At St Mark’s CE Primary School, we believe it is essential for all children to develop their creativity and curiosity. We want children to feel confident in a world where technology is always advancing, and to be ready for the future. Computing at St Mark’s allows the children to become logical thinkers and problem solvers by embedding computational thinking skills throughout the subject. We aim to give children opportunities to explore key areas of Computing, including:
Through the teaching of Computing, we aim for children to apply these taught skills. In addition, the children are taught and empowered to make safe and responsible choices when using technology.
We recognise that computing skills need to be taught discretely. At St Mark’s, we follow the Teach Computing curriculum. This is taught weekly, as a non-integrated subject. Many of the skills learnt in computing lessons are transferable, which provides a wealth of learning opportunities to apply and revisit skills across the all curriculum subjects.
Our teaching implements the Computing National Curriculum, which comprises three main parts:
Knowledge and skills are taught progressively, allowing the children to embed their learning over time.
ICT at St Mark’s is used purposefully, as a tool for learning. Our children learn to search for information, use a keyboard to type text, make modifications to their work, including: changing the font, size and colour, and to save and retrieve their work. The children use IPads to take their own photos, make videos and learn to manipulate these images. It is important that the children gain an understanding of how ICT is used, both in, and beyond school.
We teach e-safety as an explicit part of our computing and PSHE (SCARF) curricula. Age appropriate topics are discussed, for example: keeping personal information private, trusting people and sources online, treating others online as we would in real life, posting images online, and what to do if anything makes us feel uncomfortable online.
Principles of information and computation are taught as part of the computing curriculum. It involves creating and debugging simple programs using algorithms. At St Mark’s, we introduce the language of Computer Science in different contexts. We begin with using precise verbal instructions (algorithms), for example, how to carry out classroom routines or to explain how to plant a seed. The children then progress to use programmable toys, before coding to create their own games on Purple Mash and Scratch. The children learn to ‘fix’ their own code when errors arise; ‘debugging’ their own algorithms.
In Reception, ICT is across the curriculum. Through Personal, Social and Emotional Development inputs, our Reception children are encouraged to practise resilience and perseverance in the face of a challenge. An ongoing focus on Physical Development helps the children develop their fine motor skills so that they can use a range of tools safely and confidently. Our children use a mouse and headphones independently to play a variety of games. Later in the year, they begin to use a keyboard to type word documents. Through Expressive Arts and Design, we support the children to explore a variety of digital artistic effects and programmes to express their ideas and feelings. In addition, children are encouraged to talk about the use of ICT in everyday life and one of the aspects of our PSHE programme encourages children to talk about the importance of sensible amounts of ‘screen time’. Our children have access to desktop computers and a CD player in their continuous provision, they take photographs on the iPads and use remote control devices to begin experimenting with Computer Science.
Our children have access to a bank of laptops and iPads to support their learning. We use Purple Mash, Times Table Rockstars, Spelling Shed, Scratch and other software packages to aid teaching and learning. We have interactive screens in every classroom and these are used daily to further enable and enhance learning.
To ensure we make Computing an engaging and challenging learning experience we:
This is achieved by: