Why is computing part of the RFA curriculum?
At the Robert Fitzroy Academy, the computing curriculum prepares pupils for the challenges and opportunities offered by a world where work and leisure activities are rapidly being transformed by technological change.
Through computer science, pupils will become skilled in using computational thinking to comprehend and change the world. They will understand the ideas and principles that underpin how digital systems work such as abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. Through varied and repeated opportunities to apply this knowledge, they will become highly skilled in analysing problems in computational terms and writing computer programs in order to solve them.
Information technology will give pupils opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in the application of computer systems. They will be able to use it to analytically solve real-world problems, find things out, create, exchange and share information and evaluate and modify work.
Pupils will become digitally literate, able to use technology creatively, safely, respectfully and responsibly; they will be prepared to competently take part in the digital world of the present and the future.
How do we teach computing at RFA?
The implementation of the computing curriculum ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy, which includes e-safety. Children will experience all three strands in each year group and each strand comes with a list of key vocabulary linked to the technical knowledge and skills being taught.
Computing knowledge and skills are carefully mapped out and sequenced so that they are built on year by year to enable learning to become more specific, complex and in-depth. For example, children in KS1 learn what algorithms are, which leads them to the design stage of programming in KS2. In KS2, they use their prior knowledge to go on to design, create and debug programmes and logically explain their thinking behind their algorithms.
Computing is taught either through stand-alone lessons or, where possible, it is richly linked to engaging contexts in other subjects or topics so that pupils can apply their computing knowledge and skills.
Children are given opportunities to work with a range of hardware devices and software resources and programs, for a variety of purposes, across the curriculum as well as in discrete computing lessons.
At RFA we are committed to developing digital wisdom in our pupils in order to prepare them for life in an increasingly digital world. Therefore, a strong focus is placed on how to use technology safely and responsibly through the teaching of digital skills, of how technology is used and of how pupils can apply the use of technology in contexts that they can relate to.
What is taught as a part of the computing curriculum?
Our Computing curriculum is planned so that pupils have a good understanding of the computing concepts, knowledge, skills and vocabulary that run through three strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy.
Upon completion of each project, teachers will assess children against the progression of computing concepts, knowledge and skills document.
Termly assessment will take place to track children’s progress against age related expectations for Computing.
Online activity and e-safety
Here at RFA we want to equip our pupils with the knowledge and self-confidence to make the best use of the internet and technology in a safe, considered and respectful way, so they are able to reap the benefits of the online world.
We are committed to delivering online safety content within our curriculum and embed this within our wider whole-school approach.
Throughout the year, teachers will address online safety and appropriate behaviour in an age-appropriate way that is relevant to our pupils’ lives at every stage of their education.
This complements our computing curriculum, which covers the principles of online safety at both key stages, with progression in the content to reflect the different risks and issues that pupils face as they get older. This includes:
- how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully and securely
- where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies
There are also other curriculum areas which include content relevant to teaching pupils how to use the internet safely. For example, PSHE, citizenship education and our British Values assemblies explore:
- freedom of speech
- the role and responsibility of the media and social media in informing and shaping public opinion
- the concept of democracy, freedom, rights, and responsibilities
At the start of every term, our teachers spend time with their class revisiting our SMART rules for staying safe online.
There are specific e-safety units in our computing curriculum which allow for greater exploration of some of the above themes, such as ‘Internet Explorers’ (Year 1), ‘Digital Citizens’ (Year 2) and ‘Staying Safe Online' (Year 5).
Every February the whole school participates in Safer Internet Week which further raises awareness of a safer and better internet for all.
SENSO Monitoring Software
All Reach2 schools are protected by SENSO - sophisticated monitoring software installed on every compatible Trust device - both those used by pupils and staff. SENSO captures a screenshot of the device screen when any language or imagery is used that might be a concern and sends it to a member of the Senior Leadership Team. In this way, we can further protect against children’s exposure to online risk, keeping them safer when they are using computers at school.