Computing at Westmorland Primary School
At Westmorland we have created a bespoke Computing Curriculum that prepares our children for life in a digital world. Although it focuses on digital literacy and coding, all aspects are covered in depth across the year groups. Online safety is an important aspect of both our Computing and PHSE curriculums.
Our intention is to encourage our children to want to do MORE computing outside of school, by providing them with a range of interesting and relevant activities that build on fostering skills for future life as well as enthusiasm and love for the subject. We don’t want to be skilled users of a narrow range of programs and apps, but aware of the breadth of resources available to us in this ever changing world.
We are committed to giving MORE and so our curriculum is based around Memorable Learning, Oracy, Reading and Experiences. We know that computing is the future and we want to inspire our children to become the next generation of computer programmers and software designers. We also know that computing can bring curriculum subjects to life and so can enhance learning across the curriculum. Reading is a feature of all computing lessons – whether it is reading on-screen instructions or following instructions to complete a task. Discussion, explaining and debugging through verbally rehearsing programs all contribute to developing children’s oracy skills.
We know that in terms of technology our children’s experiences are varied. As an area of high deprivation, some of our children have limited experiences. Others have access to a wide range of technological resources. We try to ensure that through school provision the playing field is levelled through the use of a wide selection of hardware and software.
At Westmorland Primary School, this is implemented in different ways. Underpinning our curriculum is the MORE INTENT which is visible in every session. To ensure a broad range of skills and understanding, Computing is taught across three main strands: digital literacy, computer science and information technology. As part of information technology, children learn to explore different devices and simulations. Within digital literacy, children develop their understanding of the safe use of internet, networks and email, as well as using a variety of programs to showcase their knowledge. In computer science we teach children to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer sciences such as abstraction, logic algorithms and debugging programs.
We have a range of practical resources that progress through school. For example with robots, we have different ones for each phase that feed into one another. EYFS use Code-A-Caterpillars and Coding Critters that are like simplified Beebots (used in Year 1). Year 2 use Botley robots – which are like Beebots but more complex. In Lower Key Stage 2, Botley gives way to Probot (Beebot’s bigger brother!) and Sphero – which in turn in Upper Key Stage 2 is developed through the use of Ozobot.
We also have a clear progression of software that link – each time reinforcing previously learnt skills and adding MORE.
We have a range of resources – iPads, laptops and desktop pc’s which are used across the curriculum. In addition, to help bring the curriculum to life, we have invested in VR headsets.
Through the implementation of the progression of skills, children are showing that they using and applying their skills and are developing a love of computing – not just gaming. They are excited by the range of activities such as creating Podcasts, writing their own programs and using a range of robotic devices. The skills they learn help develop and embed knowledge from across the curriculum – whether it is research for a history task, taking a virtual trip to a mountain in Geography, taking photos on trips to create a Pic Collage of things they have experienced or sharing information in different ways. For example, the emphasis on teaching typing skills will have a positive impact through school – including accessing the Times Table tests in y4 – as well as developing Literacy skills.
When they leave Westmorland, our children are competent and safe users of ICT who know how to leave a positive digital footprint.