St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Believe

Computing and Technology

I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity,  and they can be shaped by their user.

Bill Gates


What is Computing?

Computing is the study of computers that include information technology (how IT is used), digital literacy( how IT is used safely and effectively)and computer science (how computers work). 

Computing is the process of using computer technology to complete a given goal-oriented task. Computing may encompass the design and development of software and hardware systems for a broad range of purposes - often structuring, processing and managing any kind of information - to aid in the pursuit of scientific studies, making intelligent systems, and creating and using different media for entertainment and communication.


Why do we study Computing?

Computing and computer technology are part of just about everything in our lives, including the transport we use, the movies we watch and the ways schools, hospitals and businesses operate. Most people use computer technology in their daily lives, whether that be for internet shopping, gaming or social media.

Our society and the wider world is increasingly reliant on people understanding computers. We know that jobs, which don’t yet exist, will require increasingly sophisticated technology which we want our pupils to be confident to manipulate.


By studying computing, pupils will build their knowledge and understanding of technical skills, such as programming and learn to use a range of applications, which they will use in everyday life. Computing contributes significantly to developing pupils’ creativity, problem solving and perseverance.


At St Mary's, our Computing lessons prepare students for the rapidly changing world around them and build on key computing skills, aiding them to be successful in their future careers. Lessons are practical, allowing the children to understand how technology works, think critically and be independent problem solvers. Our Computing curriculum is taught in a safe and supportive learning environment where the children know where to go for help when a concern arises online and are able to talk about the importance of using technology safely and respectfully.


The National Curriculum states:

A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programmes, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.


Through their study of the St Mary's Computing curriculum, we intend that pupils will:


1. Secure their knowledge and understanding of computing concepts - building understanding cumulatively as they progress through the curriculum by ensuring that pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programmes 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.

2. Gain knowledge beyond their experience

The Computing curriculum is founded in pupils’ everyday experience of the world around them. We intend, through our progressive curriculum, to build on their growing understanding and broaden their knowledge, beyond their everyday reality. This will include studies of specific programmes, such as creating media, webpages and using photo editing software.


3. Acquire technical computing vocabulary and use it accurately

Developing domain specific language is key to pupils’ understanding of substantive and disciplinary concepts. Mastery of computing vocabulary supports pupils in moving from novice, towards expert computer scientists. Having an understanding of the ‘code’ of the subject unlocks new learning for pupils, helping them to place this new knowledge within their current schema.


4. Equip pupils to use creative computational thinking that will enable them to become active participants in the digital world.

Acquiring computational thinking skills and applying them creatively will support pupils to become responsible, competent and confident users of information and communication technology.


5. Develop an enquiring and analytical mind

Our aim is to provide a computing curriculum that is designed to balance both broad and deep knowledge alongside opportunities to apply skills in various digital contexts. We want pupils to find out more, spark interest, and seek to find out how to make things better.


6. Become Inspired 

Through the provision of a Computing curriculum in which pupils develop wide-ranging knowledge and disciplinary skills, we intend they will experience a sense of excitement from learning computing. We are aware of the gender imbalance in those choosing to study Computer Science in higher education and strive to enable all pupils to access the curriculum and reach their potential in this subject. We intend that pupils understand that computing is a future learning and career path open to all pupils.


Scope and sequence

The St Mary's Computing curriculum fulfils and exceeds the requirements of the National curriculum. All subject studies from the National curriculum are included in the curriculum map. Within and across year groups, the topics are repeated to develop children skills in understanding the programmes and how to use creativity to further develop new and effective programmes that will impact the future. Early computing skills are developed in EYFS through activities which may not involve the use of technology. This includes developing knowledge of sequence and steps in a process – adding to their schema about instructions, which will provide a strong foundation when learning about algorithms.  The Computing curriculum formally begins in Year 1. The school follows the Teach Computing scheme of work; this covers the national curriculum objectives and develop learning in a progressive sequence.


Computing Terms

Substantive Knowledge – knowledge of hardware, software, programmes and applications

Disciplinary Knowledge – knowledge of the practices of computing (how to…)

Composite learning - final outcome expectation of the learning

Components of knowledge - all the steps required to reach the composite outcome (these may be knowledge or skill components)


Aims from the National curriculum


  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programmes 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


EYFS and Key Stage 1 pupils should be taught to:

  • understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programmes on digital devices, and that programmes execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • create and debug simple programmes
  • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programmes
  • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
  • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
  • use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies


Key Stage 2 pupils should be taught to:

  • design, write and debug programmes that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programmes; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programmes
  • 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
  • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programmes, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact


Curriculum Design - the approach - using Teach Computing resources


  • Knowledge organisation:  The Teach Computing Curriculum uses the National Centre for Computing Education’s computing taxonomy to ensure comprehensive coverage of the subject.


All learning outcomes can be described through ten strands:

    • Algorithms — Be able to comprehend, design, create, and evaluate algorithms
    • Computer networks — Understand how networks can be used to retrieve and share information, and how they come with associated risks
    • Computer systems — Understand what a computer is, and how its constituent parts function together as a whole
    • Creating media — Select and create a range of media including text, images, sounds, and video
    • Data and information — Understand how data is stored, organised, and used to represent real-world artefacts and scenarios
    • Design and development — Understand the activities involved in planning, creating, and evaluating computing artefacts
    • Effective use of tools — Use software tools to support computing work
    • Impact of technology — Understand how individuals, systems, and society as a whole interact with computer systems
    • Programming — Create software to allow computers to solve problems
    • Safety and security — Understand risks when using technology, and how to protect individuals and systems


All strands are present at each phase, however they are not always taught explicitly.


  • Spiral curriculum: The units for key stages 1 and 2 are sequenced in spiral order. This means that each of the themes is revisited regularly (at least once in each year group), and pupils revisit each theme through a new unit that consolidates and builds on prior learning within that theme. It also ensures that connections are made within a theme in consecutive years.
  • Physical computing:  The Teach Computing Curriculum acknowledges that physical computing plays an important role in modern pedagogical approaches in computing, both as a tool to engage pupils and as a strategy to develop pupils’ understanding in more creative ways. Additionally, physical computing supports and engages a diverse range of pupils in tangible and challenging tasks.