At St Gabriel’s, our aim is to provide children with the skills and understanding which they can apply to the rapidly changing world of computing. Through our curriculum, we intend to support children to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. We want to develop computational thinking so children can use technology to solve problems and become active participants in the digital world. Our curriculum provides a safe space for children to use technology creatively, enabling them to learn from experimenting with programming and to enjoy the results of combining computational and imaginative thinking.
Computing is taught weekly as a discrete lesson. Our curriculum is based on the iCompute units of work which cover the contents of the National Curriculum. Children at St Gabriel’s use a range of apps and programs on tablets and laptops to support their development. In the Autumn term, children are first taught how to stay safe and be responsible online citizens. Children then progress on to units including: iAlgorithm, iWrite, iProgram, iData and iModel. Our computing curriculum is cyclical meaning children revisit units each year progressing and deepening their understanding as they move through the school.
As well as spending time working with digital devices, children also spend some of their computing lesson time developing computational thinking skills. For example, before combining blocks of code digitally, children may be asked to organise physical representations of code and/or write blocks of code before inputting these in programming apps. Whilst understanding explicit teaching is highly valuable, we also recognise the importance of supporting children to become independent problem solvers. In parts of some lessons, children are given an objective and are encouraged to find solutions to problems they may encounter. The vast majority of Computing lessons require children to work collaboratively to enable them to share their thinking and reasoning. This also exposes children to their peer’s creative ideas meaning our children understand how computing can be a highly creative subject.
Assessment for learning strategies are employed to enable teachers to identify the strength of understanding of the children. Teachers use this information to make adaptations to their planning to meet the needs of the children. Teachers may also change the focus of learning during a lesson to ensure children are supported and challenged. Teachers use their professional judgments to assess progress and attainment against National Curriculum objectives. School leaders hold termly meetings with subject leaders to ensure they are supported to provide a high-quality curriculum. In addition, children’s views and understanding are ascertained through pupil interviews/surveys.