Primary Computing
Sarah Vaughan

Key Contact

Sarah Vaughan
NASBTT Associate Consultant
Primary Computing

Email: primarycomputing@nasbtt.org.uk
Twitter: @sarvaughans

What is the Computing Curriculum?

Purpose of study

‘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.’

The computing curriculum can be classified into three strands; computer science, information technology and digital literacy.

Computer Science: This stand focuses on how computers and computer systems work and how they are designed and implemented. Often pupils are taught about programming but not about how computer systems work.

KS1 objectives:

  • understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • create and debug simple programs
  • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school

KS2 objectives:

  • design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
  • understand computer networks, including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web
  • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked

Information Technology: This strand focuses on the purposeful use of existing programs to develop products and solutions. This strand also includes data handling.

KS1 objectives:

  • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content

KS2 objectives:

  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information

Digital Literacy: This strand gives the pupils the skills, knowledge and understanding needed in order participate fully and safely in an increasingly digital world. Whilst online safety is part of this strand, it is a lot more than this. Auseful report from Teach Computing about Digital Literacy can be accessed here

KS1 objectives:

  • use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies

KS2 objectives:

  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact
  • understand computer networks, including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
  • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content

Miles Berry has created a useful analogy with Computer Science being the ‘foundations’ of the subject, Information Technology being the ‘applications’ and Digital Literacy being the implications.

What is Computational Thinking?

‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world.’

The opening statement of the computing national curriculum places computational thinking at the heart of computing. Computational thinking is not thinking like a computer but a set of critical thinking skills. Barefoot computing have a great poster to outline the key concepts and approaches associated with computational thinking.

The Computational Thinkers

Computing at School (CAS)

Local CAS communities are set up to support both teachers and subject leaders. Free termly meetings offer support, resources and the sharing of best practice. 


Computing Hubs

Your local computing hub can put you in touch with all the relevant support and training that is happening in your area.

There are a wide range of websites available that offer support with CPD and resources.

Below is a list of some of those that offer free content.

CPD

Teach Computing Courses

All courses are free to attend for both trainee teachers and teachers from state-funded schools in England.  Simply filter by ‘Key Stage’ and ‘Online’ to find the relevant courses.  Schools in Education Investment Areas can also claim a subsidy of £205 for the first course someone from the school attends each academic year to cover supply costs. Trainee teachers can now access the courses for free as well, get in touch with your local computing hub to find out how.

Computing at School

Computing at School are set up to support both teachers and subject leaders. Free termly meetings offer support, resources and the sharing of best practice for local meetings. CAS also offer lots of remote meetings which offer a range of CPD opportunities.

Apple Teacher

Apple Teacher is a free professional learning programme designed to support and celebrate educators using Apple products for teaching and learning. 

Barefoot

Barefoot offer a number of free virtual workshops; computing in EYFS, Programming with Scratch, An introduction to Barefoot and Computational Thinking.


Resources to deliver computing lessons


Pedagogy

12 Principles of Computing Pedagogy – Poster


Inclusion and SEND

CAS Inclusion resources – A range of resources and approaches to support students with SEND

Trainee teacher suggested reading list

Digital Literacy withing the Computing Curriculum – A report from Teach Computing and Raspberry PI January 21

Data and Information within the Computing Curriculum - A report from Teach Computing and Raspberry PI June 22

Programming and Algorithms within the Computing Curriculum - A report from Teach Computing and Raspberry PI January 22

Teach Computing - Range of blogs from 

QuickStart Computing – A set of resources that supports subject knowledge and peadagogy to support delivering the computing curriculum

Computing National Curriculum

Promoting Effective Computing pedagogy – A series of quick reads, newsletters and podcasts to support pedagogy

The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy – ‘The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy: Hello World’s first-ever special edition focuses on approaches to teaching computing in the classroom, and includes some of our favourite pedagogically themed articles from previous Hello World issues, as well as a couple of never-seen-before features. This special issue aims to be your companion to learning about tried-and-tested approaches to teaching computing. It bridges the gap between research and practice, giving you accessible chunks of research, followed by stories from trusty educators who have tried out various approaches in their classroom or educational space.’

Evidencing Primary Computing

Session Overview/Focus   This session will look at how some of the challenges faced with evidencing computing lessons and a range of techniques that can be used to effectively monitor and evidence computing

Expected Learning outcomes:

  • To understand some of the different techniques for evidencing computing lessons
  • To make an informed decision of the advantages of disadvantages of different systems for evidencing
  • Watch the recording here


A Deeper Understanding of the Primary Computing National Curriculum

  • Watch the recording here

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