“I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them.” — Isaac Asimov
Computing at Our Lady and St. Brendan’s School develops ‘thinkers of the future’ through a modern, ambitious and relevant education in computing. We want to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity that will enable them to become active participants in the digital world. It is important to us that the children understand how to use the ever-changing technology to express themselves, as tools for learning and as a means to drive their generation forward into the future.
Whilst ensuring they understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with online experiences, we want children to develop as respectful, responsible and confident users of technology, aware of measures that can be taken to keep themselves and others safe online.
Our aim is to provide a computing curriculum that is designed to balance acquiring a broad and deep knowledge alongside opportunities to apply skills in various digital contexts. Beyond teaching computing discreetly, we will give pupils the opportunity to apply and develop what they have learnt across wider learning in the curriculum.
Our scheme of work for Computing is adapted from the ‘Teach Computing’ Curriculum and covers all aspects of the National Curriculum. This scheme was chosen as it has been created by subject experts and based on the latest pedagogical research. It provides an innovative progression framework where computing content (concepts, knowledge, skills and objectives) has been organised into interconnected networks called learning graphs.
The curriculum aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in the digital world of today and the future. The curriculum can be broken down into 3 strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy, with the aims of the curriculum reflecting this distinction.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure all pupils:
- can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation (Computer science)
- can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems (Computer science)
- can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems (Information technology)
- are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. (Digital literacy)
Online -Safety and Digital Citizenship
A key part of implementing our computing curriculum was to ensure that safety of our pupils is paramount. We take online safety very seriously and we aim to give children the necessary skills to keep themselves safe online. Children have a right to enjoy childhood online, to access safe online spaces and to benefit from all the opportunities that a connected world can bring them, appropriate to their age and stage.
Children build online resilience through the use of the ‘Project Evolve – Education for a Connected World’ framework. The framework aims to support and broaden the provision of online safety education, so that it is empowering, builds resilience and effects positive culture change. The objectives promote the development of safe and appropriate long-term behaviours, and support educators in shaping the culture within their setting and beyond.
Within each year group topics include:
- Self Image and Identity- This strand explores the differences between online and offline identity beginning with self-awareness, shaping online identities and media influence in propagating stereotypes. It identifies effective routes for reporting and support and explores the impact of online technologies on self-image and behaviour.
- Online Relationships- This strand explores how technology shapes communication styles and identifies strategies for positive relationships in online communities. It offers opportunities to discuss relationships, respecting, giving and denying consent and behaviours that may lead to harm and how positive online interaction can empower and amplify voice.
- Online Reputation- This strand explores the concept of reputation and how others may use online information to make judgements. It offers opportunities to develop strategies to manage personal digital content effectively and capitalise on technology’s capacity to create effective positive profiles.
- Online Bullying- This strand explores bullying and other online aggression and how technology impacts those issues. It offers strategies for effective reporting and intervention and considers how bullying and other aggressive behaviour relates to legislation.
- Managing Online information- This strand explores how online information is found, viewed and interpreted. It offers strategies for effective searching, critical evaluation of data, the recognition of risks and the management of online threats and challenges. It explores how online threats can pose risks to our physical safety as well as online safety. It also covers learning relevant to ethical publishing.
- Health Well-being and Lifestyle- This strand explores the impact that technology has on health, well-being and lifestyle e.g. mood, sleep, body health and relationships. It also includes understanding negative behaviours and issues amplified and sustained by online technologies and the strategies for dealing with them.
- Privacy and Security- This strand explores how personal online information can be used, stored, processed and shared. It offers both behavioural and technical strategies to limit impact on privacy and protect data and systems against compromise.
- Copyright and Ownership- This strand explores the concept of ownership of online content. It explores strategies for protecting personal content and crediting the rights of others as well as addressing potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution.
Our children enjoy and value computing and know why they are doing things, not just how. Children will understand and appreciate the value of computing in the context of their personal wellbeing and the technological, creative and cultural industries and their many career opportunities.
Progress in computing is demonstrated through regularly reviewing and scrutinising children’s work, in accordance with our computing assessment policy to ensure that progression of skills is taking place. Namely through:
- Formative assessment at the point of learning and to inform next steps in learning.
- Observing how they perform in lessons.
- Talking to them about what they know.
- Summative assessment against specific objectives.
The Computing curriculum will contribute to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. This can be seen in them being able to talk confidently about their work, and sharing their work with others. Progress is shown through outcomes and through the important confidence of the pupils to complete the work and think like a computer scientist.