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National Curriculum[2014]: Computing  
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. 




At Downs Junior School, we want our children to be fluent in their understanding of technology.  We want our children to know how technology impacts the world around them and importantly, how to stay safe whilst using this technology.  We strive to model and educate our pupils to use technology positively, responsibly and safely.   As the digital world around us is ever-changing and expanding, we aim to equip our children with the knowledge and influence they need to begin to navigate the future pathways of this digital age, in secondary school and beyond.   

Students learn the three main strands of computing: information technology; computer science coding and digital literacy.  Units have been taken and adapted from the NCCE Teach Computing scheme, as well as tools such as Google's Applied Digital Skills. Our children also learn key digital skills, such as mouse control and early coding, using Busy Things and Barefoot Computing.  Children are given opportunities to explore platforms to enhance IT skills, such as creating Stop Motion Animations, exploring physical systems by coding Micro:bits, as well as creating and understanding digital drawing packages. Coding projects offer our children creative freedom, from learning simple skills in Scratch to increasingly complex game building.  Our Computing curriculum is designed to be fun, engaging, progressive and coherent for all our children, with emerging cross-curricular links.  

It is through these strands that our children become competent and skilled users of technology, understanding the ways in which it can influence and bolster our everyday lives.  We strive to inspire future Scientists, Engineers and digital pioneers by allowing our children the chance to dream.   

How is our Computing taught?

We recognise Computing as a subject of its own.  It is mostly taught by a specialist Computing teacher. Our curriculum has been created using some of the units given by the STEM NCCE scheme, as well as being created using the knowledge of the specialist teacher themselves and the consideration of children’s own capabilities.  Lessons include elements of unplugged learning, away from devices; using iPads, often for topics such as Video or Photo editing; and units that use Chromebooks, often for web-based lessons.  We give children the opportunity to develop their use of digital technology, teaching them valuable digital skills, readying them for secondary and beyond.   

What does a Computing lesson look like?

  • Computing is often taught using digital devices.  
  • Children’s digital skills are clearly progressed across the year.
  • Knowledge and skills have a clear progressive pathway across the school.
  • There is often a buzz of excitement as children engage in their lessons, create new programs or campaign video trailers. 
  • Children are encouraged to collaborate and share their digital knowledge with each other.  

Online Safety

Online safety is woven into lessons, from educating children about game and app age ratings to how to keep personal information private through to the consequences of online bullying and ways to behave when we are in the online world, whatever the device or circumstance.  Children are taught the Online Safety mantra of Zip It, Block It, Flag It, to help them understand how to stay safe and report concerns.    

Trusted Adults & Helping Hands

In our PSHE lessons, children learn to use their Helping Hand to name a network of adults they know and trust.  In Computing we use our Helping Hands to understand who children can speak to about issues they experience online. 

Progression in Computing

At Downs Junior School, children progress in Computing by following and implementing small tasks, all of which help to progress and build their skills and knowledge.  When children first arrive in Year 3, they begin their journey by learning to manipulate tools, add photos, videos and voice recordings on Seesaw, the learning platform used for homework, to showcase our more practical subjects and lessons and for evidencing the Computing curriculum.  By the end of year 6, children independently make choices on the type of software or hardware needed to best present information, having experienced a range of software tools in their journey through the school.  

In line with our whole-school approach to learning, Computing lessons are always adapted to the needs, knowledge and understanding of each class.  Should children show a lack of understanding in lessons, learning is quickly adapted to suit their needs.  Children and classes who show themselves to be more capable in certain subject areas are encouraged to further develop their skills and knowledge, for example by adding variables such as score counters or timers into basic games they are building.

Here is an example of the programming skills progression

click the link to see the whole progression document.

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