Computing, in general, is a significant part of everyone’s daily life and children should be at the forefront of new technology, with a thirst for learning what is out there. Computing within schools can therefore provide a wealth of learning opportunities and transferrable skills explicitly within the Computing lesson and across other curriculum subjects. All pupils at St John’s have the right to have rich, deep learning experiences that balance all the aspects of computing. With technology playing such a significant role in society today, we believe ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill children must be taught if they are to be able to participate effectively and safely in this digital world. A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. At St John’s the core of Computing is computer science, in which the 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 are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of a range of content. Computing also ensure children become digitally literate- able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology- at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Computing skills are taught both discretely and cross-curricularly, supporting other areas of learning across the school. In Reception and Key Stage 1, children are taught to use equipment and software confidently and purposefully, to communicate and handle information and to support their problem solving, recording and expressive skills. In Key Stage 2, our children extend their use of computing that they use for communication, investigation and programming and work to understand how to communicate safely. Teachers use the ‘Switched on Computing’ scheme, a clear and effective, scheme of work that provides coverage in line with the National Curriculum. Teaching and learning facilitates progression across all key stages within the strands of digital literacy, information technology and computer science. The children have the opportunity to explore and respond to key issues such as digital communication, cyber-bullying, online safety, security, plagiarism and social media.
The children at St John’s have access to hardware (computers, tablets, programmable equipment) and software that they need to develop knowledge and skills of digital systems and their applications. In addition, our state-of-the-art learning space, The Discovery Room, provides pupils with inspirational learning experiences as well as supporting SEN children. It enables teachers to provide highly engaging differentiated learning opportunities. Pupils are engaged by technology they relate to and are empowered to direct their own educational experience so they learn from experience in the most inspiring of classrooms.
As well as opportunities underpinned within the scheme of work, children also spend time further exploring the key issues associated with online safety. They will use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact. Even our children in Early Years provision will be exposed to the understanding of internet safety as they explore the world around them and how technology is an everyday part of their learning and understanding of the world.
After the implementation of this robust computing curriculum, children at St John’s are digitally literate and able to join the rest of the world on its digital platform. They are equipped, not only with the skills and knowledge to use technology effectively and for their own benefit, but more importantly – safely. The biggest impact we want on our children is that they understand the consequences of using the internet and that they are also aware of how to keep themselves safe online. As children become more confident in their abilities in Computing, they will become more independent and key life skills such as problem-solving, logical thinking and self-evaluation become second nature. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes
Children can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation;
Children can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems;
Children can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems;
Children are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.