How one school successfully uses Switched on ICT

Coads Green is a small rural primary school in the East of Cornwall with 59 pupils on roll. The staff consists of 4 teaching staff, including the Head teacher and 7 teaching assistants. The school is well equipped with ICT resources, including IWB’s in each of the 3 classrooms and 20 laptops.

What difference did the school want to make?

As part of our School Development and Improvement work for the academic year 2010/11, we had identified the need to further develop the use of ICT across the school. We wanted pupil self esteem and confidence within ICT to rise, and therefore equip pupils to confidently use ICT skills to support and extend learning in all areas of the curriculum.

What has the school done?

Discreet teaching of ICT was taking place across the school on a weekly basis and initial work had begun to increase access to the laptops to encourage independent and cross curricular learning for pupils.

A significant amount of work had already taken place on our school curriculum. We had addressed the need to make it more creative and exciting for the staff and pupils. New topics have been devised to include innovative and inspiring content. The content is delivered in a cross curricular way, with emphasis being placed on making links between learning, building on and using skills from other curriculum areas. As the new curriculum content unfolded over the first year, it became apparent that our current scheme of work for ICT was not sitting comfortably within our new curriculum. The units were too prescriptive and whilst key skills were being delivered, the content was not inspiring for the staff or pupils and most importantly, the children were not independently using their newly acquired skills within other curriculum areas.

After completing an audit of need for ICT in March 2011, it was recognised that efforts had to be made to access a new Scheme of Work that would be more appropriate for our new curriculum whilst still delivering the key skills our pupils needed.

How was the innovation led?
The leadership of ICT at Coads Green is shared. This is partly due to having a small number of staff, but also takes into account all members of staff having different areas of ICT expertise.

The Headteacher met with the Local Authority ICT advisor and devised an action plan that was shared with the Governor responsible for ICT and the staff. A recommendation of that action plan was for the Headteacher to contact Rising Stars, as a new scheme of work was being developed. (Incidentally the same week a flyer advertising the new scheme arrived on the Headteachers desk!) Coads Green were given access to three trial units for KS2 – “We are presenters”, “We are co-authors” and “We are bloggers”.

Initial responses from the staff to the units were positive. Due to the generic titles, it seemed likely that they would be able to be easily  incorporated into our curriculum and promote cross-curricular learning. Another immediate attraction for us was that the resources required to deliver each unit were readily accessible and would not incur additional cost.

The units are clear and concise which made them a welcome resource. There are clear curriculum links and a defined focus on learning  expectations and outcomes, ensuring pupils acquire relevant skills and knowledge. The teaching steps are easy to follow with additional
extension activities for more able pupils; this was a particular strength of the scheme especially for our mixed age classes.

Our children favourably received the Pupil Cards. They were impressed with the format and colourful style. The information contained within them made it easy for the children to understand what they were going to learn, the reasons for it and ways in which they were able to use their new skills to support and develop other curriculum areas.

How does the school know it has achieved what it set out to do?

There is no doubt the trial units were a complete success. All staff felt confident to deliver the unit content, even those with limited expertise! The assessment guidance which accompanies every unit was a valuable tool for the staff.  Over 50% of pupils attend ICT club every week- this reflects the enthusiasm amongst the pupils! Due to the generic content of each unit, they sit within our creative curriculum beautifully.

What happens next?

ICT remains a Key Issue for School Development and Improvement for 2011/12.  With the success of the trial units, Coads Green has purchased the whole Scheme of work from Rising Stars – from Foundation Stage to Year 6. This will ensure consistency and continuity across the school.
The Headteacher and teacher responsible for ICT will be leading the school in working towards ICT Mark. There is no doubt that the Rising Stars scheme will have a positive impact on attainment within ICT.

The assessment guidance will provide the staff with a useful tool in which to assess the pupil’s progress within each unit. This information will be incorporated within the internal tracking data, ensuring all pupils attain well within ICT.

Claire Tomkies, Headteacher, Coads Green Primary School, Launceston

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Switched On Computing

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