The new computer science curriculum is made up of 3 key areas, Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Programming. At Buttercup Primary we ensure that these outcomes are met through dedicated Computer Science lessons and through cross curricular lessons.
The key learning outcomes are as follows:
KS1 (Years 1 & 2)
• 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.
• Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content.
• 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.
• Recognise common uses of information technology beyond school.
KS2 (Years 3,4,5 & 6)
• 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.
• Use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/ unacceptable behaviour and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
• 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.
1. Aims and objectives
1.1 Computer Science is changing the lives of everyone. Through teaching Computer Science we equip children to participate in a rapidly-changing world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology. We enable them to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. We also focus on developing the skills necessary for children to be able to use information in a discriminating and effective way. Computer Science skills are a major factor in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners.
1.2 The aims of Computer Science are to enable children:
•to develop Computer Science capability in finding, selecting and using information;
•to use Computer Science for effective and appropriate communication;
•to monitor and control events both real and imaginary;
•to apply hardware and software to creative and appropriate uses of information;
•to apply their Computer Science skills and knowledge to their learning in other areas;
•to use their Computer Science skills to develop their language and communication skills;
•to explore their attitudes towards Computer Science and its value to them and society in general. For example, to learn about issues of security, confidentiality and accuracy.
2. Teaching and learning style
2.1 As the aims of Computer Science are to equip children with the skills necessary to use technology to become independent learners, the teaching style that we adopt is as active and practical as possible. At times we do give children direct instruction on how to use hardware or software in ‘skills’ lessons but we often use Computer Science capabilities to support teaching across the curriculum. So, for example, children might research a history topic by using a CD-ROM, or they might investigate a particular issue on the Internet. Children who are learning science might use the computer to model a problem or to analyse data. We encourage the children to explore ways in which the use of Computer Science can improve their results, for example, how a piece of writing can be edited or how the presentation of a piece of work can be improved by moving text about etc.
2.2 We recognise that all classes have children with widely differing Computer Science abilities. This is especially true when some children have access to Computer Science 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 for each ability group;
•providing resources of different complexity that are matched to the ability of the child;
•using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children.
3. Computer Science curriculum planning
3.1 The school uses the national scheme of work for Computer Science as the basis for its curriculum planning. We have adapted the national scheme to the local circumstances of the school.
3.2 We carry out the curriculum planning in Computer Science in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term). The long-term plan maps the Computer Science topics that the children study in each term during each key stage. The Computer Science subject leader works this out in conjunction with teaching colleagues in each year group, and the children often study Computer Science as part of their work in other subject areas. Our long-term Computer Science plan shows how teaching units are distributed across the year groups, and how these fit together to ensure progression within the curriculum plan.
3.3 Our medium-term plans, which we have adopted from the national scheme of work, give details of each unit of work for each term. They identify the key learning objectives for each unit of work and stipulate the curriculum time that we devote to it. The Computer Science subject leader is responsible for keeping and reviewing these plans. As we have some mixed-age classes, we do our medium-term planning on a two-year rotation cycle. In this way we ensure that we cover the National Curriculum without repeating topics.
3.4 The class teacher is responsible for writing the short-term plans with the Computer Science component of each lesson. These plans list the specific learning objectives of each lesson. The class teacher keeps these individual plans and s/he and the Computer Science subject leader often discuss them on an informal basis.
3.5 The topics studied in Computer Science are planned to build upon prior learning. While we offer opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit, we also build planned progression into the scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
4. Foundation Stage
4.1 We teach Computer Science in reception classes as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the Computer Science aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. The children have the opportunity to use the computers and a digital camera. Then during the year they gain confidence and start using the computer to find information and use it to communicate in a variety of ways.
5. The contribution of Computer Science to teaching in other curriculum areas
5.1 Computer Science contributes to teaching and learning in all curriculum areas. For example, graphics work links in closely with work in art, and work using databases supports work in mathematics, while CD ROMs and the Internet prove very useful for research in humanities subjects. Computer Science enables children to present their information and conclusions in the most appropriate way.
Computer Science is a major contributor to the teaching of English. Through the development of keyboard skills and the use of computers, children learn how to edit and revise text. They have the opportunity to develop their writing skills by communicating with people over the Internet, and they are able to join in discussions with other children throughout the world through the medium of video conferencing. They learn how to improve the presentation of their work by using desk-top publishing software.
Many Computer Science activities build upon the mathematical skills of the children. Children use Computer Science in mathematics to collect data, make predComputer Scienceions, analyse results, and present information graphically. They also acquire measuring techniques involving positive and negative numbers, and including decimal places.
5.4 Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship
Computer Science makes a contribution to the teaching of PSHE and citizenship as children learn to work together in a collaborative manner. They develop a sense of global citizenship by using the Internet and e-mail. Through the discussion of moral issues related to electronic communication, children develop a view about the use and misuse of Computer Science, and they also gain a knowledge and understanding of the interdependence of people around the world.
6. Teaching Computer Science to children with special needs
6.1 At Buttercup Primary, we teach Computer Science to all children, whatever their ability. Computer Science forms part of our school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education for all children. We provide learning opportunities that are matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. In some instances the use of Computer Science has a considerable impact on the quality of work that children produce; it increases their confidence and motivation. When planning work in Computer Science, we can ake into account the targets in the children’s Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The use of Computer Science can help children in achieving their targets and progressing in their learning.
7. Assessment and recording
7.1 Teachers assess children’s work in Computer Science by making informal judgements as they observe them during lessons. Pupils’ progress is closely monitored by the class teacher and at the end of each term; each pupil will be levelled for the strand of Computer Science which has been studied. This class record is kept in the teacher’s Assessment Folder. When appropriate, pupils print out work and this is kept in their Computer Science books, although children can also save their work onto their own files. Each child in KS1 and KS2 has a ‘Self Assessment Booklet’ which allows children to record and monitor their own skill progression. When a child demonstrates their attainment of a new level statement, they show the evidence to their teacher and tick off the relevant box (levels 1 – 5). Self assessment booklets are designed to give children more ownership of their learning
7.2 The Computer Science subject leader keeps samples of the children’s work in a portfolio. This demonstrates the expected level of achievement in Computer Science for each age group in the school.
8.1 At present, each classroom contains at least two Rm personal computers, and one inkjet printer. Reception classes have two BBc computers. The Computer Science suite contains sixteen Dell Optimplex GX260 personal computers and a pointech interactive whiteboard. There is also an HP colour laserjet printer that is also networked to the administration computers. Each classroom has a number of CD roms to support learning through Computer Science. Every computer in the school is linked to the internet and also has the McAfee Viruscan program. We keep resources for Computer Science, including software, in a central store in the Computer Science suite as well as in classrooms.
8.2 Along with the computers, the school has the following:
•control interface with buzzers etc.
•word processing packages
•a multimedia programme;
9. Monitoring and review
9.1 The monitoring of the standards of the children’s work and of the quality of teaching in Computer Science is the responsibility of the Computer Science subject leader and the Leadership Team. The Computer Science subject leader is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of Computer Science, for keeping informed about current developments in the subject and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The Computer Science subject leader regularly discusses the Computer Science situation with the headteacher and provides an annual summary report in which s/he evaluates the strengths and weaknesses in the subject and indicates areas for further improvement. During the year, the Computer Science subject leader has specially-allocated time for carrying out the vital task of reviewing samples of the children’s work and for visiting classes to observe the teaching of Computer Science.
Education & Curriculum Consultant