Computing Intent Statement

Why do we teach computing?

At Boston Pioneers Academy, we aim for our learners to leave our school as ‘masters of technology’. In an ever-changing world, technology is everywhere as it is part of daily life. Through a wide and varied Computing curriculum, we aim to educate our learners in how to not only use, but embrace, a range of technologies in a positive, responsible and safe manner.

Our programme of study covers all 3 aspects of the computing curriculum:

  1. Computer Science – ‘The Foundations of Computing’ – Learners are taught the principles of information and computation; how digital systems work; and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
  2. Information Technology – ‘The application of computing’ – Learners are taught to apply their computing skills analytically to solve problems; including using IT to create programs, systems and a range of content.
  3. Digital Literacy and Online safety – ‘The implications of computing’ – Learners are taught to use, express themselves and develop their ideas safely and respectfully through information communication technologies.

How does our Computing Curriculum Reflect our Wider Curriculum Intent?

Oracy and Vocabulary  –  ‘Learning the words to learn.’

Just like other subjects, computing has a language all of its own.  Through our computing curriculum, learners are both exposed to and directly taught age-appropriate computing vocabulary which will enable them to think and talk in a computational manner. Our vocabulary is progressive, meaning that each year, the learners are building their ‘inner word bank’.

Experiential Learning  – ‘I see and I wonder, I hear and I remember, I do and I understand.’

Computing is, by its very nature a practical subject and our curriculum is filled with opportunities for the learners to apply their knowledge creatively, enabling them to become skilful computer scientists. We encourage our staff to view computing as an ‘integral part of’ as opposed to ‘a bolt-on’ to the wider curriculum and support its use across the whole curriculum to make learning both creative and accessible.

Raising Aspirations – ‘Beyond Boston’

We aim to expose our learners to the possibilities and opportunities available in the field of computer science, including career paths.  For example, through our use of VR, our learners can experience a variety of roles and careers from archaeologists to marine biologists!

Care and Guidance – ‘Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’

We recognise that the best prevention for a lot of issues we currently see with technology/social media is through education. Through the delivery of the Computing curriculum, our learners are taught how to be ‘digitally savvy’ – from recognising fake news to knowing how to report something concerning which they see online. The children are taught skills which enable them to be safeguarded and know the difference between right and wrong. These are life skills which will benefit our learners as they move onto secondary school and into later life.

How do we teach computing? Our Academy implementation

At Boston Pioneers Academy, computing is taught through a blended approach of explicit computing teaching and cross-curricular computing opportunities. As an Academy, we use the Teach Computing scheme of work which has been developed by the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).

Our Computing curriculum focuses on 4 key areas and by the time they leave Boston Pioneers Academy, our learners will have gained key knowledge and skills in four main areas of the computing curriculum:

  • Computing systems & networks
  • Creating media
  • Data & information
  • Programming

Our curriculum is progressive, with each year of our long-term plan, building upon the knowledge and skills developed in previous years. Our scheme of work also follows a spiral model, where each of the above areas is revisited, at least once a year, thus enabling pupils to both consolidate and build upon prior learning within that aspect of computing. Each unit of work also has clear online safety links and explicit opportunities to teach digital citizenship: the ability to engage positively, critically and competently in the digital environment.

Core computing knowledge and skills are taught during a weekly computing lesson which lasts between 30 and 45 minutes (dependent upon the age of the children and the concepts being taught). In addition to this dedicated computing lesson, the use of technology is also incorporated into other areas of the curriculum. For example, it is used for research into subjects such as History and Geography; software such as Lexia is used to support learning in English; hardware such as crumble controllers are used to create specific effects in Design Technology; and cameras are used to learn photography and animation skills in Art and Design.

Our learners begin their journey with technology in the Early Years Foundation Stage, with access to iPad apps such as Chatterpix; interactive whiteboards to support learning and BlueBots to introduce simple coding. Through continuous provision and curriculum opportunities, staff facilitate the learners’ curiosity and skills in using technology appropriately and with creativity.

In Key Stage 1, children are taught to use equipment and software confidently and purposefully; to communicate and handle information; and to support their problem solving, recording and expressive skills. For example, in Key Stage 1 learners continue their journey with the BlueBots, using them more precisely. They learn how to programme a BlueBot to reach a destination and begin to be able to debug when something does not work out the way they imagined. Using laptops, the learners are given opportunities to improve their mouse / touchpad control and learn how to log on and off a computer using their own username and password. They also learn about online safety and what to do if they encounter something which makes them feel uncomfortable as well as what personal information is and why it is important not to share it with someone on the internet. As their knowledge and skills build, coding progresses from programming Bluebots and completing unplugged activities, onto computer-based programming where learners develop their understanding of algorithms and programming in a variety of ways.

In Key Stage 2, our learners extend their knowledge of the use of computing for communication, investigation and programming and work to understand how to communicate safely. Learners continue on their coding journey, progressing through the key stage from learning to design, write and debug programs, to block coding and cracking codes. As they progress through KS2, their digital literacy skills are also increasingly combined with subjects across the curriculum. An example of this is in PSHE, where learners are taught how to take and manipulate pictures, showing them that what they view in the media or on websites is not always accurate. Learners continue to be taught about online safety throughout each year of Key Stage 2.

Throughout our Computing curriculum, we aim for our learners to be digitally literate and competent end-users of technology. Alongside this, we hope for the learners to develop creativity, resilience and problem-solving and critical thinking skills. In all units of work, we teach our learners to identify how technology is used in the real world, therefore seeing its purpose and importance in their lives. As we are in a rapidly changing world, with ever-changing technology, we also recognise the need to have a constantly evolving computing curriculum. Therefore, our long-term map will be reviewed annually in line with the latest curriculum guidance and advances in technology.

Our current long-term plan can be viewed below: