At Our Lady’s, we believe that Computing and the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is central to the education of all children. We aim to give each pupil the opportunity to apply and develop their technological understanding and skills across a wide range of situations and tasks. Pupils are encouraged to develop a confident and safe approach to Computing and the use of ICT, with the understanding of the capabilities and flexibility of their resources. With the knowledge that Computing and ICT will undoubtedly continue to form a major part in the children’s life at home, in further education and places of work, we ensure the Computing and ICT experiences and abilities that the children are equipped with at Our Lady’s, are effective and transferrable life skills.
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Teaching and Learning
At Our Lady’s, we make Computing an engaging and challenging learning experience. As a school, we believe it is important to keep up to date with the technological changes that go on in the world. Our aim is to give children the skills that will allow them to thrive in the modern world. The program of study that we follow allows children to engage with the National Curriculum objectives in a range of ways using a variety of tools including iPads and laptops as well as un-plugged resources. Children’s learning is carefully planned, ensuring that skills are taught at an appropriate age and are being built on each term and year. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage use BeeBots and other physical devices to create and execute simple algorithms. This is built on in Key Stage 1 where children learn to write and debug more complex algorithms using physical devices as well as coding software. In Key Stage 2 children develop this further by using a range of software to write their own computer programmes.
We recognise that all classes have children with widely differing ICT abilities. This is especially true when some children have access to ICT equipment at home, while others do not. We provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability and experience of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways, by:
- setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty (not all children complete all tasks);
- grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group;
- providing resources of different complexity depending on the ability of the child.
Peer assessment is used to encourage children to constructively edit and improve each other’s work; showing respect for the opinions and beliefs of their peers which may differ from their own. As a school we want our children to understand the importance of our British values and we endeavour to include these in every aspect of our curriculum.
Computing and the use of technologies at Our Lady’s is underpinned by Online Safety being central to the curriculum. While showing children the benefits of using new technologies we are also rigorous in teaching them about how to use technology safely and responsibly. Online Safety day is used to speak to the children about behaving responsibly when using technology. Leaflets are also distributed to parents to keep them up-to-date with developments around Online Safety - especially in regards to social media. When starting a new topic, teachers discuss with the children how they can keep themselves safe when using technology. Our Online Safety and Anti-Cyberbullying Policy outlines further information about our school’s approach to these matters.
Our school uses a program of study developed by experienced colleagues from DASCo (Dartford Area Schools’ Consortium). It was developed in conjunction with the aims of the 2014 National Curriculum for Computing. The plans have been developed with a range of technologies in mind and we aim to use computing to support and link to other subjects where appropriate. The approach of the school is to pro-actively identify and incorporate Computing into a range of areas. It is important to give children the opportunity to use a variety of hardware and programmes or apps. While there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each teaching unit, the planned progression built into the computing curriculum means that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school. Computing is taught by individual class teachers (supported by our IT technician) who take responsibility for planning, resourcing and delivering the computing curriculum based on the DASCo plans.
Early Years Foundation Stage
We follow the guidelines set out in the Technology section of the Understanding the World criteria in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The criteria underpin our curriculum planning and we continually provide technology based activities for the children in order to enhance their confidence using technologies.
Special Educational Needs
We teach computing to all children, whatever their ability, in accordance with the school curriculum policy of providing a broad and balanced education to all children. Teachers provide learning opportunities matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. Different technologies are used to allow children with special educational needs to have access and contribute to lessons.