Computers are now a part of everyday life and for most of us, technology is essential to our lives, both at home and at work. For our children to be ready for the workplace, they must be able to participate effectively in the digital world.
The 2014 national curriculum introduces a new subject, computing which replaces ICT. The programme of study has been developed to equip children and young people with the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need for the rest of their lives.
Through the new programme of study, they will:
learn how computers and computer systems work;
design and build programmes;
develop ideas using technology.
At St Clement’s Primary School, we are very excited by the opportunities the new curriculum offers to this important area of learning.
Computing is concerned with how computers and computer systems work and how they are designed and programmed and children will gain an understanding of computational systems whether or not they include a computer.
Computational thinking is really important because it allows us to solve problems, design systems and to understand the limits of our own intelligence and that of machines. Children who are able to think computationally are better able to understand abstract concepts, understand and use computer-based technology and so are therefore better prepared for today’s world and the future.
At St Clement’s Primary School, we teach three distinct aspects of computing: computer science (CS), information technology (IT) and digital literacy (DL).
Computer science is the aspect of the subject in which children are taught about information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. We teach this using a programme called Espresso Coding which allows children to explore key concepts such as algorithms, sequences and variables, and develop skills like problem-solving, logical reasoning and debugging. Staff have received outside training in the teaching of this element of the curriculum.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to 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.
We ensure that there is a strong focus on e safety. We teach children how to keep themselves safe and to treat others with respect. Children consider how their online actions impact other people and how they need to be aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities, such as showing respect for intellectual property rights (e.g. musical, literary and artistic works), keeping passwords and personal data secure and observing the terms and conditions for web services they use such as the 13+ age restriction on sites such as Facebook.
Children are taught that if they ever feel worried about anything they see on the internet, they should share their concerns with a parent or teacher and that they can talk directly to the police or in confidence to counsellors at Childline.