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.


Books, books, books blog

The girls in Years 5 and 6 at the Ursuline Preparatory School have used the We are Bloggers Unit to contribute to a blog on their favourite authors and books. We have been lucky enough to have a visiting author recently and they recorded a podcast with her for the blog.


They have also shared their favourite books in video reviews https://www.makewav.es/story/453400/title/thelottieproject as well as writing blogs about their favourite reads.

‘We are Bloggers’ is a fantastic way to motivate children to read, as well as talk about their reading with their friends. The unit also is a great opportunity to educate the children about staying safe online by covering  the e safety aspects of ICT at the same time.

Briliant Bloggers Required

Do you have brilliant bloggers at your school?

Rising Stars are looking for creative blog posts.

To enter the competition, upload your blog by Friday 14th June. The most creative entry as judged by the Switched on Team will win a days workshop with David Mitchell.

What are you waiting for?

Download the We Are Bloggers unit, use it in class, and post the results on the Community page of their website for a chance to win.

Ant’s ICT – ‘We are Musicians – a Music Co-ordinator tells us how he does it’

The excellent Ant’s ICT blog features an article on the use of an app called Figure to teach Year 4 children aspects of music covered in Switched on ICT  along with other aspects of the Music curriculum.

Read the article in full here…


Make sure you sign-up to Anthony Evan’s blog via http://antsict.wordpress.com

Share Your Ideas For Using Switched on ICT

Have you been doing work with Switched on ICT?

Would you be willing to share this with the Switched on ICT Community?

If the answer is YES, then please get in touch!

Please e mail any pictures/plans/ideas and I can put it on the blog for you


I can come and visit and take pictures, video and put it on the blog

I look forward to hearing from you via email at DawnHallybone@risingstars-uk.com

Dawn Hallybone

Community Manager – Switched on ICT