Excellence in Coding and Computing – Developing skills for the future
“Everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
Thanks to a very generous donation by parents of a child attending our school, New End benefits from an exciting project to develop and enhance the coding and computing skills of children from Reception to Year Six. Children in these year groups have a weekly coding lesson with our specialist computer teacher, Max Wainewright.
Max is a Computer Science graduate and qualified primary school teacher. He has 30 years experience working in educational technology. In addition to teaching in both the UK and Singapore, Max has worked as a Local Authority technology advisor. He has helped develop teaching frameworks for government agencies and Ofsted. Max was one of the founders of 2Simple Software, and has developed many award winning software titles for Primary schools. When Max isn’t teaching at New End he works as a consultant for Discovery Learning, the London Grid for Learning and the Camden CLC. He is also a successful children’s author and has written over 20 books for children on coding and technology.
New End is also leading a Coding HUB for schools across Camden this academic year. This HUB aims to develop teaching and learning in other schools across the borough. We will be leading sessions in our school, modelling the work that we do.
Why do we teach coding?
Primary schools in the UK have been using computers to help children learn for over 30 years. In addition to developing digital literacy and ICT skills, recent changes in the National Curriculum have required all pupils from Y1 to Y6 to learn to code.
At New End we want to empower our learners in their use of technology. We want them to go beyond just consuming digital technology – (using computers and tablets to use apps, watch videos or play games). We want them to learn how to make their own digital creations, to build their own apps, games and websites, to learn how to program robots.
The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, said “Everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
So for all these reasons we are committed to developing a strong coding curriculum at New End. Every week pupils have a lesson led by a specialist coding teacher.
Our Coding Curriculum
Our Coding Curriculum is constantly changing to reflect new technologies, new resources and the increasing skills of pupils and staff. Currently it includes simple block coding, basic robotics and control, coding with Scratch, HTML and Python, App Making and coding Micro-controllers.
We are also developing a greater STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) element. This gives pupils the chance to apply their coding skills in a more physical environment. Connecting up circuit boards and Micro-controllers to external switches and sensors, adding LEGO to robots and creating pizza delivery machines or robot vacuum cleaners!
In the Early Years we start away from screens, using simple board games to develop some key concepts. Children learn how to sequence directional steps to create an algorithm solving a problem. It is important however that they get the chance to try out these ideas in a coding environment, creating simple programs using blocks on an iPad. Pupils also get the chance to develop these concepts using a set of robots designed for younger learners.