At Castor, we recognise that technology is everywhere and has an increasing presence in our children’s everyday lives both at home and in school. We therefore want to model and educate our children about how to use technology positively, responsibly and safely whilst exploring their own personal expression and identity. Our children will progressively understand that there is always a choice with using technology and as a school we utilise technology to model appropriate use. We recognise that the best prevention for a lot of issues we currently see with technology and the rise of social media is through education, dependent on a strong emphasis of e-safety within the curriculum. Ultimately, we want our children to be positive creators and role models rather than consumers, and our broad curriculum encompassing an awareness of digital systems and networks, an understanding of data and information alongside a growth in programming skills and creating media recognises this and sets children up to achieve this vision. This correlates strongly to our school’s vision statement; ‘empowering us all to make a positive difference to the world’.
We recognise that technology can allow pupils to share their learning in creative ways. We also understand the accessibility opportunities technology can provide for our pupils, reinforced through periods of remote learning during the last 2 years of many of our current children’s education. Our knowledge rich curriculum has to be balanced with the opportunity for children to apply their knowledge creatively which will in turn help our pupils become skilful computer scientists and problem solvers. We want our pupils to be fluent with a range of tools to best express their understanding and by the end of Upper Key Stage 2, have the independence and confidence to transfer their knowledge through different types of technology (in particular digital computing through MicroBits and Crumble Kits) and in different learning contexts.
We follow ‘Teach Computing’ units which cover all aspects of the National Curriculum with links to ‘Education for a Connected World’. The Teach Computing scheme was chosen as it has been created by subject experts and is based on the latest pedagogical research. It provides an innovative progression framework where computing knowledge, skills and objectives are taught in Key Stages 1 and 2 through a spiral curriculum. Here, each theme (digital systems and networks, data and information, programming skills and creating media) is revisited regularly through a new unit that consolidates and builds on prior learning within that theme. Teach Computing also provide regular online and face-to-face CPD which ensures all teaching staff are up-to-date with their subject knowledge. All staff have undergone year group specific Teach Computing led CPD to ensure consistency and accurate progression. Strong subject knowledge is vital for staff to be able to deliver a highly effective, adaptable computing curriculum to stretch and extend children’s learning and effectively support those who need additional provision. Within the revised EYFS statutory framework, the Technology strand within Understanding the World has been removed. However, there are opportunities within each area of the framework to enable practitioners to effectively prepare children for studying the computing curriculum. In continuous provision, there are many opportunities for young children to use technology to solve problems and produce creative outcomes. Where applicable, EYFS use the dedicated section of the Barefoot Computing website to inform their practises. In Year 1, children similarly access technology through continuous provision to embed and explore further their Teach Computing units.
As teachers, we support our children in the acquisition of knowledge through the use of key concepts, terms, and vocabulary, providing opportunities to build a shared and consistent understanding. We provide activities with different levels of scaffolding, ranging from highly structured to more exploratory tasks. For these exploratory tasks, we often encourage collaboration, specifically encouraging our children to use pair programming or peer instruction as well as through structured group tasks. Working together stimulates classroom dialogue, articulation of concepts, and development of shared understanding. We encourage staff to try and embed computing across the whole curriculum to make learning creative and accessible after learning the key skills in specific computing units. Opportunities for enhancing learning by using technology are always taken.
The imperative, consistent part of implementing our computing curriculum is ensuring the safety of our children. We take online safety very seriously, and we teach children the necessary skills to keep themselves safe online. As a Gold UNICEF Rights Respecting School, we understand children have a right to enjoy childhood online, to access safe online spaces and to benefit from all the opportunities that a connected world can bring them, appropriate to their age and stage, represented through Articles 16 (right to privacy) and 17 (right to access information from the media). Online safety and the responsible use of technology are covered in computing and PSHE lessons, collective worship and during whole school recognised events such as Safer Internet Day. Online safety is also recognised dynamically, changing in response to children’s voice. This is achieved by child led posters displayed in the building and strong online safety communication with parents.
To help with our implementation of the computing curriculum we have a variety of hardware available, including:
Loaned Crumble Kits and MicroBits
Desktop PCs in multiple classrooms
Each child has their own laptop log-in and password and when appropriate, children’s work will be stored to their class or individual log-ins for reference and assessment. Teacher assessment is observational, and their judgement is based on conversations or discussions that they hear during an activity, the work children complete and children’s own self-assessment through dialogue with teachers. The skills children are formatively assessed against are recognised as objectives on the school’s long term computing plan. Teacher’s may focus on different children each lesson or targeted groups to ensure they meet the computing curriculum expectations.
The impact of the Teach Computing curriculum is that our children will leave our school as competent and safe users of technology and with skills to support them in secondary education and ultimately, their chosen career paths.
The expected impact is that children will:
- Be critical thinkers and able to understand how to make informed and appropriate digital choices in the future.
- Understand the importance that computing will have going forward in both their educational and working life and in their social and personal futures.
- Understand how to balance time spent on technology and time spent away from it in a healthy and appropriate manner.
- Understand that technology helps to showcase their ideas and creativity. They will know that different types of software and hardware can help them achieve a broad variety of artistic and practical aims.
- Show a clear progression of technical skills across all areas of the National Curriculum.
- Be able to use technology both individually and as part of a collaborative team.
- Be aware of online safety issues and protocols and be able to deal with any problems in a responsible and appropriate manner.
- Have an awareness of developments in technology and have an idea of how current technologies work.
- Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National Curriculum for Computing.