As outlined in our earlier article, “Computing and the new Ofsted inspection framework”, we examined some of the changes within the latest inspection framework. We also visited Eleanor Haines and Satya Maremanda, computing coordinators at Wembley Primary School (WPS), London, to find out about their experiences of a recent inspection under the new framework. Their Ofsted report (pg. 2) stated that the computing curriculum was “well thought out” and praised the school for enabling Year 6 pupils to “use their knowledge of computing to design their own games”. This article focuses on wider curriculum, online safety, enrichment and meeting the inspectors, whilst curriculum delivery, progression and scaffolding, are discussed in our previous article.
Wider curriculum, including online safety and enrichment activities
Within WPS, time is spent in other curriculum subjects revisiting various key skills and an inset session was recently held to identify appropriate cross curricular links. Whilst this provides further opportunities for pupils to use technology in school, the coordinators were keen to highlight the importance of focusing on the appropriate use of technology, rather than just using it for the sake of it. The views of both pupils and parents on the computing curriculum and technology usage in school are regularly sought and acted upon accordingly.
Online safety content is predominantly delivered within computing lessons, with a focus at the start of every academic year on the school’s acceptable use policy (AUP). At the beginning of every lesson, an online safety related scenario, which is linked to the topic being studied, is discussed with the class. Scenarios are also used to discuss specific online safety incidents should they occur. Satya and Eleanor also discussed how online safety is discussed with parents, including how the latest technology is being used by pupils and the risks involved, during a range of events throughout the academic year, such as parent information workshops, rather than holding dedicated events, which can be poorly attended.
Online safety scenario, adapted from LGFL’s Digital Safety Cards
In order to enrich the curriculum, computing clubs are held for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils, which are well attended and provide an opportunity for all pupils to use the school’s technology away from the formal classroom environment. Occasional enrichment days are also held, which included a recent event focusing on film making. WPS wish to investigate trips related to computing, although the coordinators emphasised the need for a trip to have a clear purpose and clear curriculum links.
Meeting the inspectors
Satya and Eleanor outlined how the inspectors were supportive and keen to find out more about computing. They wanted to see clear endpoints in pupils’ learning identified, which included example programs, either on the computer or printed. Inspectors were also keen to discuss progression within the school, including asking teachers why a certain lesson was being taught at that point in the academic year, along with what had been taught previously and what was being delivered next.
Whilst extensive subject leader documentation has been produced, the computing coordinators outlined that the inspectors appeared to be more interested in what was happening within the classroom, rather than examining extensive paperwork or speaking with SLT. Safeguarding, including online safety, was discussed, along with discussions around teachers’ workload and professional development opportunities.
Subject leads had clearly documented the next steps in the development of their subject and were able to discuss this at length with the inspectors. In particular, within computing, WPS wishes to develop the following:
- Assessment - WPS has an end of term project within each unit of their scheme of work, which includes example outcomes from a range of varying abilities. Children's work is automatically saved when using the majority of applications within the school and evidence is therefore available of all pupils’ work. The computing coordinators are currently looking at possible strategies to enable a more detailed tracking of skills, which will be derived from their curriculum map, although they are extremely conscious of the demands this could place on teachers’ workload.
- Review of non-programming units - Satya and Eleanor outlined how they are pleased with how they have developed the programming units within their school, although they wish to review some of the applications and the associated skills taught within non programming units. In particular, they wish to ensure the correct vocabulary is used throughout and is complemented through further knowledge organisers.
- Use of digital leaders - in order to provide additional support to teachers in the classroom, the coordinators are examining how digital leaders could be pre-taught programming activities undertaken in lessons, which would then allow them to support their peers within the classroom. However, it is important this group still have the opportunity to develop their own computing knowledge within school.
Finally, the coordinators emphasised the importance of not trying to develop the subject area in isolation but engaging with the wider community; particularly attending CAS community and local network meetings.
Find out more in our previous article on curriculum delivery, progression and scaffolding.
Disclaimer - the information outlined in this article does not reflect the official views of Ofsted, Computing at School (CAS), or the authors, is subject to change and should be used for guidance only.