At St Joseph's, we understand that a high-quality computing education is essential for pupils to understand modern information and communication technologies. We prepare our pupils for the 21st century to be safe, responsible, competent, confident and creative participants in an increasingly digital world, not just as accomplished consumers of technology, but also as skilled, enthusiastic and imaginative creators of technology.
We teach a curriculum that enables children to become skilled users of technology who can:
- Keep safe when using technology.
- Understand and apply the essential principles and concepts of Computer Science, including logic, algorithms and data representations.
- Analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems.
- Build knowledge of principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
- Become digitally literate - able to use, express themselves and develop ideas through information and communication technology.
- Evaluate and apply information technology analytically to solve problems.
- Communicate ideas well by utilising software tools throughout all areas of the curriculum.
Our Computing teaching provides a wealth of learning opportunities and transferrable skills explicitly within the Computing lesson and across other curriculum subjects.
Wherever we can, links are made with “real-life” professions and contexts which rely on ICT to make Computing real, relevant and purposeful. We achieve this by providing a rich, diverse curriculum, underpinned by our school’s goal of enabling every member of the school community to have a ‘Lifetime Love for Learning’.
Computing in the Early Years
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021) separates learning and development into seven areas (three prime areas and four specific areas). The most relevant statements for computing are taken from Personal, Social and Emotional Development (prime area of learning), Physical Development (prime area of learning) and Expressive Arts and Design (specific area of learning). The targets that relate to the computing curriculum are as follows:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Show resilience and perseverance in the face of a challenge.
• Know and talk about the different factors that support their overall health and wellbeing: sensible amounts of ‘screen time’.
• Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge (managing self ELG).
• Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly (managing self ELG).
• Develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently.
Expressive Art and Design
• Explore, use and refine a variety of artistic effects to express their ideas and feelings.
• Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function (Creating with materials ELG).
Computing in the Early Years at St Joseph’s, Northfleet
At St Joseph’s, we are big advocates of encouraging and developing ICT skills from an early age. Children have access to a range of technology in the early years classroom including (but not limited to) role play toys (hoovers, microwaves, tills, old mobile phones, washing machines etc), technology that is used throughout the school (such as photocopies, tablets, computers, interactive whiteboards) and resources that encourage children to develop programming skills (such as Beebots and remote control vehicles).
Although we do allow children to access technology as part of child initiated learning, we also plan for such learning opportunities. In our experience, we have found that the best practise is: Co-operative activity shared with another child or an adult; Involves doing things together and giving opportunities to take turns; Provides opportunity for talking and listening together; Feeds the imagination; Encourages further investigation and exploration; Challenges and encourages solving problems.
Children are taught how to use a variety of ICT equipment throughout the year and this knowledge is built upon in Year 1.
Cross currculur links include: Pattern recognition, problem solving, data handling, the list goes on!
The National Curriculum states that children should “apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.” This allows pupils to see their computing skills come to life. One example of where this happens at Our Lady of Hartley is in Year 4 in which the children use Lego We Do kits to design a product that can be controlled using an algorithm
Instructional writing goes incredibly well with the teaching of algorithms. Working out how to break something down into steps, gives you the skills you need to write a successful algorithm.
Not only can pupils apply their Computing skills to create digital art, they can also explore the idea of abstraction; the removal of unnecessary detail, to view things in their simplest form.
The collection and organisation of data play a strong part in both Science and Computing and the subjects really complement one another. Not to mention the process of predicting, testing and reviewing in both subjects.
Information posters designed by our Year 6 classes
As part of our computing curriculum, each year (during their Text Adventure unit) our Year 6 class create information posters encouraging parents to attend the school's upcoming open days.
There is a lot to consider when developing an information poster. We have to ensure that our content is not misleading or misinforming the public. We also have to ensure that we do not use anything that breaches copywrite law (but this is all part of the learning process). We also have to use a sensible mixture of images and key text.
Please see some of our designs from this year below.
Free software and websites to help develop computing skills
Please see below a list of free software or websites that will help your child develop their computing skills.