Why schools must not ignore Computing

teacher ignore computing

Amidst a global pandemic due to COVID-19 now, more than ever, the need to equip our pupils and, crucially, our teachers with the skills to communicate, collaborate, express ideas and learn using digital tools and technologies is pressingly obvious.

The National Curriculum for Computing was launched in England in 2014 with a key aim of ensuring that all pupils “are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology”. Yet, in 2020, many schools were already woefully behind in implementing the National Curriculum and, during the pandemic, it became obvious that many teachers were severely lacking in these areas themselves.

The introduction of the 2020 Ofsted Framework for Inspection and the ominous threat of Computing Deep Dives galvinised many into action early in the year. A welcome push in my view to broaden curriculum focus. School closures put paid to that threat but, with them, came the realisation that, in many settings, the technology and skills required to continue teaching and learning outside of the classroom were simply not there.

The winners in education during these difficult times have been those that were already prepared for remote learning with infrastructure, technology and skills. The losers – our children.

I’ve been supporting schools with computing curricula, resources, teaching and training since 2014. I deal with the most progressive of schools. Those that understand the need for their children to be equipped with the knowledge, understanding and skills to participate, live and learn in an increasingly digital world. Their children will thrive. But I worry about the children left behind. Those who don’t benefit from teachers and leaders with the determination and commitment to provide a robust computing education. Those who don’t appreciate that technology has the potential to transform teaching and learning in their schools and choose to put computing on the back burner again. To look at another time. When Ofsted say they’re going to.

Thousands of children in England have missed out on around six months of education. When they return to school, the focus is likely to be on catching up with literacy and numeracy. It is imperative that Computing is not neglected. As the National Curriculum points out “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.” With the ongoing threat of closures due to local lockdowns, potential pupil/staff absences for sickness or self-isolation, social distancing measures and a myriad of other potential disruptions to the education system – schools must rise to the challenge and put learning with and about technology firmly at the forefront of their planning. Starting right now.

Computing Home Learning Resources

computing home learning
Free, engaging, activities for learning computing at home

At iCompute we recognise the huge impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had on school communities and learning and we want to help. In situations such as these the power of digital home learning becomes increasingly evident – and important.

We are passionate about preparing children for living in the modern digital world. We teach children about and with technology. We want to encourage as many children as possible to engage with computing around the world and have created a set of home learning resources to support schools, parents and pupils continue to learn at home no matter where they are.

Created by our author, a primary computer science master teacher, we have fantastic, engaging, resources and activities suitable for children aged 4-11.

They are split into Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11). Key Stage 1 activities are for younger children learning with their families and are computing unplugged – i.e. you do not need computers or devices.

KS1 computing home learning
Learning Together Computing Home Learning Activities (Ages 5-7)

Our Key Stage 2 activities are online step-by-step interactive tutorials teaching coding using a variety of free programming languages. They are designed for children to use on their own and to use them you need computers/devices with access to the Internet.

KS2 computing home learning
Step-by-step, interactive, online coding tutorials (Ages 7-11)

What all activities have in common is that they are underpinned by developing computational thinking: the fundamental principles of computer science. By engaging with them, children will understand and design algorithms, improve problem solving skills, use logical reasoning and learn how to code.

We hope you enjoy the resources and encourage you to share them so that children everywhere can catch up on computing and keep up – ready for going back to school!

Visit our website for more information about highly acclaimed series of primary computing schemes of work, computing curriculum and resources at www.icompute-uk.com

Ofsted Inspection Framework: for Computing Subject Leaders

Inspecting Computing

The new Ofsted Inspection Framework [3] came into effect in September 2019.  With the emphasis on ‘offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep’, here I take a look at its implications for Computing Subject Leaders.

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