Our aim at Sparsholt, in line with the Primary National Curriculum for Computing, is to provide a high-quality computing education that equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. We recognise that society is becoming increasingly digital and it is important that children develop digital competence allowing them to transfer their skills to a variety of subjects and contexts and thrive in the future. By the time children leave Sparsholt C of E Primary, children will have gained key knowledge and skills in the three core areas of the computing curriculum:
- computer science (program and understand how digital systems work)
- information technology (use computer systems to store, retrieve and send information)
- digital literacy (use and express their themselves, evaluate digital content and use technology safely and respectfully).
The objectives within each strand support the development of learning across the key stages, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.
Computing teaching at Sparsholt follows the ‘Switched On: Computing’ scheme published by Rising Stars in combination with Switched On: Online Safety by Rising Stars as a basis for planning. The objectives and outcomes from each unit of ‘Switched On: Computing’ are often richly linked to engaging contexts in other subjects and topics. For example a short section of The Iron Man (the class text) has been previously used as an outcome for Year 3 unit 3.1: Programming an Animation. We have a class set of iPads and a class set of laptops to ensure that all year groups have the opportunity to use a range of devices and programs for many purposes across the wider curriculum, as well as in discrete computing lessons. Employing cross-curricular links motivates pupils and supports them to make connections and remember the steps they have been taught. The implementation of the curriculum also ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy. The children will have experiences of all three strands in each year group, but the subject knowledge imparted becomes increasingly specific and in depth, with more complex skills being taught, thus ensuring that learning is built upon. For example, children in Key Stage 1 learn what algorithms are, which leads them to the design stage of programming in Key Stage 2, where they design, write and debug programs, explaining the thinking behind their algorithms. E-safety is embedded within the different units taught throughout the year.
The impact of Computing at Sparsholt aims to result in a fun, engaging, and high-quality computing education. The quality of children’s learning is evident from the work saved to the VLE (virtual learning environment) and pupil drives. Evidence such as this is used to feed into teachers’ future planning and as a topic-based approach continues to be developed, teachers are able to revisit misconceptions and knowledge gaps in computing when teaching other curriculum areas. The foundation assessment grid is used to assess the unit each term. Much of the subject-specific knowledge developed in our computing lessons equip pupils with experiences which will benefit them in secondary school, further education and future workplaces. From research methods, use of presentation and creative tools and critical thinking, computing at Sparsholt C of E Primary gives children the building blocks that enable them to pursue a wide range of interests and vocations in the next stage of their lives.