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Alexandra Primary School


Why is computing important?

Computing is a subject in the National Curriculum. Through programming, children learn a unique way of thinking: computational thinking.  Through information technology, children create their own media and deepen their data and information knowledge.  Through digital literacy, children learn how to use technology positively and safely and also learn about computer systems and networks around us.  All together, this means that children can both solve problems and start to understand the ‘back room’ of technology. 

Rooted in Knowledge

Planning for computing is based on the National Centre for Computing Education resources.  Computing is taught throughout the year on a weekly basis.  Each year starts with a unit about computing systems and networks, followed by two units in which children are taught how to create different kinds of media.  A data and information unit and then two programming units complete the year.  

Knowledge organisers are used to cement the core knowledge children will carry with them.  These particularly emphasise core vocabulary which will be revisited over and over again throughout a child’s primary education.  Therefore, each time a core concept such as ‘algorithm’ is learned about in a different context, the children’s mental models of these concepts develop.

Computing offers children with SEND unique opportunities.  For example, coding is a predictable and safe environment in which children can experiment with ideas.  This may particularly appeal to children who are neurodiverse.  Devices such as talking tins and dictation apps can give children opportunities for communication when speaking directly to an adult or peer may be challenging.  Dictation apps offer excellent support for children with dyslexia. 

We aim for children to connect with our computing curriculum by:

  • seeing diverse important figures in computing highlighted
  • creating their own media and code and thereby being computer programmers / creators themselves
  • ensuring computing lessons are accessible to all
  • knowing important local figures, such as Tim Berners Lee
  • being highly aware of their rights and responsibilities

For children who are disadvantaged, it is particularly important to secure computing knowledge during the primary years.  For example, to avoid being misled by disinformation, and to have a fluency with using a computer which is critical in the workplace. 

Enriched by Experience

Children experience both using technology and creating media.  We aim for children to have the right devices to maximise the learning goals, from floor robots and talking tins in EYFS to the right cloud based app for music composition.  In this way, children experience using and understanding a wide variety of device, such as beebots, talking tins, iPads, chromebooks, chromeboxes, data loggers and crumbles.  When learning is achieved more effectively through unplugged activities, children learn without devices - this may look like making a network using skipping ropes.  Importantly, children’s experiences at home are linked.  Children learn more about computer systems around them at home, thereby becoming more empowered in using them. 

How is learning sequenced?

Learning is sequenced using the structure provided by the National Centre for Computing Education resources.  Teachers ensure that prior knowledge is activated and built upon by, for example, retrieving what was learned about networks in year three when studying them in year four.

Design and technology in the early years

During the EYFS children recognise that technology is used for particular purposes.  For example, they may have learned how to take photographs on an iPad, but need to be taught what a photograph is, that they need to ask someone’s permission before taking their photo, what the purpose of a photograph is and how they are used to communicate.  Children learn to create content rather than only consume it.  In the Early Years, this looks like retelling a story on video or recorded audio, creating digital images, and controlling devices such as floor robots.  They learn social skills and rules regarding using devices. 

Technology is also used to maximise the teaching of e.g. reading, writing, art, handwriting, science, music, maths and so on. 

Overview of learning in KS1 & KS2

Year group

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Year 1

Computing systems and networks - IT around us

Media - Digital painting

Media - Digital writing

Data and information - Grouping data

Programming A - moving a robot

Programming B - programming animations

Year 2

Computing systems and networks - IT around us

Media - Digital photography

Media - Making music

Data and information - pictograms

Programming A - robot algorithms

Programming B - quizzes

Year 3

Computing systems and networks - connecting computers

Media - Animation

Media - Desktop publishing

Data and information - branching databases

Programming A - sequence in music

Programming B - events and actions

Year 4

Computing systems and networks - the internet

Media - Audio editing

Media - Photo editing

Data and information - data logging

Programming A - repetition in shapes

Programming B - repetition in games

Year 5


Computing systems and networks - sharing information

Media - Vector drawing

Media - Video editing

Data and information - flat file databases

Programming A - selection in physical computing

Programming B - selection in quizzes

Year 6

Computing systems and networks - communication

Media - 3D modelling

Media - Web page creation

Data and information - spreadsheets

Programming A - variables in games

Programming B - sensing

Meaningful links are made to other subject areas, particularly the strong links between data handling, science and mathematics.

Assessment and Monitoring

Teachers assess children’s understanding throughout lessons.  Children’s responses to questions (checking for understanding, whole class response to multiple choice questions, using show-me whiteboards, through class discussion) and observations made during independent practice give the teacher information about the child’s understanding, how they are progressing towards the objectives and where further challenge is appropriate.  Retrieval flashbacks give the class teacher information about what has been retained longer term.

Assessment is used to inform future lessons, ensuring children are supported and challenged appropriately.  At the end of a unit, children’s knowledge is assessed through written and discussion based assessment, giving them the opportunity to reflect on their knowledge of the unit as a whole.

Computing is monitored through a variety of strategies, including: planning and book scrutiny, lesson observations and pupil voice activities.