Computing at Ark Blacklands provides children with the vital computing skills they will need for the digital world. It helps them to value and understand the importance of technology and how it is used, gives them the skills to research and communicate ideas, and teaches them to programme for different purposes. Online safety is embedded through the curriculum to ensure children develop responsible attitudes towards digital life, preparing them for the 21st Century.
The computing curriculum at Ark Blacklands has been developed and adapted to fit the needs of the children and the whole school curriculum. To make the curriculum bespoke and to support its implementation, training has been provided to staff to enable each of them to become leaders of computing.
Children’s discovery of world of technology begins in the Early Years where they are provided with regular access to a range of devices in the learning environment. Children are taught to recognise that technology is used in places such as homes and schools and they have opportunities to select and use technology for different purposes.
Following a large investment in IT infrastructure and hardware, including the purchase of three trolleys of 30 laptop devices, pupils from year 1 to year 6 now have regular access to in-class computing at least once a week.
From KS1, children begin to learn the key skills needed to be computer literate. In Year 1, they begin by learning how to navigate, explore, and use a computer for different purposes. Moving into Year 2, the children grow the skills needed to find and research information, present and communicate information and ideas using Office programs, and to code simple programs.
Throughout KS2, the children continue to build their skills across the key areas of the Ark Blacklands computing curriculum so that they leave us as responsible, competent, and digitally literate users of technology.
Pupils in UKS2 are also given opportunities to become Computing Ambassadors – supporting teachers and younger pupils to be successful in their computing lessons.
The skills developed in the computing curriculum are embedded throughout the wider curriculum to create cross-curricular links. This ranges from using online manipulatives in maths and writing poetry using Word, to using the internet to learn more about an aspect of topic and utilising Excel to present scientific data.
From Early Years right through to Year 6, online safety is a critical component of the children’s computing education. Thus, each term the children learn about an aspect of online safety that is built upon year on year.
Developing Computing Skills
Our Computing curriculum supports pupils to develop knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- understanding the importance of technology,
- researching and communicating information and ideas,
- programming for different purposes,
- online safety.
Further information about our computing curriculum can be found here:
By the time the children leave us in Year 6 to further their education at secondary school, all children will have a good level of computer literacy, knowing how to access files and navigate in the ever-expanding digital world.
In addition, we want children to learn the skills of computer science, knowing how the technology they use works and attempt to build it themselves. It is important that children know how to make the very best of the future that is quite literally at their fingertips.
At Ark Blacklands, online safety is at the forefront of our computing curriculum. To prepare children to access the online world, we utilise the ‘Education for a Connected World’ document that provides a framework to equip children for digital life. Across the year, children focus on six aspects of online safety in their computing lessons. These include:
- Privacy and security
- Managing online information
- Copyright and ownership
- Online relationships
- Online bullying
- Online reputation
Online safety is also covered in the PSHE & RSE curriculum. During the year, the children explore self-image and identity, and health, wellbeing and lifestyle.
To really emphasise the importance of online safety to the children, we also run an online safety week and hold online safety assemblies throughout the year.
Further information about our online safety curriculum can be found here:
Resources for parents and carers regarding online safety can be found here:
We value technology in the classroom, and every classroom has an interactive whiteboard which Class Teachers use to make learning visual and exciting. We have many other resources in school to develop children's computing and digital literacy skills. Currently, we utilise:
- three mobile suites of laptops - 90 in total - each with touchscreen capability;
- two iPads available for staff and children to use in EYFS classes;
- a set of floor robots (beebots) to develop programming and debugging skills;
- a set of data loggers to collect and analyse information;
- a range of other ICT resources, such as digital voice recorders and programmes to support SEND.
This year we have used our 60 new laptops with touchscreens to deliver an exciting computing curriculum in years 1 to 6, as well as enhance the wider curriculum.
The Digital Strategy is an Ark Schools network wide initiative to support children in Year 3 upwards with accessing ongoing learning away from school. This is achieved through the loan of a device for their Key Stage Two years at primary school.
This device is not for school use or for entertainment; it is a device specifically provided for learning at home. As well as being used for practice and skills development, it will enable learning to continue in the event of further disruption for whatever reason.
Parents are required to sign a Home School Agreement and children receive a Digital Passport setting how they use the device along with their usernames and passwords - both of which can be found here:
When children reach Year 5, they have the opportunity to showcase their computing prowess by becoming volunteering to become a computing ambassador. As computing ambassadors, these children are responsible for supporting children and teachers in KS1 classes with their computing lessons. For the year 2021/22, our computing ambassadors can be seen here: