Westminster Forum – an update
Thursday, February 28th, 2013 | Author:

Today I attended the Westminster Forum to discuss the new Computing Curriculum. Details of the sessions are here.

My brief was to present for 5 minutes on the new curriculum and to see if it was fit for purpose. My question is, what was the purpose? If the purpose is to get more computing into schools, then yes it will do that.

My talk started with an introduction and an explanation that I am a primary school teacher and although I need to know about computing, I also need to be able to teach dance, music, science and a load of other things too. It is hard to train teachers in one aspect of the curriculum when there are so many things to look at.

I talked about my background. I didn’t have any PCs at school and didn’t really see a PC until I was 16 at college. I didn’t program at home on Spectrums etc either. I still went and did a BTEC in ICT and my Primary Education Degree specialised in ICT too. If people want to learn ICT and learn about computers, they will find a way. Even if they haven’t been taught computing.

I then showed the new curriculum and discussed the interpretation. I think this is a big concern. If read in one way, then 3/5 statements from KS1 and 4/6 from KS2 curriculum are focussed on programming and just 1 in each looks at the other bits. So what would happen to all of the ICT we do now? We had already heard from Phil Bannister at the Department of Education saying that it is expected that ICT should be taught across the curriculum and even though this wasn’t mentioned, teachers should do it anyway. My worry is that  many schools will look at the curriculum and just interpret is as reducing the need for all of the fun creative ICT that we have been doing already.

I showed some pictures of a few projects from school using Sketchup, Pivotman, Voki, Google Maps, Audacity and many others and asked if these would be applicable in the new curriculum. There are some statements that might help…

Those statements are:

KS1 – organise, store, manipulate and retrieve data in a range of digital formats
KS2 – 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.
I asked what these statements meant. What is data? Is it spreadsheets and graphs? Or is it video, audio and photographs? I said that it would be great to have a small statement giving a little bit more explanation about the definition of data just to try and prevent schools from mis-reading it. 
To view my PowerPoint, download it here. It isn’t very exciting, but then I guess you had to be there 😉
Overall I was very pleased with how it went, there were laughs and a round of applause half-way through (thanks to Bob Harrison for starting that). Afterwards there were many great comments from people, so that was nice 🙂
Other highlights included David Brown (Head of ICT from Ofsted) saying that schools should not lock down their systems and that they should be open. How can you teach an outstanding curriculum, particularly with e-safety, if everything is locked down?? Carrie-Anne Philbin (@missphilbin) was great and really spoke from the heart about the projects she had been involved with. She also got lots of laughs and people nodding in agreement. It was also a pleasure to meet and catch-up with many different people as always.
It was an interesting event and it was good to have different people’s views shared. Will today change anything? Will it matter that the word creative is not in their? Will it matter that data could mean anything?
Who knows. It was very interesting though.
Category: blogposts, Curriculum  | Tags: