Computing Leader: Alex Desmond
We know that skills and knowledge in computing will be crucial for today’s children to succeed in their future education and careers. A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and 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. The core of computing is computer science, in which 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 content. Computing also ensures that pupils 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.
Children’s safe and respectful use of technology will help to ensure that they become loving, caring and kind members of society. In addition, now more than ever, the ability to critically analyse information and its provenance are essential. E-safety is an integral part of our curriculum as we want to ensure that all children know how to keep themselves safe online, how to keep others safe and who to turn to if things go wrong. To ensure that children leave CCJ able to use a wide range of basic features of commonly used software and hardware, we have also identified a set of core skills that all children should know and embed the teaching of these skills into the wider curriculum using our set of iPads, our set of laptops and our computer suite with 30 PCs.
How we teach computing
At Christ Church Junior School, we use the Teach Computing Curriculum developed by the National Centre for Computing Education. Our curriculum is a spiral curriculum, where skills and knowledge are carefully sequenced. This style of curriculum design reduces the amount of knowledge lost through forgetting, as topics are revisited yearly and also ensures that connections are made between units. Each lesson in every unit is sequenced so that it builds on the learning from the previous lesson, and activities are scaffolded so that all pupils can succeed and thrive. Each unit has an outcome that links to the main topic being focussed on that term, for example when children learn about editing videos in years 5 and 6, they use these computing skills to create a video timeline related to ancient civilisations.
Skills and assessment strips
Skills and assessment strips are used in every computing lesson. These clearly state the learning objective and provide an opportunity for children to self-assess their understanding of the objective being taught. Teachers highlight the learning objective if the child has achieved it. They are also used to provide feedback.
We provide feedback to children at the beginning of every computing lesson at the top of their skills strip. This takes the form of a piece of whole-class feedback based on the teacher’s analysis of the children’s progress and understanding in the previous lesson, for example:
- Addressing a common misconception (e.g. modelling the correct procedure and a short follow up task for children)
- An extension challenge to deepen understanding
- A recap and consolidation of understanding for previously covered material
- The chance to apply previous learning to a new context
The teacher may also use the beginning of the lesson to provide personalised verbal feedback to any children with specific misconceptions whilst the rest of the class completes the task related to the whole-class feedback.
Termly e-safety lesson
We recognise how crucial e-safety is for all children given the easy access they have to technology at home and school. Every term, we teach an additional computing lesson focussed solely on e-safety. We also celebrate the national E-Safety Day each year. Please visit our e-safety page for more resources and helpful information about how to ensure your child stays safe online.
Using computing skills in other subjects
Every term, in addition to the core computing curriculum lessons, we also teach children the important life skill of how to use common software efficiently, preparing children for using computers more widely in their secondary education and future careers. There is a different skill every term - for example, word processing or image formatting - which is then applied in a different subject such as English, history, maths or science.