Overcoming the Fear Factor of the New Curriculum – Chris Speller of Elm Park Primary School, Havering shares his thoughts…

Chris SpellerI stared out to a sea of blank faces. Having shared the new ‘National Curriculum’ for computing during our weekly staff meeting, it suddenly dawned on me that we had a lot of work to do!

As a school, we would say we were very confident using ICT. As big Apple users, we are part of our local ‘Apple Regional Training Center (RTC)’, hosting CPD courses and providing support for other schools in being innovative with computing. We regularly apply and take part in local authority projects, and we enjoy sharing our practice with other schools to help them develop their provision… but was the new curriculum a step too far for some of our staff? Was teaching a subject that they had never taught before, and moreover one that we had not even been taught ourselves, asking for too much?

For my ICT team and I, we never like to fail a challenge. So we started from the very beginning- a very good place to start! The first thing we did was rename the subject ‘computing’; it may sound simple, but it changed both the staff and the children’s perception from ‘let’s make another PowerPoint’ to something that was really quite different. But then we had to think about what ‘computing’ would actually look like in our school and throughout the curriculum.

At our local authority networking meetings, we had heard about ‘Switched on Computing’, a new scheme of work to support schools in developing the new Curriculum. We offered to trial it as a school in its pre-publication stage, as we always love to give our opinion on new things! We ran the same unit throughout the school creating ‘Scratch’ animations based on our topic work. Staff were given lots of support by our ICT technician and ICT HLTA, with some asking them to take the lead and some having them there for moral support, and off they went.

Well, ‘what happened next?’ I hear you say! There was an amazing buzz throughout the school. Children were excited about the animations they had made, with siblings asking each other what they had done. Children were going home, downloading the program, creating their own animations, and coming into class as ‘Scratch’ experts the next week.

Our ‘Digital Leaders’ (an extra-curricular club, made up of children who are highlighted as talented in ICT) had sneaky sessions on it before it was taught in class so they could be the ‘experts’. This allowed them to support the other children (and more importantly the teachers) in showing the best ways to use the program. Maybe the biggest result was that our staff actually saw all of the long curriculum jargon, which they thought they could never see their kids achieving in class, actually happening. Children were using words like ‘sequencing’ and ‘algorithms’ and they actually knew what they meant! We were so impressed that we not only sent copies of the work back to Rising Stars, who created ‘Switched on Computing’, to say ‘It actually works!’, but partnered with a school in Greece to share the animations that we had made. And as one teacher put it… ‘It was all surprisingly achievable after all!’

So, maybe the future does look bright for ‘computing’ at our school. We are sure it won’t be easy, with all our staff having to learn to become networkers, programmers and debugging experts, but we know with a solid curriculum map and scheme of work behind us, we are excited to see the new generation of ‘computer scientists’ raise up from our midst. Also, it wouldn’t happen without an invaluable support team, making sure the software is installed, the computers are booked out and ready and taking that extra time to understand the programs in detail. Once the kids naturally get the hang of this, who knows what the curriculum will move on to look like in the future!

Chris Speller
Senior Teaching & Learning Leader – Elm Park Primary School

Originally published on the Bett Blog…

Read more: http://www.bettshow.com/page.cfm/action=library/libID=12/libEntryID=43

Toshiba Radio @BETT2014

Listen to Toshiba Radio hosted by the amazing Russell Prue at 12.00pm on Wednesday 15th January 2014.  Havering School Improvement Services Computing and ICT Adviser Dave Smith will be interviewed by Russell during Wednesday’s show.

TOSHIBA RADIO @BETT2014 LIVE each day at 4.00pm from Excel. It’s the show to listen to!

Click on the following link to listen…


Reasons to be Optimistic About the New Curriculum by Caroline Wright

The good news is that the funding certainly appears to be in place to back these needs.

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) works with Government, suppliers and schools to deliver quality in education services and resources in the UK and abroad. A year on from Bett 2013 Caroline Wright, Director at BESA, takes a look at the state of the sector and examines the broader implications of the current changes.

It would be hard for any teacher to have missed the new curriculum changes. For primary schools, 2013/14 is a year of transformation before the new curriculum comes into effect from September 2014. Adapting to the new skills that are required to teach a modern foreign language, computer science coding, grammar, punctuation and spelling and even reciting poetry will be a hurdle for all to cross.

Equally, secondary schools are being met with reformed GCSE course content. The changes will be applied to English and maths first, followed by sciences, history and geography – and then others will follow.

Many teachers are turning to technology to assist their new teaching.

The need to adequately support the new knowledge and skills dictated by the curriculum is currently resulting in an urgent investment in technology; not forgetting published schemes of work, text books and learning support material, and of course resources needed to raise the skill level of teachers.

The good news is that the funding certainly appears to be in place to back these needs.

Our regular ‘Education Market Performance Outlook’ survey of primary and secondary schools that explores changes in the spending plans of schools is now showing a rise in expenditure in all areas, particularly ICT. Spending in 2013/14 was projected by schools to increase by 2.7 per cent.

It is certainly heartening for our education sector and the economy that these findings show a positive and optimistic outlook by both schools and suppliers.

UK schools have led the world in embedding technology into the learning environment and our schools now have the experience to invest wisely to optimise the value of this technology. Wise procurement includes evaluating all available products to ensure you have invested in the right one for your specific needs, checking the service costs such as warranty and support and negotiating the price. These can all be carried out efficiently and effectively in one day at Bett. We will be managing the BESA information point at the show and look forward to welcoming any visitors looking for advice on finding specific products or suppliers. We look forward to seeing you there.

Register to Bett 2014 for FREE now.


FREE goodie bag at the Bett 2014 Rising Stars stand

Don’t miss out on your FREE Rising Stars bag containing lots of free samples of Rising Stars’ latest resources!

Numbers are limited so sign up in advance to make sure you get your goodie bag, which contains:

FREE sample of our new resource, Switched on Computing

FREE eBooks CD containing two eBooks with permanent and whole-school site licence – means unlimited access throughout your school!

FREE Switched on Science sample; two units from Key Stages 1 and 2 to try out in your school.

FREE Cracking Comprehension sample disc.

FREE Poetry by Heart sampler.


Could you lead an Expert Slot on the Naace stand at Bett 2014?

Naace are continually looking for ways to offer their members new opportunites. One of the ways they are doing this is to offer members the opportunity to host a drop in session on the Naace stand at Bett 2014, where they can meet with others and share knowledge and expertise on one of the hot topics listed below!

  • BYOD
  • Procurement
  • Curriculum
  • e-Safety
  • How to be Outstanding in Learning
  • Social Media
  • Qualifications and Assessment

Members need to simply send in a proposal for the topic they wish to cover by December 6 and they will notify you by December 16 as to whether you have successful or not.

These slots are not offered as a space for individuals to purely promote their organisations / consultancy – but aim to provide a session where people can drop in and hear an expert view on the topic along with some guidance and advice.  A timetable of sessions will be marketed to members and wider marketing avenues, and you would also be encouraged to send your slot times / details to your contacts.

The form to submit a proposal can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE you must complete a separate form for each topic you wish to put a proposal in for and you must be a fully paid member when Bett 2014 takes place.

Pool of Experts

Members who are successful in their application for the Expert Slot at BETT, will be added to the Naace Pool of Experts, which they are planning to make available to schools contacting us with various queries.

Naace Experts will be able to help them manage the Naace School Helpdesk – an independent support hub for schools seeking help and advice on a variety of topics.
If you would like to be part of the Helpdesk scheme as soon as it is made available to schools, make sure that you apply for one of our BETT expert slots!

If you have any questions, please contact anna.street-barber@naace.co.uk

Bett 2014: The Show’s 30th Year (22nd – 25th January)

Bett, the world’s leading event for learning technology returns to ExCeL London from 22 to 25 January 2014, marking the show’s 30th year.

As teachers up and down the country will recognise, the landscape of education in schools is constantly evolving. The speed at which changes are made to the national curriculum are matched only by the advances in the technology used to deliver it.  Computer science is just one subject that has been made compulsory in schools, a topic that is set to be covered extensively by the exhibitors on the Bett show floor and also the industry experts in the show’s extensive seminar content. Whatever educational professionals are looking to learn about, Bett will have something for everyone.

To celebrate this special year we will be announcing an exclusive competition shortly. It will only be available to registered attendees – so register now!