Having read about the setting of the school, the farm, the rural studies curriculum, the riding and other sports opportunities, you would be forgiven for wondering whether the school is engaged in the digital age. The answer is emphatically “Yes”.
The children learn computing from Year 2 onwards. Being able to use a computer is no longer sufficient; a capability in programming and understanding of the logic structures underlying software programs is of ever greater and wider relevance. So, whilst a third of the syllabus covers the skills needed to use computers, about two thirds is devoted to the computer science aspects of computing, including coding.
In coding we use predominantly Blockly. This was developed by Google to make Java script programming more accessible to new programmers and so enable them to understand the fundamentals of programming. All the children take part in the annual International Hour of Code.
In Years 2-4 we cover the more traditional ICT focus on efficient use of computer programmes, in particular touch-typing, word processing and creating presentations, emailing, visual learning platforms and photography. We tie the teaching into the e-safety aspects of the PHSE curriculum. In Year 5 we focus on internet skills. In Year 6 the children write, prepare, direct and produce their own spoof “advertisements” (effectively mini-plays on camera) which are then shown before the annual Leavers’ play. Year 7 children take part in the BBC School Report News day, creating and producing their own 5 minute new bulletin. Year 8 children look at programming in more detail using a variety of microcomputers and computer language, including the BBC Micro:bit using Blockly, Java or Python; the Raspberry Pi using Python; or the Espurino board, starting with Blockly and then Java.
We also run a weekly Coding Club, open to all children from Year 2. The Club is an exploration of the computer science world which is very much led by the children. They bring items and apps which they are working on or would like to discuss with each other.
And, of course, we use interactive whiteboards and projectors throughout the school to deliver teaching material in a more exciting and impactful way.
Will Grant, Head of Computing