Computing Curriculum Rationale
At Hillcrest we are computational thinkers! We want our children to love computing. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be software engineers, video game designers, web developers or IT consultants. We want them to embody our core values. We all believe that: “All children can learn and discover together to create a better world”. The computing curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their digital capital. We want our children to remember their computing lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! Recently, KS2 became internet legends with Parents Zone and Google. At our school we firmly believe that to make the most of the internet, children need to make smart decisions when online. The ‘Be Internet Legends’ programme developed by Google, helped empower our children to use the internet safely and wisely and to be confident explorers of the online world. A fantastic time was had by all and this was just another example of how we embed important safeguarding messages into our curriculum. Keeping our children safe is our number one priority! Bringing computing alive is important at Hillcrest Primary School.
The computing curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the computing National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, in the autumn term our children took part in a virtual coding pantomime! AI the Robot and The Three Bears, created by the STEM Ambassadors, combined computing with interactive theatre. It really was a panto with a difference!
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the computing curriculum. For example, in the autumn term the whole-school enjoyed a deep-dive day to celebrate Safer Internet Day 2020 – Together for a better internet! To reiterate the importance of staying safe online all of the children across the school took part in Ant and Dec’s NSPCC Speak out, Stay Safe campaign. The children discussed the dangers of social media and their digital footprints. Other debated key online safety issues, online safety oracy tasks and designing their very own posters. We love celebrating Safer Internet Day at Hillcrest Primary School.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year we celebrated National Coding Week as part of our whole-school curriculum map. The children enjoyed a fantastic day of robotics and coding. All of KS2 got the chance to work with a variety of equipment to tackle computing based challenges, whilst KS1 took on their own coding challenges in class. The children learnt about the principles of coding and how the equipment we have around us works before participating in some fabulous practical activities. The spheros were a particular highlight, one child said: ‘I loved being able to code and control my own robot and see what happens when I change things.’ We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
The computing curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. For example,we focus on five main themes of computing: Digital Literacy, Online Safety, Computational Thinking, Computers and Hardware. These are revisited year on year where pupils progressively build their skills and knowledge. We frequently revisit online safety through themed days and celebrations such as ‘Safety Internet Day’.
The way computing is taught at our school has been revamped and now follows a consistent structure using ‘Kapow Computing Curriculum’. Kapow covers the full content of the curriculum which has been categorised into three areas – computer science, information technology and digital literacy. In each lesson pupils may be looking at hardware, studying networks and date representation, learning about computational thinking, programming or using software, the internet or email. There is ample opportunity in this curriculum for children to revisit and apply and build on their computational skills as they move through the school.
Computing subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in computing and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils.
Staff have year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. Whilst computing is taught discretely staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, during their Romans topic in history, pupils in Year 4 played and reviewed different Sketch Nation games in preparation for creating their own cross-curricular Roman gladiator games using Morfo (an app that allows you to quickly turn a photo into a talking 3D character).
Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a weekly computing lesson. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to computing and that computing subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every computing lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in computing are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use design and technology formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each enquiry.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in design and technology. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in design and technology includes: pupil book, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
At Hillcrest Primary School, we are Computational Thinkers!