‘Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all’
- J F. Kennedy
Computing, as well as a blended learning approach that uses a range of technology, is an integral part of our curriculum at Spinney Hill Primary School. We aspire to all our children becoming the masters, not servants, of technology, and to master key skills which will span every aspect of their lives both throughout their school career and in their lives way beyond the realms of education.
At Spinney Hill Primary school we understand the importance of educating children on how to use technology positively, responsibly and safely. We recognise that the internet can seem a daunting and scary place but know that it is also an invaluable tool in modern life. Therefore, the best security against the issues we currently see within the use of technology and social media is through a structured curriculum which progressively develops children’s computing knowledge and skills alongside a secure and robust understanding of e-safety which enables them to understand their responsibilities within the digital world and to keep safe. To this end, the computing curriculum is being constantly adapted and up-dated in light of new developments. This ensures that the children at Spinney Hill are able to communicate independently and safely online, broaden their horizons and aspirations through knowing how and where to safely find information, and, central to the curriculum, becomes digitally literate and develop and apply skills across the broader curriculum in range of different ways.
As a school we have embedded a sequential, knowledge-based curriculum which is language rich, balanced, creative and accessible. We want our pupils to be fluent with a range of tools (both hardware and software); to develop and express their understanding; to progressively gain the skills which will allow them to become independent, digital learners; and to be confident in choosing the most appropriate tool to fulfil a given task or challenge in different curriculum areas. Throughout the EYFS, KS1 and KS2, children have opportunities to apply their knowledge creatively in order to become skilful computer scientists and to further their digital literacy, and we know that technology when used correctly opens a world of opportunities to all children, particularly those with SEND, language needs and limited life experiences.
At Spinney Hill, we recognise how central the computing curriculum is to ensuring that our children are able to make sense of the world around them and understand the centrality of programming and the manipulation of information to their lives, and, ultimately, how they can express both express themselves safely and engage constructively with the digital world around them.
The planning and implementation of computing at Spinney Hill promotes key critical thinking skills through questioning, communication, the development of a precise computing vocabulary and problem solving. Children are encouraged to develop independence and emotional resilience as well as to collaborate effectively.
At Spinney Hill Primary School we understand that the core skills in computer science need to be explicitly taught with valuable time allocated to this. As we move towards a blended learning approach, children will have opportunities to further develop their digital abilities in all areas of the curriculum. We are committed to ensuring all of our pupils, staff and wider community are safe whilst using online resources. To support this, all sessions that use the internet begin with a reminder of our online safety rules and e-safety underpins all aspects of our computing curriculum.
Throughout their time at Spinney Hill Primary school, children have access to a range of hardware and software that is always age appropriate. With these resources in mind and employing the school’s computing milestones, teachers plan well designed and purposeful lessons to inspire pupils to use computing skills in the classroom as well as to understand their importance in the wider world and value in modern life. Within units of work, children are given opportunities to demonstrate innovation in the application of these computing skills and incrementally build and develop skills which prepare them for the next stage in their learning.
The teachers at Spinney Hill understand that a modelled, shared and independent structure to lessons - the ‘I, we, you’ approach - enables children to investigate and develop their skills, moving towards deeper understanding and independence. In computing, this becomes more apparent as children progress through the school as they retrieve previous learning and knowledge, apply and utilise this within new areas of learning and start to make independent choices and select the relevant skills to be applied.
During computing lessons, children are exposed to both current and historical aspirational figures from the world of computing. We know that it is particularly important that children develop an awareness of with figures such as Ada Lovelace and the team of black, female mathematicians (Gloria Champine, Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan) who were instrumental in the success of Nasa's 1962 mission to orbit the Earth in order that they understand how individuals from different cultures and backgrounds have made their contributions to the world of computing, science and technology, often being written out of history in the process.
The impact of our computing curriculum is monitored and evaluated in a variety of different ways. Learning walks, work sampling and monitoring of learning environments are carried out by the computing curriculum lead to identify how ready children are for the next stage in their learning, how well key skills and techniques have been developed and embedded, and to identify areas in need of development. Pupil interviews and discussion are key to assessing how well pupils are retaining prior-learning and making connections with the new areas of computing they are studying. In addition to this, each child’s progress is monitored by class teachers who assess them against our computing milestones. Teachers also create ‘impact’ pages on teams to provide a snap-shot of learning to reflect both what has been covered and to illustrate what children are capable of achieving.