At Mosspits Lane, we believe in the importance of all pupils learning computer science, information technology and digital literacy from the earliest opportunity in school. Beyond giving pupils the ability to understand and use devices and software to access global networks, computing broadens the understanding of all pupils of their place in the world, not just as consumers, but as contributors. It helps to develop communication skills beyond but also supporting the learning of reading and writing. Computing provides excitement, engagement and challenge; it also helps to develop creative learners and to foster a mindful attitude to safety throughout life.
Our provision for Computing starts from EYFS, going beyond the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, where this specifies KS1 and KS2. The teaching of Computing at Mosspits Lane aims to be fun, exciting and practical, to motivate pupils. We know from research that it is this motivation that has a significant impact on effective learning and pupil attitudes. We aim to build self-belief in our pupils in learning Computing, by ensuring that they are given the hands-on experience and the tools they need in order to build or produce a project that solves a problem or fits a brief.
The three strands which underpin Computing and are vital to ensure progress are computer science which includes algorithms & programming, data and systems, information technology which includes digital artefacts and computing contexts and digital literacy which encompasses the mechanics of what we do, searching for and selecting information critically and e-safety.
The school uses a bespoke Scheme of Work that has been developed over time to provide variety and progression. This is a carefully sequenced plan for ensuring that pupils practise the knowledge and skills needed until use of computers is fluent. Each unit of work builds up a progression of component skills that can then be used to create digital content. Careful consideration has been given to the vocabulary progression in this scheme, with words chosen to be taught that will be most useful to learners and that can be used in subsequent units. Once learned, they are given opportunities to apply these skills so that they can embed it in their long-term memory. The curriculum is sequenced so that the topics mean pupils engage in regular, rigorous practice in the basics before more demanding content is introduced. The goal of each step of learning should be the development of fluency. In particular, new skills are introduced incrementally across a number of weeks to ensure that pupils’ working memory is not overloaded.
Computing is explicitly taught on a weekly basis as a discrete lesson (varying from 45-60 minutes, depending on the age/phase of pupils). Research shows that explicit instruction is more effective for beginner learners, particularly in a primary setting. Each half-term, the children will meet a new topic that falls under the three strands. Teaching staff benefit from having the comprehensive planning given to them with annotations and software guidance in the form of the ‘Little Book of Computing’ for their year group. This improves and supports teachers’ proficiency, expertise and confidence in teaching Computing.
To further embed this, we also use cross curricular links where appropriate so that links are made with topics being taught in other curriculum areas and the everyday application of the computing tools and skills can be fully appreciated. For example, in Y5 our unit on programmable toys in Computing links directly with designing a programmable toy in DT.
A variety of approaches and activities are used to challenge, motivate and sustain interest. Lessons are interactive, engaging and fun with an emphasis on practical production of a result, supported by technical vocabulary and processes. We use proven techniques such as visuals, games and challenges.
During the Spring term, we celebrate Safer Internet Day on the second day of the second week of the second month. Each year group has a planned age appropriate activity that helps generate conversation and remind children about their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe online all year round, and who to go to if they encounter a problem.