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Reflections on the Computing Curriculum for England 

Outstanding Computing in Schools

Computational Thinking

Assessment of Computing

Using Scratch to Learn Programming Concepts




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The Computing Curriculum

In the most recent changes to the National Curriculum of England introduced in September 2014, ICT as a subject has been renamed computing.  This represents a shift in emphasis, with tighter focus on computer science.  As there are many areas of people’s everyday lives that require engagement with information and communication technologies (ICTs), schools are also expected to use ICT across the whole school curriculum to enhance teaching and learning where appropriate.

For this reason, computing and ICT now refer to two distinct (and at the same time overlapping) areas of learning in schools.  As far as this website is concerned, computing is mainly considered a discrete subject, whereas ICT is cross-curricular, permeating all subjects.

There are three main strands to the new computing curriculum:

Computer science (CS) – how computers work and how to write algorithms and solve problems to eventually create a computer program.  This includes the craft of coding, from KS1 onwards – floor and screen turtles at KS1 to Scratch and Python at KS2.  As learners move through KS3 and KS4, they learn more programming languages.

Information technology (IT) – how data is represented and managed on computers.  As well as standard applications such as PowerPoint, Word or Excel, IT increasingly encompasses so-called Web 2.0 tools such as Google Docs, blogs and wikis.  All Web 2.0 tools are designed to facilitate greater interaction and collaboration online.

Digital literacy (DL) – how to search for, understand and interact with digital information, using it safely and appropriately.  This covers topics such as e-safety, effective online searches and netiquette.

As with the previous program of study, computing avoids a purely skills-based curriculum.  After all, technology is constantly evolving.  The computing curriculum therefore avoids specific reference to particular hardware, software or skills; all of this is subject to change.  Ultimately, learners need a deep knowledge and understanding of the role that technologies may play in their own and others’ lives as well as an understanding of how they are designed and created.  In short, we want learners to become creators rather than just passive consumers of technologies.


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