Expensive equipment for effective curriculum

Top of the range equipment is needed to teach the curriculum effectively, but there isn’t always the money to do so, says Ruth Sivarajah

It’s been almost one year since the computing curriculum was introduced in primary and secondary schools. Have the past 12 months gone as expected? Were there any challenges you didn’t envisage?

Out of all the subjects in the new curriculum, computing was initially one of the most daunting. Staff knew that they would need to upskill themselves in order to deliver the curriculum effectively to the children. However, some areas have actually been more straightforward than first envisaged. I personally have enjoyed learning new techniques such as how to create panoramas and use Scratch.

Some of the new challenges included using the new terminology (such as algorithms) correctly. It has been a challenge to remember training from courses that have been attended due to the depth of knowledge needed to teach the curriculum. We also needed to order additional resources such as Raspberry Pi, cameras and Lego kits – to name a few – in order to deliver the curriculum.

Top of the range equipment is needed to teach the curriculum effectively when there isn’t always the money to do so.

From your experience, what has the education sector learned over the last 12 months, and how has it changed?

That the curriculum is actually harder for teachers to learn than it is for the children!  There has been a lot to learn in a short space of time.  Top of the range equipment is needed to teach the curriculum effectively when there isn’t always the money to do so.

How have schools reacted to the change, have they been onboard with it? Do you think they’ve embraced the changes and coped well?

We have fully embraced the new computing curriculum.  We’ve also learnt not to stop the good practice we had before.  There is still a place for some of our favourites such as using Mathletics to enhance maths teaching and learning across the school.  We have coped well but would benefit from more funding to allow us to have more of the resources that we need.  15 computers for 290 children just isn’t quite enough!  We would like to fully embed computing across the whole curriculum and need more resources to do this.

And what about the students, are they engaging with their new subject?

Pupils are excited about their learning and fully engage in this subject.  They adapt and pick up concepts quickly – it is great to see them learning new skills.  In the old curriculum there were often many children who knew it all already.

Do teaching professionals now consider the skills the curriculum teaches are important to the future career prospects of children?

We have always felt that the skills the curriculum teaches are important to the future career prospects of children.  We are, however, preparing them for future jobs that currently do not exist.

From what we’ve seen over the past 12 months, what changes can we make going into the next academic year to ensure students get the most out of the new curriculum? What could we be doing better?

We feel more prepared going into the curriculum for the second year and have learnt what went well this year and what changes we need to make to do an even better job for the next academic year.

Ruth Sivarajah is Deputy Headteacher at Langafel CofE Primary School.