The 2014 National Curriculum for England introduced 'Computing' as a new subject, intended to replace ICT (Information and Communication Technology) which was no longer fit for purpose. The full range of skills we are required to teach can be found in the National Curriculum document for this subject available at the bottom of the page.
Computing and ICT at Caedmon
Technology develops at an astonishing rate. At Caedmon, we embrace these changes and actively encourage children to develop their Computing skills from an early age to allow them to begin to experiment and innovate as soon as possible. Our intentions are simple:
Our school follows the 'Switched on Computing' scheme of work, which provides starting points for teachers to adapt in order to ensure we deliver a broad and balanced curriculum. An overview can be found here, including examples of the software (such as Scratch, GoogleDocs and SketchUp) that we use. The vast majority of the software is available to download at home free of charge: a simple search engine search should point you in the right direction.
E-safety (helping children understand how to stay safe online) runs throughout everything we do in Computing lessons in each class, supported by whole school assemblies where appropriate.
We have invested significantly to upgrade our facilities and infrastructure over the past couple of years, moving Caedmon towards the cutting edge of ICT in Gateshead. First of all, we have a dedicated ICT suite with an interactive whiteboard and projector alongside 33 networked desktop computers with internet access. Each class has a dedicated one hour session within the ICT suite each week, intended to support Computing specific tasks. It can be accessed by any class to support the wider curriculum when not being used for this purpose.
Additionally, each class has at least four computers with internet access. All classrooms have interactive whiteboards. We use a wide range of programmable toys such as BeeBots, Nintendo DS handheld devices, headphones, Flip Cameras and microphones to support learning across all areas of the curriculum.
From Autumn 2014, we introduced a number of Apple products into our infrastructure, allowing the children to experience an alternative operating system and discover new ways of working. Each classroom is equipped with three iMac desktop computers, including one linked to the interactive whiteboard. Between the classes, there are over 60 iPads available for a wide variety of (often rather creative) uses by children and staff. Linking these pieces of technology together are Apple TVs located in every classroom (and attached to other prominent screens around school, such as the main hall), providing us with the opportunity to share work and ideas with others quickly and effectively.
Wireless internet access is available in all areas of the school, including the yard.
We recognise the importance of encouraging our most able children to develop their skills in new ways. This has led to the introduction of 'Digital Leaders' within our school, appointed from children in Year 3 up to Year 6. After a year spent establishing the foundations of the Digital Leader programme, the soon to be selected Digital Leaders will begin to develop their own knowledge to support staff and pupils with both the use of the full range of hardware in school and some aspects of the Computing curriculum.
Technology, particularly social media, has a significant effect on how people perceive modern issues and events. Helping children to put what they see online (as well as the content they themselves produce) into context is an important part of understanding the fundamental British Values, particularly those relating to decision making within a democracy.
Children in all year groups have access to a number of different online services to support their learning in school. These include Mathletics, Espresso, Purple Mash, Espresso and, of course, our very own blogging platform. In addition to these, there are other services available for children to access only whilst in school, including interactive Maths games and Spellodrome for the older children.
As previously mentioned, most of the software we use in our Computing lessons is available to download online free of charge.
Some classes have their own class website. Teachers showing children how easy it is to design, develop and maintain a website has resulted in some of our own children designing their own websites based on their own interests to share with other people - an example of using Computing skills in 'real life' that we encourage.
Computing is not considered a 'core subject' in the same way Maths and Literacy are. Children are taught a specific set of skills and use this to produce a piece of work each half term. Examples of these can be found on our Computing portfolio. As you can see, there is often a wide range of different outcomes as children are working at very different levels of ability and experience. Teachers make informal notes on this to discuss progress with the children and inform them of their next steps, to pass on to the next year group's teacher and to form the children's end of year report.
Subject Leader: Mr. Minett