Eight things school computing leaders learned during lockdown

Every week since lockdown we’ve been hosting a weekly virtual meet up for computing subject leaders to share their experiences and challenges and learn from each other. With the last meeting of this academic year this week, we thought it would be interesting to hear everyone’s reflections and insights about what they’ve learned during this unusual period. Here’s their top eight:

1. We all need technology…

The period of remote learning has lifted the status of computing and the use of digital technology in schools – where once computing used to be pushed to the side as a subject it is now at the forefront and digital technology is being used in every curriculum area.

2. …And digital skills

The silver lining is that everyone has been forced to upskill, gaps have been identified and met and the whole school is better prepared for online learning.

3. It’s good to share

The weekly virtual meetings with other computing subject leaders have been really helpful to hear what other schools are doing and get ideas and opinions, adding weight to conversations with SLTs in school.

4. Keep it simple

Developing a flexible approach to communicating with parents, keeping it simple and to the point and using 2-step check-ins with families (to ensure that information has got through and teachers are keeping in touch with all pupils eg email and then phone call) has worked well.

5. Keep an eye

Monitoring parental engagement and taking steps to ensure more vulnerable families are kept informed has been important.

6. Tailor it

Evaluating the digital and technical tools being used in the school and tailoring them to suit the needs of the pupils, such as Google classroom being used for KS2 but not KS1, or being used in a different way for KS1, has worked really well. Along with trying to do things in different ways – for example using Purple Mash for children to collaborate.

7. Mix it up

Teachers have been using a variety of video platforms with different benefits, eg:

Vimeo – avoids some of the safeguarding concerns of other platforms, making it more appropriate for younger year groups.

YouTube – very accessible and easy to share with families but the settings and means of sharing need careful consideration (see our guide).

Green screen – engaging!

Loom – nice combination of teacher visibility on screen and easily shared pupils’ work

8. But keep it safe

Safeguarding and online safety policies have been reviewed and developed to cater for pupils working remotely.  Virtual sessions for parents on online safety have worked well.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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