In 2014 the Government introduced the new Computing Curriculum. This was following a report by the Royal Society that found students were being taught how to use computer programs but not how the programs actually worked or the computational procedures they followed. As of 2014, from the age of five, students would not only be taught a combination of IT and Digital Literacy (which covered much of the previous ICT curriculum) but now also Computer Science.
This provided many challenges, particularly for teachers who weren't taught this subject at school (99% of us...) Many were understandably intimidated by the idea of teaching CS principles such as sequence, selection, repetition and algorithms. However, the curriculum did present an exciting opportunity for students to get to grips with some of these ideas from a young age, providing them with skills that could be invaluable by the time they grow up - a reception student in 2014 would graduate in 2030…
Since 2014, we at Britannia Education Trust have tried to deliver the Computing Curriculum using various strategies: using shared laptop trolleys, buying expensive kit and paying for 'box-ready' Computing schemes of work. It has not always been easy and we have faced many challenges along the way; challenges such as keeping staff fully trained and motivated, ensuring lessons are exciting and relevant, assessing the students' ability, storing evidence of their learning and maintaining equipment and software.
We have now decided to design our own 'Evolving Computing Curriculum' by selecting from the wealth of exciting tools that are available, but keeping it aligned with the Programmes of Study provided by the DfE. The main aim of this curriculum is to make the learning fun for both students and teachers as we believe that students learn best when they are motivated and engaged in their learning. Another aim is to keep the content up to date - unlike some other subjects whose content changes very little over time, Computing units can become outdated incredibly quickly, which is why we will regularly review the content to ensure that it is up-to-date and relevant, introducing new units where necessary.
This curriculum will give students experience using a wide range of software and equipment which we hope will give them the confidence to approach and explore any new software they encounter in the future. We want students to show creativity during Computing lessons rather than just following a set of instructions; we want them to be creators of digital content rather than just consumers; and we want them to solve meaningful problems through their use of technology. We hope that students will leave our trust with the desire and motivation to go on and study Computing in more depth throughout the rest of their education and perhaps even go on to use these skills to benefit society.