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Klaas Kuperus

Klaas Kuperus

Back to school: Debugging the computing curriculum


Since it was introduced a year ago, schools, educators and parents haven’t stopped talking about the new computing syllabus.

But what does it actually mean and what will your child be learning this year?

Find out here, as we debug the computing curriculum.

Why was it introduced?

Before it was replaced, the ICT curriculum was faced with increasing criticism. It was seen as outdated by many, who believed that teaching children things like how to word-process and use a spreadsheet were no longer relevant to a generation growing up with technology.

Technology companies were also becoming concerned that the UK was not producing enough qualified graduates to fill their growing number of jobs.

But as well as equipping pupils with skills they’ll need for future employment and inspiring more children to pursue careers in technology, the new curriculum was introduced to develop a multitude of transferrable skills, such as problem solving and logical thinking, that can be applied to all aspects of life.

What will your child be learning this year?

Computing is now a core subject for pupils aged 5-16 and the new curriculum is made up of three strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy.

With a greater focus on programming rather than just operating programs, children now learn how to code, how to write their own programs, and how a computer works.

Key Stage 1 (5-6 year-olds)

At the first stage of their computing education, children are introduced to algorithms – the step-by-step instructions you give a computer to complete an operation. Educators are encouraged to demonstrate algorithms using everyday examples like cooking recipes.

Pupils also create and debug simple programs of their own, and take their first steps in using devices to manage digital content.

Key Stage 2 (7-11 year-olds)

Older primary school children create and debug more complicated programs with the aim of achieving specific goals.

They are introduced to concepts such as variables, sequences, selection, and repetition in programs.

Pupils learn to use online networks and websites, and develop their logical reasoning skills.

At this stage there is an emphasis on using devices for collecting, analysing and presenting back data and information.

Key Stage 3 (11-14 year-olds)

Once in secondary school, pupils use two or more programming languages to create their own programs. It is up to individual schools and teachers to decide on which specific languages and coding tools are taught.

Children also begin to learn basic Boolean logic, use binary numbers, and understand how computer hardware and software work together.


Previously only part of the secondary school curriculum, computer and internet safety is now introduced from the first stage of a child’s computing education. This includes how to report concerns about online contact or content.

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