In line with our Christian values and the 2014 National Curriculum, our aim is to provide a high-quality computing education which equips children to use computational thinking and creativity to understand to participate effectively and safely in this digital world.
All pupils at Aston St Marys have the right to have rich, deep learning experiences that balance all the aspects of computing. Computing has deep links with all areas of the curriculum, including mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. At Aston St Marys, pupils are introduced to a wide range of technology, including laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards, allowing them to continually practice and improve the skills they learn. This ensures they become digitally literate so that they are able to express themselves and develop their ideas through information and computer technology at a level suitable for their future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
We teach a curriculum that enables children to become effective users of technology who can:
- understand and apply the essential principles and concepts of Computer Science, including logic, algorithms and data representation;
- analyse problems in computational term, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems;
- evaluate and apply information technology analytically to solve problems;
- communicate ideas well by utilising appliances and devices throughout all areas of the curriculum.
Aston St Marys takes internet safety extremely seriously and we encourage children to employ the Christian values of responsibility and respect when using technology. We have an E-Safety Policy that provides guidance for teachers and children about how to use the internet safely. Every year group participates in lessons on e-safety and children understand how to stay safe when using technology.
At Aston St Marys, computing is taught using a blocked curriculum approach. This ensures children are able to develop depth in their knowledge and skills over the duration of each of their computing topics. Teachers use the Purple Mash scheme, as a starting point for the planning of their computing lessons, which are often richly linked to engaging contexts in other subjects and topics. We have 2 computing trolleys one of which holds a class set of iPads and the other a class set of laptops. This ensures that all year groups have the opportunity to use a range of devices and programs for many purposes across the wider curriculum, as well as in discrete computing lessons. Employing cross-curricular links motivates pupils and supports them to make connections and remember the steps they have been taught.
The implementation of the curriculum also ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy. The children will have experiences of all three strands in each year group, but the subject knowledge imparted becomes increasingly specific and in depth, with more complex skills being taught, thus ensuring that learning is built upon.
In Key Stage 1, the children will learn to understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions. They will be taught to create and debug simple programs and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs. They will be shown how to use a range of technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content as well as recognise common uses of information technology beyond school. They will be taught to use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies
In Key Stage 2, the children will design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts. They will use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs, use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and correct errors in algorithms and programs. Children will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration. They will use search technologies effectively, learn to appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content. Children will be taught to select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals. They will use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
Our approach to the curriculum results in a fun, engaging, and high-quality computing education. The quality of children’s learning is evident on Seesaw, a digital platform where pupils can share and evaluate their own work, as well as that of their peers. Evidence such as this is used to feed into teachers’ future planning, and as a topic-based approach continues to be developed, teachers are able to revisit misconceptions and knowledge gaps in computing when teaching other curriculum areas. This supports varied paces of learning and ensures all pupils make good progress.
The biggest impact we want on our children is that they understand the consequences of using the internet and that they are also aware of how to keep themselves safe online.
As children become more confident in their abilities in Computing, they will become more independent and key life skills such as problem-solving, logical thinking and self-evaluation become second nature.
Much of the subject-specific knowledge developed in our computing lessons equip pupils with experiences which will benefit them in secondary school, further education and future workplaces. From research methods, use of presentation and creative tools and critical thinking, computing at Aston St Marys gives children the building blocks that enable them to pursue a wide range of interests and vocations in the next stage of their lives.