Draft National Curriculum for ‘Computing’

As of February 2013 the new National Curriculum document shows ICT as no longer a subject as it is replaced by Computing, which is compulsory across Key Stages 1-4.

Computing (as announced in the Draft Curriculum documentation, Feb 2013)

Purpose of study
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through computational thinking. It develops and requires logical thinking and precision. It combines creativity with rigour: pupils apply underlying principles to understand real-world systems, and to create purposeful and usable artefacts. More broadly, it provides a lens through which to understand both natural and artificial systems, and has substantial links with the teaching of mathematics, science, and design and technology.

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 – able to use, and express themselves through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

The National Curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
•can understand and apply the fundamental principles of computer science, including logic, algorithms, data representation, and communication
•can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
•can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
•are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

Attainment targets
By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Subject content

Key Stage 1
Pupils should be taught to:
•understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following a sequence of instructions
•write and test simple programs
•use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
•organise, store, manipulate and retrieve data in a range of digital formats
•communicate safely and respectfully online, keeping personal information private, and recognise common uses of information technology beyond school.

Key Stage 2
Pupils should be taught to:
•design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
•use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output; generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs
•use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
•understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world-wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
•describe how internet search engines find and store data; use search engines effectively; be discerning in evaluating digital content; respect individuals and intellectual property; use technology responsibly, securely and safely
•select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.

Key Stage 3
Pupils should be taught to:
•design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
•understand at least two key algorithms for each of sorting and searching; use logical reasoning to evaluate the performance trade-offs of using alternative algorithms to solve the same problem
•use two or more programming languages, one of which is textual, each used to solve a variety of computational problems; use data structures such as tables or arrays; use procedures to write modular programs; for each procedure, be able to explain how it works and how to test it
•understand simple Boolean logic (such as AND, OR and NOT) and its use in determining which parts of a program are executed; use Boolean logic and wild-cards in search or database queries; appreciate how search engine results are selected and ranked
•understand the hardware and software components that make up networked computer systems, how they interact, and how they affect cost and performance; explain how networks such as the internet work; understand how computers can monitor and control physical systems
•explain how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system
•explain how data of various types can be represented and manipulated in the form of binary digits including numbers, text, sounds and pictures, and be able to carry out some such manipulations by hand
•undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
•create, reuse, revise and repurpose digital information and content with attention to design, intellectual property and audience.

Key Stage 4

All pupils must have the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career.

All pupils should be taught to:
•develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology
•develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills.


Find out more from the DfE website

The Future of ICT in the UK National Curriculum – June 2012

Everyone with an interest in the future of ICT in UK schools has been waiting with bated breath to find out what will happen to ICT in the school Curriculum.

On 11th June Michael Gove sent a letter to the Curriculum Review panel (the full letter can be read on the DFE Website ) in which he explained his plan to continue the disapplication of the ICT SOW and related attainment targets, but he again stresses that ICT remains a COMPULSORY part of the curriculum. He also hinted at what is to come for ICT in the future including this paragraph;

…while it will be for schools to shape their own curricula, we will maintain a requirement for the teaching of art and design, design and technology, geography, history, ICT, music and physical education across all the primary years. Programmes of Study in these subjects will, however, be much shorter to allow for the maximum level of innovation at school level in the development of content in these areas.

where he again stressed the future of ICT, certainly in the Primary years. This letter prompted the following response from Naace (The ICT Association).

It is an exciting time for ICT in schools at the moment and Naace, the ICT Association, whose mission is to advance education through the use of technology, welcomes the announcement by the Secretary of State this morning that ICT is set to remain part of the National Curriculum for 2014 and the future. The value of ICT in our children’s education and as an integral part of their lives, society and industry has been recognised by maintaining its role as a compulsory part of the National Curriculum in all key stages. ICT remains a compulsory part of the curriculum until then, although, as expected, the current programmes of study and attainment targets are disapplied from September.

Miles Berry, Naace Board of Management Chair, said, “It’s not surprising that the Secretary of State has decided to proceed with his plans to ‘disapply’ the ICT programmes of study and attainment targets. We know many Naace members are eager to respond to the opportunities this provides to develop an up to date, creative and challenging curriculum tailored to the needs, interests and aspirations of their pupils. It’s interesting that today’s announcement comes alongside Gove’s rejection of the National Curriculum Expert Panel’s recommendation that ICT be relegated to the ‘basic curriculum’ in 2014, perhaps recognising that in the third millennium the right to a broad technological education isn’t something which can be just left for individual schools to determine. The plans for a statutory ICT programme of study in 2014 which will “be much shorter to allow for the maximum level of innovation at school level in the development of content”, seems a good balance between an entitlement for everyone and the space to innovate for all that can.”

Schools will now be looking to build on successful aspects of their current practice. As provision is reviewed and areas to develop are identified, Naace and its members and sponsors continue to support schools and teachers in the process with our ICT Curriculum Framework, which provides an outline of those areas of knowledge, skills and understanding which will enable a broad and balanced learning experience. It includes those aspects of computing and programming that many now see as vital.

In December 2011 the Department published The Framework for the National Curriculum, a report by the Expert Panel which advised the National Curriculum review. Since then Ministers have been considering the panel’s recommendations, informed by consultation with stakeholders. The Secretary of State has now written to Tim Oates, the Chair of the panel, with his response to the panel’s recommendations for the primary curriculum.

New draft Programmes of Study for primary English, mathematics and science have also been published today. These drafts are a starting point for discussion with key stakeholders at this stage, but there will be a full public consultation on revised drafts which will start towards the end of this year.

Copies of both the letter and the draft Programmes of Study can be found at: Education.gov

The Secretary of State will make a further announcement on the future of the National Curriculum as it applies to secondary schools in due course.
The Government has also decided to proceed with the proposal to disapply the current Programmes of Study for ICT from September 2012, having carefully considered the responses to the recent public consultation. The consultation report is available on the Departments website . As part of this decision, Ministers have confirmed that ICT will continue to be a compulsory subject at all four key stages in the new National Curriculum

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