Creating an engaging primary computing curriculum

18 August 2020

Primary computing leader Sian Higgs, explains why she decided the Teach Computing primary certificate was right for her, and what she learnt while completing her qualification.

When I started as a computing lead seven years ago, I modified our existing computing curriculum to one more focused around computer programming, and with more emphasis on embedding online safety in all areas. Fast forward seven years and after returning from maternity leave, I realised that only a few changes had been implemented to the planning and resources whilst I was gone, and we had a curriculum that was out of date. What’s more, I wasn’t sure if what we were delivering was effective.

After attending an online safety conference with Entrust, I discovered the courses offered by NCCE. Looking into it further, I realised that not only was much of it online due to the pandemic, it was free and I would receive a qualification at the end,

Going into revamping our curriculum with an all or nothing approach, I enrolled on two courses; Teaching and leading key stage 1 computing and Primary Programming and Algorithms. On both courses, I found the balance between online teaching and participant led activities was well balanced, ensuring that I could fit this all in, around full time teaching and home life.

I was really impressed with the breadth of knowledge of the facilitators, in particular James. Rarely have I come away from a course with such a wealth of new ideas. I have been really inspired by the ideas and resources he provided to help me re-write planning for the whole of our curriculum for key stage 1 and key stage 2. His subject knowledge was excellent and the way he delivered the course was full of confidence and passion for the subject.

The gap tasks we completed were valuable and allowed us to collaborate with other colleagues, rather than doing a task to do with no purpose or particular outcomes. I have often felt quite overwhelmed by the size of the task I have to undertake but with the guidance of all the facilitators, I feel much more confidence to approach each area of the curriculum with new ideas that will engage students, ensuring the new curriculum is met in a variety of ways.