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Guidance Notes

National Curriculum Computing (2014)

CAS and Naace have released some notes for primary teachers on the new programmes of study.

Guidance for ITT (Primary)

These notes/advice relate to the training of all teachers at key stage 1 and key stage 2. Teacher trainers of specialist Computing teachers should refer to the Teaching Agency publication Subject Knowledge requirements for entry into computer science teacher training.

The National Curriculum for Computing (2014) has three aspects: 

"At the core of computing is the science and engineering discipline of computer science, in which pupils are taught how digital systems work, how they are designed and programmed, and the fundamental principles of information and computation. Building on this core, computing equips pupils to apply information technology to create products and solutions. A computing education also ensures that pupils become digitally literate"

Digital Literacy; Information Technology; and Computer Science should normally be integrated in the presentation of the subject in primary teacher training and classroom teaching.

(1)  The subject knowledge and expertise required by all teachers to teach the subject includes: 
[This will be the collection of resources being developed by the expert group]

The subject content requires clear mapping from Early Years through to undergraduate study. Primary ITE should cover the curriculum from Early Years to Key Stage 2 with some experience of the Key Stage curriculum.

(2)  The subject knowledge to be taught in the HEI should enable the trainees to learn about and practise the subject in their placements:

a.     overview of the subject Early Years to undergraduate;

b.     overview of the curriculum knowledge for early years, key stage 1 and key stage 2;

c.     knowledge of the curriculum vocabulary;

d.     understanding of the pedagogy of the subject (including progression, continuity and computational thinking); and

e.     resources for practising the subject when on placement.

The HEI should provide personalised/individualised support to meet any short comings in the abilities, experience or potential experience of the trainee, using a tool such as the University of Roehampton's Audit.

(3)  The subject knowledge to be gained during placement should ensure that all trainees gain a good experience independent of the context of their training and be focussed upon:

a.     school provided opportunities to experience teaching the curriculum;

b.     [where necessary] HEI specified activities to be integrated into the teaching and experience of the trainee’s pupils;

c.     [where necessary] the use of resources provided by the HEI;

d.     an experience of technology to enhance learning in other subjects of the curriculum (TEL);

(4)  In support of the initial teacher training with regard to Computing is a wide range of stakeholders:

"It is good practice that there should be an identified reason, made explicit to the pupils, for why they are learning any particular thing. To support this it is important that learning should have a context. In computing it is also important that opportunities are sought to include more than one of the elements (CS, IT, DL) where possible, though recognising this may not always be possible.

The computing teacher should always remember that these three important things should underpin their teaching.

1.      Give the work a context.  Set the activities within a problem/challenge that the pupils can relate to, so they can see what the bigger picture is.  Then relate this known context to the less familiar 'real world' context, to help them see what the links are.

2.      Always discuss the reasons why something should be learned.  Help pupils answer the question 'what is the point?'

3.      Show, where possible, the different elements of CS, IT and DL that apply in the context.

As an illustration, the PoS asks that pupils are taught about how search engines find and store data.  The context is likely to be about finding relevant information to help with a problem, the point is that knowing this can make them better at searching and thus at solving the problem (IT).  The link can then be made to the wider context of the need for efficiency in finding information for organisations and to discussion of ethics when helping the pupils understand that ranking is based on the user's profile as well as the site's Page Rank, or equivalent (DL).

It is important that these specifications for the training of all teachers are moderate and practicable, reflecting the current digital literacy and knowledge of Computing of the trainee cohort. They do not have the same demands and requirements as those associated with the training of specialist teachers in Computing.

Teaching Agency Computing National Curriculum Expert Group

[Notes by John Woollard, 10i13, amended Mark Dorling and MGB, 14ii13]

The presentation below, from PELeCon 2013, outlines the approach adopted at the University of Roehampton: 

Teaching to Learn  (FutureLearn)

With the introduction of new subject, Computing, to schools in September 2014, many schools are considering how to best prepare their staff for this change. This Open Online Course aims to prepare teachers to deliver the new curriculum effectively to children in years 5,6,7 and 8.

With a mixture of subject knowledge and pedagogical advice, this course is aimed at both ICT specialists and Primary teaching non-specialists. Expert ‘Master Teachers’ from Computing at School have designed the course to make sure that teachers have the most up-to-date information which they can take into their classrooms and teach great Computing lessons.

Teaching computing - Part 1