E-safety week!

E-safety is a crucial part of day-to-day life in primary schools. Children are always discovering new technologies and it is important that they are guided to use them effectively and responsibly. So this week, the Switched on Computing team are going to focus on all things e-safety!

FREE poster

Download your FREE e-safety poster to display in your classroom!

Competition time!

The Switched on Computing team is challenging primary school children up and down the country to design their own e-safety poster! All of the entries will be showcased on the website and the winning entry will be designed and printed so you can display it in your own classroom. The poster should:

  • provide advice about e-safety
  • be written for primary school children
  • be colourful and engaging!


1st prize
The winning poster will be professionally printed and presented to your school.
Your school will receive a £500 voucher to spend on any Rising Stars resources.
The children will win a set of Learn to Code practice books worth £300.

2nd prize
Your school will receive a £200 voucher to spend on any Rising Stars resources.
The children will win a set of Learn to Code practice books worth £300.

3rd prize
Your school will receive a £100 voucher to spend on any Rising Stars resources.
The children will win a set of Learn to Code practice books worth £300.

All entries submitted will be showcased on our online gallery.

How to enter

Entries submitted can be a jpeg, PDF, Word document, PowerPoint or a photocopy or photograph of a drawing.

All entries should be emailed to oliviatanner@risingstars-uk.com or tweeted to @switchedoncomp.

The closing date is 31st July 2015 and the winner will be announced 3rd September 2015.

Terms and conditions

Please ensure you have the pupils’ permission before submitting an entry.

If there are any photographs of pupils included on the poster, please ensure you have consent from the parent/guardian.

The closing date for entries is 31st July 2015.

Stay updated

Would you like a round up email of all the e-safety blog posts and information at the end of the week? Sign up to receive computing updates by simply creating a My Rising Stars account and select computing as your subject preference.

You will receive an e-safety newsletter including all the e-safety blog posts, free poster and competition information, as well as a termly email about all things computing including freebies, lesson ideas and more. It is free to sign up and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Sign up now!

Rising Stars also want to find out how confident teachers are in delivering e-safety sessions and teaching children about staying safe online and being a responsible digital citizen. There’s just 3 quick questions to answer and the Switched on Computing team will publish the results on our community site!

Safer Internet Day 2015 Competition

To celebrate Safer Internet day on 10 February 2015 Rising Stars are running a competition with an iPad mini as a prize.

To take part, they would like to know how your students will help make the internet a better place. Entries can be tweeted on the day with the hashtag #SOCCOMP or can be e mailed to: OliviaTanner@risingstars-uk.com.

Entries can take the form of a pledge – To help make the internet a better place, I promise I will…, or can be in the form of a recipe for a safer internet.

Resources to support this can be found on the safer internet site.

Deadline for entries will be Friday 13th February and the winning entry will be announced on Monday  23rd February.

Switched on Computing wins a BETT award for Primary Digital Content!

 We are delighted to announce that Switched on Computing has won a BETT award for Primary Digital Content!












Switched on Computing is designed to help teachers deliver the new programme of study for computing.

It was thrilling to hear that the judges were particularly impressed with Switched on Computing’s full inclusivity and accessibility. The judges of the awards commented, “Switched on Computing provides teachers with the step by step, unit by unit support that they need. It engages learners, reminds them of e-safety and is excellent value for money.”

The award was presented at Wednesday’s ceremony at the Brewery in Barbican, where hundreds of guests gathered to recognise the most innovative ICT products and companies in the education sector. Read the Rising Stars blog to hear more about the night at the awards ceremony.

Andrea Carr, Managing Director of Rising Stars explains:

“We are thrilled to have won this award. The Bett awards are judged by teachers who understand the importance of quality teaching and learning resources. Switched on Computing is designed to support teachers in getting started with computer science and 5,000 schools are already using it in classrooms around the country.”

Amanda Jackson, Penny Patterson and Dave Smith of Havering Education Services explain:

“We are delighted to have been part of the team involved in the development of Switched on Computing.  Our partnership with Rising Stars has benefited schools in Havering and beyond, assisting them to support effective teaching and learning in Computing.”

To find out more about Switched on Computing and hear why teachers and students love it, click here.

Join Switched on Computing Research and Discussion Group

Rising Stars are looking for ICT co-ordinators who have regularly been using Switched on Computing to join them for a day’s session in central London, where they will be looking at the resource in detail and discussing what they could do to make it even better!

Where: Central London

When:   Monday 16th February 2015

Time:    11am – 3pm

Selected delegates will receive a fee, travel expenses, lunch and free materials in return for their brain power and time! Please note that places are limited to one teacher per school.

To sign-up: Simply enter your details here

Ofsted and Switched on Computing

At the launch event for the BCS Barefoot Computing project, HMI David Brown (as photographed by Zoe Ross), Ofsted’s national lead for computing, gave an excellent presentation, setting out his views on what good and outstanding computing would look like in schools.

David Brown

Rising Stars‘ Naomi Watson and Miles Berry have since gone through David’s bullet points to assess how well Switched on Computing matches up to the job of supporting teachers and schools in meeting these expectations.

Click here to see their responses.

How to teach the new Programme of Study with confidence

Teachers and schools in England agonising how they are going to teach computing to their pupils from September 2014 now have the option to buy a complete curriculum package, thanks to Rising Stars Education, written by Miles Berry.

Launched at the Education Show in Birmingham, the managing director and founder of Rising Stars, Andrea Carr told an audience that she was delighted with the new scheme, thanking the efforts of her team and the author. Dave Smith, and curriculum advisor at London’s Havering Borough commented,
‘Technology continues to be a massive growth industry worldwide and it’s crucial that we make sure ’s existing familiarity with Computer is underpinned by a solid understanding of the practical applications of technology. Switched on Computing provides primary school teachers, who may not be entirely comfortable teaching many of the aspect of the new of Study, with a well-structured range of dynamic activities and a comprehensive list of topics with open source (free) or existing software. Switched on Computing enriches ICT education by the most affordable yet innovative means possible.’
The Key Stage 1 and 2 cover all the computing curriculum requirements, being split into activities and challenges for each year group within the primary setting. The teachers’ pack provides support for all levels of experience with software demos and detailed step-by-step planning. It also embeds e-safety to ensure safe and responsible use of .
For further details and to explore the contents for each year group please visit http://www.risingstars-uk.com/series/switched-on-computing/ 

Time for a new Computing curriculum in England… Time to source resources and advice at the Education Show

Dave Smith, Computing and ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services in London explores how the Education Show can help support you in teaching the new Computing curriculum.

The advent of a new National Curriculum for computing in England with a strong focus on computer science has meant that teachers are currently having to upskill themselves in readiness for the rollout of the curriculum in September 2014. 

Previous incarnations of the National Curriculum in England would have been accompanied with government procured curriculum materials, training and advice.  The new computing curriculum for primary schools in England is no more than 2 sides of A4 paper and brief in its statements.  The devolving of previously ring-fenced technology and training budgets directly to schools, is allowing schools the autonomy to source their own training and resources, meaning they have got to act smart in choosing the right sources. 

BESA (stand F5-E6) reported that “The survey of 1,238 UK schools (731 primary, 507 secondary) which was conducted in July 2013 found that in the school year 2014/15 schools forecast their ICT expenditure will be higher in cash terms than at any other time on record. Investment in hardware replacement, peripherals, software and technical support will reach £14,220 per primary school and £65,570 in each secondary school.” 

The Education Show offers a great opportunity to support these areas of investment in educational technology, with a number of companies and advisory bodies providing resources and ideas to address the requirements of the Computing curriculum, as well as a string of seminars to help guide teachers in implementing it.  Here’s just a taste of what is on offer…

I always make for the TTS stand at the Education Show (stand C2). They have a great catalogue for Computing and ICT with all of the resources in one place.  Checkout the fantastic Makey Makey kits and rechargeable Beebots and their big brother the Probot – a must for any programming activities. The Lego Education (A73) stand has got to be a must too.  Linking Lego WeDo to Scratch is fun and very engaging.  

Nationally, various free and paid for teaching materials are being developed by teachers and organisations to help support the new curriculum.  In Havering, we decided to work with specialist educational publishers Rising Stars (D44) and Miles Berry of the University of Roehampton, London to develop Switched on Computing (building on the success of its predecessor Switched on ICT – now in approximately 4000 schools globally).  This partnership provides comprehensive curriculum materials for primary schools.

Education City (F49-E50) have just launched their ‘Computing’ module, where pupils can explore new ideas to help them use computational thinking and creativity to understand the world around them. ZuLogic have recently unveiled their new Zu3D Stopframe animation app for iPads, where pupils can create their own animation by taking pictures, importing and recording sounds then adding titles, credits and speech bubbles.

And of course, where would educational technology at the Education Show be without that bastion of excellence 2simple Software Ltd (H40). They have recently added 2code to the offering within the fantastic Purple Mash. 2code is very impressive in terms of its simplicity of use, progressive nature and all round teacher and pupil-friendly approach. Or as 2simple put it, 2Code “lets teachers with no prior knowledge of coding deliver engaging and challenging lessons for children in KS1 and KS2.”

Also, make sure that you visit the British Council (H41) and find out about how eTwinning can be used for communication and collaboration.  Blogging, emailing, videoconferencing – you name it, you can do it through eTwinning – and best of all, it is free, gratis, gratuit, kostenlos…

Finally, the Education Show is home to some world-class CPD opportunities.  Checkout the Technology in Education seminars for an array of speakers and content.  I will be interested in what the Computing at School Master Teachers say on the topic of the new curriculum for primary and secondary phases.

There is even more, but I have a word limit to keep to!  You will just have to visit the Education Show for yourself to find out everything else.  Therefore, if you have not already registered for the Education Show, now is the time to get online and get signed-up.  You won’t be disappointed.  

See you there! 

Dave Smith is a member of the Board of Management of Naace, is a Naace Fellow and a Bett Show and Education Resource Awards Judge. He also has over 10 years’ teaching and senior leadership experience in 3 schools and has been a governor of 4 schools.  Follow him on Twitter @davesmithict.

Take Your First Easy Steps with Microsoft

Switched on Computing: Take Your First Easy Steps with Microsoft has been written to help schools get started with computing at Key Stages 1 and 2. Each unit has clear guidance for teachers and plenty of creative ideas for bringing each project alive in the classroom.

Author and ICT Co-ordinator, Claire Lotriet, trialled the units with her pupils.

“I think it’s brilliant that a huge company like Microsoft and a creative publisher like Rising Stars have come together to help schools like this. We have been trialling the final materials for a few weeks now – children love them. Not only are they introducing children to computing but they are helping them develop broader skills, such as use of technology for literacy, and collaboration”.

Download a free taster pack and trial it for yourself!

Download the CD-ROM resources to go with the pack.  

Please note this file is 308MB so will take up to 15 minutes to download.


Switched on Computing – What you need to know…

In light of the new national curriculum requirements, Switched on Computing will be published in February 2014. This is a new (and renamed) edition of Switched on ICT, which includes the best of Switched on ICT combined with new and exciting units to enable teachers to deliver the Programme of Study for Computing quickly, easily and with confidence.

To keep updated with the new Switched on Computing – please follow @SwitchedOnComp on Twitter. Switched on Computing is FREE for schools that bought Switched on ICT in 2013 and half price if purchased before then.  Schools buying into the Havering School Improvement Services’ Packages at Level 1, 2 and 3 will receive it for free as part of their package.  The Hsis Computing and ICT team will be in contact with schools to arrange distribution in due course.

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the new scheme.