With new devices and technology being developed every day, Computing is an ever-changing subject in the school curriculum. At St Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy, working alongside Squirrel Learning, we have created a Computing curriculum that will enable our learners to develop the key skills needed to thrive in the rapidly changing world around them.

Intent

At St Mary’s, we aim to support our pupils to develop their skills in order to use technology in their everyday life.

In our modern day world, technology is predominantly used to accomplish other tasks; it is vital our pupils have a secure understanding of the range of technology available and the benefits or drawbacks of these. It is also imperative that they understand how to remain safe whilst using this technology: there are constant changes in technology that leads to many people being unknowingly vulnerable. On the other hand, these continuous changes also encourage a natural curiosity in children and we aspire to nurture this through their time at St Mary’s.

We want a curriculum that enables children to investigate a wide range of technological equipment and develop their problem solving skills in order to be confident enough to use these independently.

Areas of Computing

The technology we see and use around us such as laptops, phones, household appliances, televisions, games consoles and even traffic lights all rely on algorithms (instructions) to work effectively. Because of this, Computer Science – ‘Programming’ – has become an integral part of the Computing curriculum, as it allows our learners the chance to discover how algorithms are used to make technology do a specific task; it helps them to understand how the technology around them works and functions. It also lends itself to endless opportunities for our pupils to solve problems and use their logical reasoning, as they have to plan algorithms before inputting and debugging (finding and fixing problems) to make the programme work.

We have also included the areas of Information Technology and Digital Literacy. These are often grouped together as Information Technology teaches pupils how to create using the technology in different ways whereas Digital Literacy ensures they have a good level of competence when using these. Our Computing curriculum ensures that pupils have the freedom to create using technology through animation, art, broadcasting, data handling, design, film-making, music, presentations, publishing and research.

Implementation – How is this taught?

E-safety is integrated throughout each computing area, as it is essential that our pupils be protected from others online. We also give them opportunities to evaluate their own online behaviour to ensure that they understand their actions in the online world can affect others. As the wellbeing of our pupils is a priority, we help them establish a healthy balance between the time spent in the ‘online world’ and their ‘real life world’. We also teach our pupils how to determine the best course of action if they are worried or upset about their experiences whilst using their technology or devices, such as being a victim of Cyber Bullying or seeing inappropriate content.

The technology around us in our everyday lives is used to help us to achieve a specific task or goal. To reflect this in the classroom, we integrate computing into other subjects in the curriculum to show them how to use this technology to enhance their learning or complete their tasks – skills they will need in their future education or adult life.

The Early Years Foundation stage focuses on Computing in their ‘Knowledge of the World’ focused lessons. In this, the pupils will investigate the technology around them in the classroom, learn how to use technology safely, and programming. Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils are taught the Information Technology and Digital Literacy topics in a two-year cycle to allow us to include a wider range of creative experiences. This means that the areas covered in Year 1 will be revisited in Year 3 and 5 and the areas covered in Year 2 will be revisited in Year 4 and 6. Programming is taught in each year group, as it is a fundamental part of the pupils gaining a good understanding of the technology they are using.

Impact

Our Computing curriculum will give our pupils an extensive range of experiences and skills, which we hope will inspire a passion for technology and interest in the STEM subjects in their future education. It will also help them to connect with others and be a part of an online community in a safe and secure way, allowing them to use the amazing technology we have to enhance their life and gain knowledge of the world around them.