At Orchard Park Community Primary School, our Computing curriculum allows pupils to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills through open-ended explorations. It is a key goal for our pupils to understand how important digital literacy is to many aspects of their lives. By becoming technologically literate, our pupils will be more able to engage successfully in modern life.
The computing curriculum enables pupils to understand the different layers of computing. Computing involves analysing data, writing and debugging computer programs, discovering new technologies to solve problems, and developing basic technology skills. In our current world, it is also important for children to safely access computer information. As our pupils become more exposed to technology, it is critical that they be aware of their digital footprints, and the real-life consequences of their online actions.
We want our pupils at Orchard Park to enhance their basic computing skills in order to solve problems; recognise that data can be explored, understood, and studied through modelling; and develop analytical problem solving skills. We also aim for each child to gain proficiency in algorithmic thinking through engaging in goal-oriented computing tasks.
Cambridge is world-renowned as a global centre for the development of science and technology. Our pupils are especially lucky to be within a five minute drive of the Cambridge Science Park. This proximity allows our pupils to engage with local computer scientists. In this way, Orchard Park takes full advantage of the experts in our community. These diverse professionals will inspire our pupils, and help them to recognise how computing is important not only for technological development, but for their local community.
Our school recognises the need for gender equality in the computer technology industry. It is a key goal of every teacher at Orchard Park to work towards actively deconstructing the societal barriers that face many of our pupils. This means not only teaching technical content, but also providing our pupils with a diverse group of scientific role models. By bringing in local community members, our pupils will be able to see themselves in our current computer scientists. It is our hope that this unique opportunity opens aspirational doors for our pupils, especially our female pupils and pupils of colour, and leads every pupil to dream big.
Computing at Orchard Park closely follows the National Curriculum as well as the broad topics covered half-termly in each year group. This cross-curricular teaching enables pupils to have purposeful, driven lessons that allow them to explore one main topic across a variety of contexts. In particular, the Computing curriculum provides pupils the ability to break down and analyse given information and synthesise meaningful interpretations. Our curriculum also allows pupils the opportunity to critically consider a given problem and be expected to determine the necessary logical steps to create a solution.
Over the course of the year, pupils will engage in learning across four aims under the main Computing title. These skills relate to: handling data, programming, multimedia, basic skills and technology in our lives, as well as e-safety. By the end of each year, pupils will be able to discuss what they have learned under each context. Pupils will be able to achieve this goal by participating in goal-oriented lessons, using their computing skills to dive into challenging computing tasks, and regular self-evaluations of their learning progress. Every half-term each student will be explicitly taught an e-safety lesson. E-safety is also regularly brought up during individual lessons throughout a half-term for pupils to recognise its continued importance.
By spending time solving problems, our pupils will develop necessary life skills such as patience, determination, resilience, an appreciation and ability to be inquisitive, as well as learning to utilise both creative and systematic ways of thinking. Central to the Computing curriculum is a way of thinking, through which our pupils will apply mathematical skills creatively in a variety of contexts. By working both independently and in groups, a balance of teamwork skills and self-reliance will be emphasised.
Over the course of learning in EYFS, Key Stage 1, and Key Stage 2 pupils will have been exposed and given the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills based on the analysis of real world data. Each year group’s curriculum builds upon the knowledge of the previous year. This allows pupils to work towards a deep knowledge of the many facets of computing. As pupils move into the next key stages, they will not only be ready for more in-depth computing, but will also have gained invaluable and generally applicable skills that will allow them to grow and flourish as independent thinkers. Independent thinkers are those that challenge the information that they are exposed to and develop their own opinion on it based on logical processes. This is what we hope to accomplish; that children do not merely accept the world as it is but rather understand the world around them actively through the lens of logical and creative thinking. Thus our pupils are expected to not merely receive knowledge from others, but actively participate in the creation of knowledge.