A guide to the new computing curriculum

From using computers to understanding how they work, Rebecca Paddick explains all about this year’s computing curriculum change

The new national curriculum for computing has been developed to equip children and young people in England with the skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives.

The changes will be a compulsory part of the national curriculum for schools in England at all key stages from September, and aims to ensure that primary school children have practical experience of designing and writing computer programs, and that they can understand the fundamental principles of computer science.

Key stages 1 and 2 will be taught what algorithms are and how they are used in digital devices. They will also learn how to write and test simple programs and to organise, manipulate and store digital content. They will be taught how to use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private, and will be taught how to identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content.

Key stages 3 and 4 will be taught to understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking. They will also be taught how to use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems. They will be expected to undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications across a range of devices.

Help for teachers

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss has announced funding of £1.1m for the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, to develop a computing readiness programme aimed specifically at primary school teachers with no prior experience of computer science.

“We want children to be enthused by the possibilities of computing – writing programmes for computer games or designing apps for smartphones,” said Truss, adding: “The new curriculum will do that and this funding will mean that primary school teachers – even those with little or no experience in teaching computing – will be able to deliver it.”

Computing at School (CAS) in collaboration with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and Naace has issued guidelines to help prepare primary school teachers to deliver the new curriculum. Written specifically for primary teachers, the guide provides advice on how to build on current practice and will help them understand the new requirements. It also includes help for schools in terms of planning and gives guidance on how best to develop teachers’ skills.

Bill Mitchell, director of BCS Academy of Computing said: “It is important that we support teachers in making the new curriculum come to life. We will continue working in partnership with the CAS group to ensure computing becomes an exciting and inspirational subject in all schools across the country.”

Read the guide: ‘Computing in the national curriculum,’  

What do you think of the new computing curriculum?


Free live webinar & QA

The digital difference - Build a culture of reading with ebooks & audiobooks

Free Education Webinar with OverDrive

Friday, June 24, 2PM London BST

In this webinar, hear from Havant Academy Librarian Joanna Parsons to learn how she uses ebooks and audiobooks to help boost reading among her secondary students.