Computing at Ringwood Junior School
We envision a dynamic and inclusive computing curriculum that sparks curiosity, nurtures computational thinking, and inspires a lifelong love of programming and technology use in our pupils. Through careful examination of skillfully crafted programming and IT projects and enough time to create meaningful digital artefacts, we aim to empower every child to become a confident and informed problem-solver, equipped to tackle real-world computing challenges. Our dedicated staff foster a challenging yet supportive and collaborative environment where every pupil can thrive, regardless of their background, ability, or gender. We believe that by fostering a deep understanding of computing, we are preparing our children to be informed global citizens, ready to make a positive digital impact on our world." But what does this statement really mean for the children at Ringwood Junior School?
Computing has three parts: computing science, which is about how technology works; information technology (IT), which is about using technology to achieve a goal; and digital literacy, which is about having the skills we need to thrive and stay safe in a digital world.
By the time pupils leave Ringwood Junior School, they will be able to programme creatively using sequence, repetition, conditional selection, and simple variables. The more capable will start to use simple procedures and boolean expressions. Pupils will be able to word process, use a spreadsheet, desktop publish, and present their ideas creatively. They will know about a variety of safety issues and how to stay safe online.
Computing science is a subject in its own right; however, fundamental to information technology and digital literacy is the need to empower pupils to be able to use technology within the wider curriculum.
Computing is taught to all pupils, and we are careful to make sure that if pupils are removed for remedial Maths or literacy, this only impacts their computing as much as other subjects. In the wider world outside the school, computing has a history of misogyny, and we are careful that this is not perpetuated at this school. Lazy beliefs such as “Boys are better at technology” are firmly debunked.
Computing has its own set of critical thinking tools called computational thinking.
Algorithmic thinking -Thinking about the steps and order in which a task is completed. Complexity in algorithmic thinking is developed through repetition, selection, and the use of variables in programming.
Decomposition -Breaking a problem into smaller chunks to solve separately. Decomposition is used in programming and in the planning stage of information technology.
Generalisation -Thinking how an idea used for one purpose might be repurposed to achieve a different goal. Generalisation is used in programming, IT, and online safety.
Pupils at this school have plenty of opportunity to develop their computational thinking skills.
Alongside computational thinking skills, computing fosters perseverance, communication skills, and evaluation skills while fostering the ability to handle ambiguity. At this school, we work within the problem solving framework shown below.
Led by an international subject expert
Mr. Bagge, computing lead and Hampshire computing inspector, teaches the more complex computing science, and 2023-2024 he will be teaching information technology, ensuring that pupils benefit from the latest research and innovation. He has published many works on teaching primary programming and his latest work can be found https://www.amazon.co.uk/Teaching-Primary-Programming-Scratch-Teacher/dp/1915054206/ He worked on the national curriculum for computing and advises internationally. Online safety is taught in conjunction with PHSE by class teachers.
Computing is constantly developing. We are currently thinking about how and what we might teach about AI. The methodology for teaching programming has developed over time and continues to develop as new research becomes available. The school now follows a careful introduction to new concepts away from programming to reduce cognitive load, followed by PRIMM (Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify, and Make) in years 4, 5 & 6. We have found this to yield the greatest independence and creativity for the greatest number of pupils of all abilities. It is not enough for pupils to just know about concepts such as conditional selection; they should be able to use them creatively in their own work. Where pupils are struggling, we often make use of Parsons problems to provide another layer of scaffolding before PRIMM. Assessment consists of assessing predictions, investigation questions, and code modifying written tasks in the PRIMM process, combined with assessing pupils ability to programme independently in the independent make task.
Computing fosters collaboration through paired programming in the early stages of PRIMM and small group STEM project work.
In Information technology and developing key digital literacy knowledge, the school is starting to use retrieval practise to ensure that key knowledge has been learned from week to week. Where time permits, longer, integrated independent IT projects are also assessed to determine how well pupils can use technology in the wider curriculum.
We would ask parents to avoid the following things as much as possible, as they tend to be counterproductive.
My child is much better at computing than me. Many children develop low level digital literacy skills by being unafraid to tackle technology; however, that does not indicate a high level of understanding. Being told repeatedly that they are good at something without real, concrete evidence to support this can lead some children to believe that they don’t need to try.
Encouraging others to complete your technology task. Children learn by example. If you demonstrate helplessness with technology, it can transfer to your children through example. Where one parent demonstrates helplessness with technology, other family members of the same gender often demonstrate the same helplessness or consider technology to be too hard for them.
Questions or suggestions
If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact Mr. Bagge via the school office.
Computing leader Ringwood Junior School