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 willteach 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 use Project Evolve throughout the school to promote online safety. We will take part in national events such as Safer Internet Day, special assemblies and 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 still 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.
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 Project Evolve. 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 two class sets of iPads, one in the upper and one in the lower school. 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. However, we acknowledge that pupils will not be as familiar with the ICT curriculum as in previous years and planning will take account of this
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, including using the Microsoft Teams and use of Assignments on Teams. Project Evolve lessons are used to promote online safety. Education City and Purple Mash are used to support ICT and other curriculum areas. In maths, Doodle Tables have been recently introduced to be used at home to enhance maths and tables learning and Doodle English has been used to support English learning. In addition iPads are used to support SEN and other intervention 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 was 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.
As well as Computing lessons, we have a band of digital leaders who support class teachers with a special emphasis on promoting online safety. In the past Digital Leaders have carried out a series of initiatives including creating posters and PowerPoints, taking whole school assemblies on aspects of on-line safety, engaging both pupils and staff across the school. They trialled the introduction of Project Evolve materials, giving valuable input prior to Staff training and implementation. They created a positive, stimulating environment around the subject which they will build on this year as we embed Project Evolve.
As subject leader, Miss Davidson also does regular Computing and Online Safety assemblies. There have also been online assemblies including bespoke assemblies from Google and Parent Zone (Be Internet Legends). The school regularly takes part in activities during Safer Internet Day. Parents have been informed with on-line safety updates at the start of the year during the Parent Forums and in newsletters. They 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. She has recently introduced Project Evolve throughout the school.
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 homework. This was shown during Covid 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 still 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. Staff were creative and adapted the curriculum accordingly. Some pupils are now demonstrating more limited keyboard skills as they have had less access to the PCs and the curriculum is being modified in response.
OFSTED visit 2022
In April 2022, OFSTED undertook an inspection and confirmed that Oaklands Junior School continues to be a good school. Some quotes from the report about curriculum include:
- Leaders are refining their ambitious curriculum for pupils. The ‘Thinking Curriculum’ focuses on developing thinking skills to enable pupils to learn something in one subject and then apply that knowledge in another.
- Learning is well planned. Themes such as Egyptians in Year 3 bring together learning in physical education, art and design and technology. This helps pupils make links, and enriches their learning experience.
- The curriculum promotes topics that capture the imagination of pupils and inspire creativity. Teachers plan topics carefully so that pupils can link different areas of learning.
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. The introduction of Project Evolve is promoting children’s well-being.
Next we will be working on embedding theses into the PSHE / Computing currriculum.
Moving forward, the children will revisit the Project strands each year:
- Self image and identity
- Online relationships
- Online reputation
- Online bullying
- Managing online information
- Health, well-being and lifestyle
- Privacy and security
- Copyright and ownership
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.