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COMPUTING CURRICULUM

An emphasis on fun, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving underpins our computing philosophy at South Lee.

 

In a world where technology is developing so rapidly, the focus is not just on technical proficiency but in developing transferable skills which will help the children throughout their lives in education and beyond. They are encouraged to be bold in their ideas; to experiment and fail in order to progress.

As the children progress through the school, they develop more agency in dictating the curriculum. The aim is to really capture their interests and engage them whilst delivering a program of study which not only hits the National Curriculum requirements but goes far beyond.

‘All have talent’ is the school’s motto and our computing curriculum aims to give every child the chance to excel through a range of exciting and engaging activities. Project- based learning is important in achieving this and we aim to provide children with an authentic audience and purpose for their work.

 

Online Safety is a key part of the curriculum and is delivered through PSHEE and Computing lessons, as well as being embedded in our day-to-day practices.

Reception

In the Early Years, screen time is limited. The focus is on developing key skills through role-play and experimentation. Activities which promote ‘tinkering’ are a prominent part of the program of study and include building an imaginary robot from cardboard boxes; designing and building a pirate ship by testing the suitability of a variety of materials and finding buried treasure by following directions on a treasure map!

 

Children will also boost their pattern recognition and problem solving through hands- on activities which include the use of simple robotics. They will dip into the world of digital media by learning how to take photos and record sounds and will use a mouse to help develop their fine motor skills.

Year 1 & 2

In Years 1 and 2, children develop their understanding through a variety of ‘unplugged’ activities which include creating dance routine algorithms; secret handshakes; ‘tinkering’ with cupcake recipes and navigating a human robot around an obstacle course! The activities are often cross-curricular, making links with English, maths, science, geography and more.

Group work is at the forefront of the curriculum, helping the children to develop co-operative problem-solving skills and promoting a growth mindset.

Simple robotics will be used to introduce the children to physical computing and give them the opportunity to write and debug simple algorithms.

In Key Stage 1, the children will start to develop their typing skills and be introduced to basic features of word-processing software. They will also have the chance to work with photos, videos and audio recordings to produce a variety of different cross- curricular projects.

Year 3 & 4

In Years 3 and 4, pupils start to become familiar with block coding software, writing algorithms to achieve specific results and dipping their toes into the world of game design. They build on the foundations of Key Stage 1 by applying their understanding of sequencing, repetition and selection to write computer programs and have the opportunity to publish and share their projects with the wider world.

Children will become familiar with the core Microsoft and Apple suite of apps and will use these for a variety of purposeful projects with a real audience. Cross-curricular links are constantly made and add depth to the children’s understanding and enjoyment.

A basic understanding of computer systems and networks is taught at this age and children will begin to understand how ‘the internet of things’ can have positive and negative impacts on our lives.

Year 5 & 6

By Years 5 and 6, children have become much more independent in their coding abilities and pursue a variety of projects which allow them to really express their creativity in game design. Children are encouraged to collaborate on, and peer review, their programs which are shared with the wider community.

Programming is extended to physical computing and linked to STEM, with children using Micro:Bit mini-computers to create a various projects, including the creation of a ‘Fit-Bit’ style step-counter.

Digital media manipulation extends to filmmaking and editing and gives the children a chance to link with music by creating their own soundtracks using audio software.

Pupils will continue to work with word-processing, presentation and spreadsheet software and this will be reinforced across the curriculum. They will also work on touch-typing, a skill which will be of great benefit for their futures in secondary schools and universities.

Year 7 & 8

Greater freedom and responsibility for driving the curriculum is given to the children in Years 7 and 8. Whilst hitting the key teaching objectives, students have the opportunity to dictate computing projects based on their interests and to develop a sense of creative autonomy.

In programming, we start to make the transition from block to text based code and the children will create scripts using the Python programming language. Physical computing remains a key part of the curriculum and they will be encouraged to create real-life solutions to engineering problems using Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

Children will build on their skills in manipulating digital media by producing and editing their own mini-documentaries which are then published via secure streaming sites.