Intent

By the end of Year 6, we, at Oaklands Junior, aim to prepare our learners for their future by giving them the opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills that will equip them for an ever changing digital world. We want all our pupils to be competent in the key areas of computing and ICT and able to apply their knowledge and understanding safely in real-life and ever changing situations.

Knowledge and understanding of ICT is of increasing importance for our children’s future both at home and for employment. Our Computing Curriculum, which is based on the Wokingham Computing Curriculum, focuses on a progression of skills in digital literacy, computer science, information technology and online safety to ensure that children become competent in safely using, as well as understanding, technology.

In computer science we will teach the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming information. In addition, we aim to ensure our children are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that our pupils become digitally literate – able to explore, 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. 

These areas of Computing curriculum will be taught using 4 strands: Programming, Exploration, Communication and e-safety. These strands are revisited repeatedly through a range of themes during children’s time in school to ensure the learning is embedded and skills are successfully developed. In addition, we will take part in national events such as Safer Internet Day, special assemblies and, once COVID restrictions have been removed, school initiatives such as using digital leaders to promote online safety.

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum which prepares pupils to use their understanding and thinking in ICT and computing creatively. Many of the skills and ways of learning tie in particularly well with our ‘Thinking School’ philosophy as well as our ‘Oaklands’ Mindset’, for example challenge, resilience, communication, enjoyment. Our intention is that Computing also supports children’s creativity and cross curricular learning to engage children and enrich their experiences in school.

Following the COVID pandemic, we recognise the impact that the lack of face-to-face teaching has had on children’s progress in Computing and IT. Some children were able to develop their skills in using and understanding computer networks and technology during periods when accessing remote learning. Although regular lessons were provided as part of our remote learning provision during lockdown, we are aware that we will need to revisit some key concepts from previous year groups. This has been discussed during staff meetings and the subject leader has highlighted some key skills and concepts that need to be revisited by each year group.

Implementation

The teaching of Computing is undertaken on a weekly basis by either the class teacher or the other year group teacher. Our plans are based on the Wokingham Scheme of Work and they are fully aligned with the 2014 National Curriculum.

Lessons take place in the classroom, ICT Suite (where there is a class set of pcs- one for every child in the class and the teacher or on iPads. We currently have a class set of ipads with plans to increase this to 2 class sets. There is a rota for use and in addition they can be booked out. We have close links with Wokingham and have regular access to their advice, training and equipment through our package.

In usual circumstances, weekly, there are two ICT Suite sessions allocated to each year group. One is for ICT/ Computing sessions and the other is for sessions where ICT is linked to other areas of the curriculum such as maths. The iPads are used in the classroom. During recent months, the Covid pandemic has affected this timetable and we have had to use creative solutions. For instance, we created an extra ICT suite in the library for Y3 pupils in 2020 and a socially distanced ICT suite for use by other pupils in the summer term of 2020. However, we acknowledge that pupils will not be as familiar with the ICT curriculum as in previous years.

The lesson activities are challenging, varied and interactive and develop pupils’ confidence and competence in Computing. We are aware that Computing skills are important to support other areas of the curriculum too, and have made efforts to ensure that all children have the expertise to access computing and cross- curricular work, using the Microsoft Teams and in particular have developed use of Assignments on Teams to for homework and to allow children to access remote learning  when needed. Education City and Purple Mash are used to support ICT and other curriculum areas. In maths, Maths Whizz is used at home and in school to promote maths learning. In addition iPads are used to support SEN and other interventions groups using programs like Nessy to support spelling and use of Word, including its dictation functions to support children’s writing.

The lessons are designed to be progressive and build on prior learning, over the four years. It is expected that formative assessment in each lesson informs the planning and teaching of subsequent lesson plans. They also include ideas for support for the less able and to extend the more able. Staff and pupils at Oaklands Junior are enthusiastic and keen to embrace new challenges and new technology. This has been particularly evident during the pandemic, where great efforts were made to ensure that all pupils had access to all areas of the curriculum, including the school curriculum during periods of home-learning.

We are keen to ensure equal opportunity and access. The school also has a number of SEND iPads, allocated to classes which are used regularly in lessons to support SEND and PPA pupils, again another skill interlined with the Computing curriculum.  During Lockdown, we were able to allocate a number of DFE and Wellington Collage laptops to support disadvantaged pupils.

A detailed breakdown of the curriculum, and what is taught in each year group, can be found in the appendices.

As well as Computing lessons, we usually have a band of digital leaders who support class teachers with a special emphasis on promoting online safety. Although this could not take place in the academic year 2020-21, due to the pandemic, a new Digital Leadership is being recruited and will meet again during 2021-2022. In the past Digital Leaders have carried out a series of initiatives including taking whole school assemblies on aspects of on-line safety, engaging both pupils and staff across the school. They created a positive, stimulating environment around the subject.

Home Learning has been a major element of school (and computing) life in the past couple of years. Initially, in Spring 2020, during the first Lockdown, efforts were concentrated to providing daily opportunities for listening to readings and talks from the teacher and then weekly tasks in English, maths and foundation subjects using our VLE platform, OWL. Weekly times to chat to class members were also provided to help pupils’ wellbeing. In Autumn 2020, all year groups worked towards a more effective system using Microsoft Assignments to deliver maths, English and Foundation subjects. This allowed us to quickly move to delivering daily Maths, English and Foundation lessons using bespoke videos. In addition, to support well-being, children had daily opportunities to ask questions about the work and weekly online class chats.to talk with other children in their class.

As subject leader, Miss Davidson also does regular Computing assemblies, including some during periods of lockdown. These assemblies were aimed at promoting the on-line safety. There have also been online assemblies including the BBC Live Lesson for internet safety day and bespoke assemblies from Google and Parent Zone. The school regularly takes part in activities during Safer Internet Day. Parents have been informed with on-line safety updates in newsletters and have received up-to date copies of relevant support, including paper copies of Digital Parenting.

As part of her subject leader role, Miss Davidson has also undertaken learning walks and spoken to children to understand the current strengths and areas of development within our current provision for the teaching of Computing.

Impact

Children have become more confident users of technology, able to use it to accomplish a wide variety of goals, both at home and in school. Children are developing a secure and comprehensive knowledge of the implications of technology and digital systems. This is important in a society where technologies and trends are rapidly evolving. Children have quickly became competent in the use of assignments to support online work. This has been shown during Lockdowns with a high percentage of children’s engagement with the activities and as evidenced by surveys to parents.

However, we recognise that there are gaps in skills resulting from the Covid- related situation. Apart from periods of with home-learning, when children returned to school use of the ICT Suite and Ipads was more limited due to the need to quarantine / thoroughly clean equipment between bubbles. There there were periods of time when Year groups were confined to using just the iPads or the ICT Suite for limited periods of time. Staff have had to be creative and adapt the curriculum accordingly. Some pupils are demonstrating more limited keyboard skills as they have had less access to the PCs and the curriculum is being modified in response.

Children have been exposed to the British values of democracy, tolerance, mutual respect and most importantly, safety when using digital systems. They are developing a greater understanding of the consequences of using the internet and they are also aware of ways to keep themselves safe online. As children become more confident in their abilities in Computing, they are becoming more independent and developing key life skills such as problem-solving, logical thinking and self-evaluation. We encourage our children to enjoy and value the curriculum we deliver. We will constantly ask the why behind their learning and not just the how. We want learners to discuss, reflect and appreciate the impact computing has on their learning, development and well-being.

Finding the right balance with technology is key to an effective education and a healthy lifestyle. We feel the way we implement computing helps children realise the need for the right balance and one they can continue to build on in their next stage of education and beyond. We encourage regular discussions between staff and pupils to best embed and understand this.

In lessons, the way pupils share, celebrate and publish their work shows the impact of our curriculum. We also look for evidence through reviewing pupil’s knowledge and skills digitally through tools like Microsoft Teams and observing learning regularly. Progress of our computing curriculum is demonstrated through outcomes and the record of coverage in the process of achieving these outcomes.