At Half Acres Primary Academy, we ensure that children are exposed to a progressive computing curriculum in which they can demonstrate an understanding of the skills, knowledge and vocabulary relevant to their age that additionally allows them to regularly revisit the skills and knowledge they have learned prior. This is achieved by a carefully developed ‘Progression Grid’ that ensures that all staff are aware of their year group expectations, and what comes prior/next in order to maximise pupil progress.
In order to reduce teacher workload for non-specialist staff, we use the ‘Twinkl’ unit of work from Year 1 to Year 6 to meet the aims of the National Curriculum in the form of a long term plan.
In addition to the core teaching of computing skills, further opportunities to utilise technology are carefully planned into the wider curriculum to ensure children recognise how technology can enhance their schooling e.g. using word-processing in English, using spreadsheets in science and using online platforms to record, and reflect upon, their work.
To provide early experiences of technology, children within the Early Years Foundation stage are provided with opportunities to handle technology purposefully such as using BeeBots as an early opportunity for programming and the iPads/interactive whiteboard to capture and display their learning.
As children progress into Key Stage 1, weekly lessons are timetabled which allow children to explore the computing curriculum from the ‘Twinkl’ unit of work. This introduces them to a more formal approach to the curriculum that introduces them to the three strands of computing: digital literacy, computer science and information technology.
In Nursery, children will begin to recognise technology within the classroom and understand the importance of handling it with care. They will be encouraged to interact with these items from nursery staff which will allow them to make initial observations to support the meeting of the ELG.
Children’s computing experiences continue within Reception with further opportunities to handle technology more purposefully and verbalising what they hope to achieve. This includes handling physical technology such as BeeBots, iPads and interacting with the classroom SMARTBoard.
Children will begin to recognise the importance of ‘Online Safety’ and be able to discuss the concept of passwords and the necessity to keep them private. This will enable them to develop the early understanding of privacy when accessing technology.
The importance of conversation is at the core of the Early Years and staff will use these opportunities to assess against the Technology strand of the Early Years Outcomes.
In KS1, teachers will deliver the core curriculum from the ‘Twinkl’ unit of work. Through this, children will explore technology more purposefully in the form of developing their typing, word processing and presentation skills, using the laptop to create artwork, accessing the internet with a clear purpose and developing early coding and debugging skills through the use of BeeBots, Turtle Logo, Scratch JNR and Scratch.
Children will often work collaboratively, using peer support as a driving factor for securing progress and teachers will carefully use formative assessment within the classroom to maximise learning for all pupils.
A ‘review and recap’ activity will take the place at the beginning of each computing lesson where teachers will revisit key vocabulary and learning objectives in order for children to remember more.
Children will continue to explore Online Safety across KS1 where they will discuss further terminology such as ‘SMART’ rules’, ‘digital footprint’ and how to recognise danger.
In KS2, the style of delivery remains consistent where children continue to develop computing skills through the Twinkl unit of work often working in collaboration. They too, will receive weekly ‘review and recap’ activities at the beginning of each computing lesson. Children will build upon their previously developed information technology skills and utilise a wider range of technology for purposes such as audio recordings, webpage design, filmmaking and 3D design. They will continue to develop their understanding of computer science by utilising multiple programming/coding applications such as Flowol, Scratch and Kodu; they will be encouraged to vocalise their thinking to show their understanding of coding and programming and debug appropriately.
Due to their developing computer skills, children within KS2 will also receive the opportunity to regularly recap key computing skills within the wider curriculum.
The importance of Online Safety will run throughout all lessons in KS2, where children begin discussing themes such as ‘cyberbullying’, ‘plagiarism’, ‘digital citizenship’ and ‘phishing’.
In KS1 and KS2, the evidence of children’s computing learning will be organised clearly on the student server which children will access to review and recap the work they have completed. ‘Unplugged’ activities, where technology isn’t used, are recorded in children’s topic files/books.
Teachers will formatively assess children within the lesson and provide feedback where appropriate. Half-termly summative assessment will be gathered through teacher judgement upon the completion of each unit of work; this will inform end-of-year assessment.
Through carefully planned and delivered computing activities, we expect the children at Half Acres will develop into confident learners who understand the appropriate conduct and the possible risks when using technology.
As a result of the progressive curriculum being implemented, we envisage that children will be able to build upon the skills they have previously developed which will enable them to make good, or better, progress within their year groups, and therefore produce better outcomes. This will be evident from the work stored on the student server and the examples of work found in topic books/files.
We expect that children are able to more confidently articulate their learning about computing through the use of pupil voice which should demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary and understanding of the core strands within the subject.
Through the range of experiences offered, children will recognise the importance of technology as a tool that can be applied within the wider world and will be able to better verbalise the advantages, and limitations, of using technology.