The Computing Curriculum at West Jesmond
Curiosity, Confidence, Creativity and Community
Computing Curriculum Aims
Computing at West Jesmond aims to empower children to put themselves at the centre of their increasingly digital world. Pupils make use of computational thinking and digital creativity to understand and change the world. Children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the world around them and computational thinking to help them access and enhance the wider curriculum, becoming creators and intelligent users rather than passive users of technology. Our curriculum is designed to address the three main strands of the computing curriculum (Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship) helping children develop an understanding of the nature and purpose of their digital world; and how it effects their lives. Being digitally literate is widely recognised as valuable as traditional Primary subjects. Our ambition is that children develop their computational thinking skills to enable them to think critically about their online and digital worlds but also to be able to embed and develop key life skills becoming effective problem solvers.
The Computing curriculum at West Jesmond supplements the EYFS Curriculum by beginning to develop early computational thinking skills. It adheres to the National Curriculum aims and objectives and has a clearly considered progression of skills from EYFS through to Year 6. Children are introduced to key learning in Computer Science through ‘unplugged’ lessons where they are encouraged to understand the theory of computational thinking before putting it into practise with physical equipment and digital devices. This forms the foundation of our Computing curriculum. Through Digital Literacy, the children are encouraged to use devices and applications in an increasingly creative way to facilitate their understanding of their ability to be digital creators in their own right. Our Digital Citizenship strand is constantly evolving and adapting to our changing digital world and works in tandem with our PSHE curriculum. Children revisit the fundamental concepts of remaining safe online and becoming respectful and discerning members of their online community throughout each year. We want our children to be ambitious, critical thinkers that are actively engaged in their digital world, challenging and disrupting what they perceive. Our Computing curriculum is carefully designed and sequenced to allow pupils to build on previous content. For example, in Year 3, children begin to consolidate their work on algorithms and their implementation as programs, which was completed in Year 2, to allow them to begin to understand the importance of sequencing. Staff are supported in developing confidence in Computing through connections with the National Centre for Computing Education and our local Computing at Schools community. Staff are regularly encouraged to discuss planning, topics and content with the Computing Lead to enable consistent and appropriate CPD.
To enhance our curriculum, we offer the opportunity for children to attend extra-curricular Computing and Code Club and we have a team of ‘Digital Leaders’ in KS2 to raise the profile of computing skills, act as role models and to assist staff within lessons. We work closely with local schools and industry to provide links to the wider community and take part in competitions.
What you will see in a West Jesmond Computing Lesson
- Engaging and inspiring lessons that promote creativity and curiosity.
- High quality instruction and questioning with teachers providing carefully planned, sequenced and modelled lessons that build on children’s computational knowledge and skills.
- Leading with concepts, such as sequence, repetition and selection, to support in the acquisition of knowledge.
- Achievement and Inclusion for all: All activities are planned, scaffolded and adapted to ensure every child at West Jesmond can achieve highly in Computing. This may include adapted resources, adult support and awareness of physical/sensory needs.
- Teaching new concepts by unpacking complex terms and ideas, exploring these in ‘unplugged’ and familiar ways, then repacking this new learning into the original concept. This approach (semantic waves) can develop a secure understanding of new learning.
- Authentic experiences with a focus on collaboration, specifically paired programming and peer instruction.
- The use of physical computing (Beebots, Code-a-pillars, Micro:bits and Edisons) to provide a creative, engaging environment to explore learning.
- High quality talk giving opportunities for children to discuss, evaluate and ‘debug’.
- An emphasis on correct and ambitious vocabulary.
- High quality verbal feedback during lessons.
- A proactive focus on Digital Citizenship, evaluating our own digital footprint and the implications of our increasing online presence.
Impact: Progress in our curriculum is measured by children knowing more and remembering more.
If we are meeting our aims, our learners will know how computers and their systems work, how they are designed and implemented, and their fundamental purpose. They will see themselves as active content creators rather than passive users of technology. Our children will be able to think critically about the digital content they encounter and challenge their perceptions of new information. They will view themselves as active participants within their online communities and will appreciate the positive impact of technology and the internet.
Each one will be ready to thrive in Computing during the next stage of their education.
Staff use a range of assessment techniques to assess progress towards our key milestones and to measure the impact of our teaching and learning. We utilise spaced retrieval and regular low stakes quizzing, opportunities to present work and discussion to understand our children’s learning and to plan for next steps.
Our Computing Lead monitors progress for all children through our West Jesmond Deep Dives and takes actions to ensure every child achieves highly in Computing.