It is our intention that all pupils, irrelevant of needs, are taught the key skills required to succeed in using and applying digital technology and computational thinking. A key component is that all pupils are taught about changing online safeguarding issues and solutions.
At Birchwood, we have an IT suite with 30 PCs and 6 iPad Minis in EYFS. Each machine has internet access and all the relevant applications needed to teach computing in school. In addition, there is a variety of other ICT equipment in the 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 are sharing their passion and skill set with the pupils in Key Stage Two.
Resources created by ‘Computing at School’, ‘Barefoot Computing’ and ‘Rising Stars’ are used to support planning. Where possible, links are made to embed skills taught in context. For example, the skills the pupils learn in formatting and entering specific formulas when using Excel is used in context by pupils in Year 6. Here they design their own spreadsheets to compare costs and profits in their micro-business with the Birchwood Poultry Flock, enabling them to order food and materials and care for the flock.
There are literally hundreds of ways we can demonstrate the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. In a nutshell, here are 2 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 labs 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’.