Computing Rationale


When planning and teaching computing at Whirley Primary School, we believe that it is an essential part of the curriculum; a subject that not only stands alone but is woven through all parts of all learning.  Computing, in general, is a significant part of everyone’s daily life and children should be at the forefront of new technology, with a thirst for learning what is out there.  Computing within schools can therefore provide a wealth of learning opportunities and transferrable skills explicitly within the Computing lesson and across other curriculum subjects.

Through the study of Computing, children will be able to develop a wide range of fundamental skills, knowledge and understanding that will equip them for the rest of their life.  Children must be taught in the art form of ‘Computational Thinking’ in order to provide them essential knowledge that will enable them to participate effectively and safely in the digital world beyond our gates.


In Reception we build on knowledge gained in pre-school settings and home environments. Children will seek to acquire basic skills in turning on and operating some ICT equipment. We do this through the exploration of basic equipment such as torches and remote-control devises. The children also learn to use a track pad to navigate simple games on a laptop, such as Phonics Play. The children enjoy interacting with age-appropriate computer software both on the IWB and on touch screen devices too.

Year 1

At the beginning of Year 1, children build upon their reception skills of using a mouse by learning how to login and navigate around a computer, further developing their mouse skills as they learn how to drag, drop, click and control their cursor. Moving on from this, children then begin to explore how Bee-bots work by programming them to follow specific directions. Further to this, children are introduced to the language ‘algorithm’ and use this vocabulary to create their own set of instructions, ensuring they are clear enough to follow. At this point, children start to notice that algorithms do not always work, and we begin to work on decomposition and debugging within familiar contexts.  

Children also have the opportunity to use the iPads to further their understanding from reception. Children use the iPads to enhance our creativity and imagination skills by taking a variety of different photos in order to capture our very own adventure story. We then build on this by editing our photos using cropping, resizing and filtering.  

Year 2

Building on from Year 1, children will learn how to edit text, with a significant period of time is spent developing their efficiency and accuracy using a keyboard and improving their touch-typing skills in preparation for creating larger bodies of text when they move into Key Stage 2. The ability to store and retrieve information is embedded at this time.

As the children begin to use the internet for research purposes across the curriculum, the children are taught how to use the internet (and search engines such as google) safely. At this time, it is made explicitly clear how important it is to communicate with their parents and guardians about all online activity. Building upon this, children begin to understand the role of computers and that they form part of a network.

Building on from early algorithm work in Year 1, the children are introduced to the software scratch junior. This gives the children the opportunity to create a computerised intervention and learn basic coding skills in preparation for Key Stage 2.

Year 3

Building on from their previous learning about computer science in Year 2, in Year 3 children revise that a computer is made up of different components. They then begin understanding what the different components of a computer do and how they work together. They also have an opportunity to draw comparisons across different types of computers before learning about the purpose of a server and what a server does.

In Year 3, children continue to build on the word processing skills they acquired in Year 2, however we focus more specifically on media software, for example, taking photographs and recording a video to tell a story. Children use PowerPoint software to edit and enhance their video adding music, sounds and text on-screen with transitions. As well as this, children are introduced to an email unit where they are given the opportunity to learn how to log in and out of an email account as well as send and receive emails. By the end of this unit, children should be able to understand the purpose of an email. Moving forward with our email unit. By linking this into our email unit, children learn that not all emails are genuine, recognising when an email might be fake and what to do about it.

Developing their coding skills further, children continue to explore scratch creating more challenging algorithms and learning how to use loops to improve programming.

Year 4

Children begin by learning what the internet is and how it works, in particular how data is transferred and how this enables us to view and interact with websites. Following on from this, the children then get the opportunity to create their very own webpage about a topic relating to class work using Microsoft Sway. Building upon their understanding of editing PowerPoints in Year 3, children will explore how to change layouts, embed images and videos and link between pages.

Complementing that topic nicely, Year 4 then begin to learn about the language behind a webpage. Building upon their understanding of what a ‘responsible digital citizen’ is, children will change HTML tags and CSS codes to alter images and texts in order to create a ‘fake news’ story. Children will then learn about the benefits of collaborative tools including Google Docs, Slides, Forms and Sheets and understand how the internet allows people to work together despite being physically afar.

Building upon programming skills from Year 3, pupils will explore and apply their computational thinking creating simple games using scratch and learning about different code blocks and other variables.

Year 5

Children further explore and embed their coding skills through a range of contexts in Year 5. Scratch is used by the children to code a piece of music that combines a variety of structures including loops. Building on this, children explore a new piece of hardware called a Micro: bits where they use new software to create new and more complex algorithms.

They will then use their computing skills to support their learning in Science (Earth and space) where they will use online design software to design a new tyre for a Mars Rover and understand about the 8-bit binary communication number system. Further to this, children will perform their own addition and subtraction binary calculations using the 8-bit binary number system.

 Year 6

In Year 6, children begin by building upon their knowledge of the 8-bit binary code and start using Python to create their own designs, tinkering with the coding values to create different shapes. They will then move on to identifying how barcodes and QR Codes work, where they use their logical thinking in order to create their own secret codes.

Children will research and present information about the historical computing figure Alan Turing, where they explain the impact of his significance on the technological world.

Building upon their knowledge of networks and the internet, the children will use their prior knowledge of data in order to design a system for a smart school. Towards the Spring term, children will begin to learn how to write, record and edit a radio feature, where they will include sound effects and music.

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Whirley Primary School

Whirley RoadMacclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JL

Rebecca Gregory | SEN Contact

01625 783815