The Curriculum Design
The Approach- Coherence and flexibility
The Teach Computing Curriculum is structured in units. For these units to be coherent, the lessons within a unit must be taught in order. However, across a year group, the units themselves do not need to be taught in order, with the exception of ‘Programming’ units, where concepts and skills rely on prior learning and experiences.
The Teach Computing Curriculum uses the National Centre for Computing Education’s computing taxonomy to ensure comprehensive coverage of the subject. This has been developed through a thorough review of the KS1–4 computing programme of study, and the GCSE and A level computer science specifications across all awarding bodies. All learning outcomes can be described through a high-level taxonomy of ten strands, ordered alphabetically as follows:
- Algorithms — Be able to comprehend, design, create, and evaluate algorithms
- Computer networks — Understand how networks can be used to retrieve and share information, and how they come with associated risks
- Computer systems — Understand what a computer is, and how its constituent parts function together as a whole
- Creating media — Select and create a range of media including text, images, sounds, and video
- Data and information — Understand how data is stored, organised, and used to represent real-world artefacts and scenarios
- Design and development — Understand the activities involved in planning, creating, and evaluating computing artefacts
- Effective use of tools — Use software tools to support computing work
- Impact of technology — Understand how individuals, systems, and society as a whole interact with computer systems
- Programming — Create software to allow computers to solve problems
- Safety and security — Understand risks when using technology, and how to protect individuals and systems
The taxonomy provides categories and an organised view of content to encapsulate the discipline of computing. Whilst all strands are present at all phases, they are not always taught explicitly.
The units for key stages 1 and 2 are based on a spiral curriculum. This means that each of the themes is revisited regularly (at least once in each year group), and pupils revisit each theme through a new unit that consolidates and builds on prior learning within that theme.
This style of curriculum design reduces the amount of knowledge lost through forgetting, as topics are revisited yearly. It also ensures that connections are made even if different teachers are teaching the units within a theme in consecutive years.
The Teach Computing Curriculum acknowledges that physical computing plays an important role in modern pedagogical approaches in computing, both as a tool to engage pupils and as a strategy to develop pupils’ understanding in more creative ways. Additionally, physical computing supports and engages a diverse range of pupils in tangible and challenging tasks.
The physical computing units in the Teach Computing Curriculum are:
- Year 5 – Selection in physical computing, which uses a Crumble controller
- Year 6 – Sensing, which uses a micro:bit
The unit overviews for each unit show the links between the content of the lessons and the national curriculum and Education for a Connected World framework. These references have been provided to show where aspects relating to online safety, or digital citizenship, are covered within the Teach Computing Curriculum. Not all of the objectives in the Education for a Connected World framework are covered in the Teach Computing Curriculum, as some are better suited to personal, social, health, and economic (PSHE) education; spiritual, moral, social, and cultural (SMSC) development; and citizenship. However, the coverage required for the computing national curriculum is provided.
As a school, we feel online safety is very important and we cover more objectives, in class during PSHE. These objectives are taken from Project Evolve which allows teachers to personalise the content for their class.