Intent – What do we want children to learn?
Quite simply, it is our intention that every pupil, irrelevant of needs, develops such a passion for Computing that they become independent in their use of computing across all three strands of the curriculum, exhibiting positive attitudes towards computing. We wish for every pupil to become technically proficient and use their skills to explore their creativity and be innovative in their understanding and application of skills. A key component is that all pupils are taught about changing online safeguarding issues and solutions.
Through Computing, we aim to support this philosophy by
- ensuring that all our pupils can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analysing problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- evaluating and applying information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- teaching pupils to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology and have an unequivocal understanding of how to stay safe online.
- giving the pupils opportunities to meet real life computing experts and learn how their innovative work has led to solving challenging problems in the real world
- having their successes in this subject area celebrated through special assemblies
- having the opportunity to apply for a Digital Leader role
At Birchwood we know that children learn best when the curriculum is well sequenced to enable revisiting of core knowledge, skills and understanding to deepen conceptual awareness before demanding application across the whole curriculum. Please see the Computing Progression of Skills documents (held in school), which outline how the key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during Year 1 to Year 6
Birchwood’s Bespoke Curriculum
Wherever possible, we contextualise the learning experiences that we plan for our pupils in order to allow children to apply the skills taught to a real-life situation. Pupils from Key Stage 2 visit BT Adastral Park, Martlesham. Here the pupils experience skills in computational thinking which improve reasoning, perseverance and problem-solving. They apply skills in programming to encourage creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, and reasoning and develop learning powers.
Pupils in Year 5 apply research and presentation skills when developing promotional material for our annual Suffolk Day Dish project where teams are challenged to research a dish to create for our school lunch menu. Pupils apply skills in internet research and web design when creating content for the school website to share the roles and outcomes of our many ‘Pupil Voice’ positions within the school. Pupils in Year 6 apply skills in presentation when using a spreadsheet to problem solve. These skills are contextualised through the Birchwood Chicken micro business, ensuring they continue to make a profit through the sale of eggs to the school and wider community.
Implementation - How are we going to achieve our intent?
There are three aspects to the Computing curriculum; computer science, information technology and digital literacy. 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.
Birchwood has a Computing Suite with 30 PC’s and 6 iPad Minis in EYFS. Each machine has internet access and all the relevant applications needed to teach computing in school.
Resources created by ‘Computing at School’, Twinkl, ‘Barefoot Computing’ and ‘Google Legends’ are used to support planning.
In addition to the above, there is a variety of other ICT equipment in school including: BeeBots, Lego WeDo, microphones and Crumble Bot Robots. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, class teachers integrate digital technology and computing skills teaching within their WOW curriculum. For example, using bar charts to represent their runner bean growth, linked to their text, "Jasper's Beanstalk".
In Key Stage 2, the children are taught Computing through the subject specialism cycle. This means that each KS2 child receives an hour of teaching every week across the school year, ensuring the correct number of National Curriculum hours are covered for this subject. The Subject Specialist Cycle ensures that the most skilled teachers in Computing share their passion and skill set with the pupils in Key Stage Two.
Impact - What will it look like when we have achieved our intent?
There are literally hundreds of ways we can demonstrate the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. In a nutshell, here are some examples:
- Each September, pupils from Year 1 to Year 6 apply for the post of year group Digital Leaders. From the many applicants two ‘Digital Leaders’ are selected for each year group and these children become the voices of Computing at Birchwood. Through the Digital Leaders programme, which meets monthly with the Computing Subject Lead, pupils learn new skills and research current information becoming ‘experts’ in their field. Covering topics including programming, online safety, and technical helpers, they lead assemblies where they impart their knowledge to their peers, teaching staff, parents and governors.
- We have a strong link with Adastral Park, Martlesham. The park is home to BT's innovation laboratories and Innovation Martlesham (an established and growing cluster of over 100 high-tech ICT companies) as well as educational initiatives such as the Tommy Flowers Institute. Each year group in Key Stage Two attends an event to support STEM and the Computing Curriculum. Events include the ‘Crumble Robots Taster Day’. This interactive day gives pupils a taste of programming robots to undertake a variety of tasks, showing them that robots can be used across the curriculum. These event days encourage creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, and reasoning and develop learning powers. Other events include ‘Computational Thinking’, ’British Science Week’ and ‘Rescue Simulation’.