Recently, as part of their CPD, each staff member was allocated time with our curriculum consultant from Hi-Impact to develop their knowledge and understanding of the new proposed curriculum. This has meant that we have a staff base who are secure in their subject knowledge and are confident to deliver high quality Computing lessons to their pupils that build upon prior teaching and prepare them for the next stages of their learning.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every computing lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in computing are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use an electronic based assessment tool to complete computing formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our school monitoring system. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in computing. Monitoring in computing includes: staff audits, work sampling, lesson observations and/or learning walks and converstaions with staff, pupils and parents about the computing curriculum.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
We launched our new curriculum with the children in Spring Term 2020. The children are thoroughly enjoying their new and improved computing curriculum and are keen to communicate to staff how much they are enjoying their computing lessons!