Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
Computing education essential in technologically diverse world
Ofsted has published the latest in a series of reviews into different subjects across the curriculum. This review looks at computing.
This review explores the literature relating to the field of computing education to identify factors that can contribute to high-quality computing curriculums, assessment, pedagogy and systems. We will use this understanding of subject quality to examine how computing is taught in England’s schools before publishing a subject report to share what we have learned.
The national curriculum for computing sets out that ‘a high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world’.
This review highlights approaches to constructing, sequencing and teaching a coherent computing curriculum that achieves the aims set out in the national curriculum. Central to this is the importance of identifying and ordering the underlying knowledge that pupils require to make sense of complex ideas and engage in tasks or activities within the subject.
Teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge are important factors in high-quality computing education. The review notes that there remains a shortage of suitably qualified computing teachers, which will have significant consequences for the quality of education that pupils receive if nothing is done to remedy the situation. School leaders need to provide teachers with sufficient professional development to enable them to design and teach a high-quality computing curriculum.
Ofsted recognises that there is no singular way of achieving high-quality computing education and there are a variety of ways that schools can construct and teach a computing curriculum. The review identifies some common features of successful curriculum approaches:
- the planned curriculum includes a breadth of knowledge in computer science, information technology and digital literacy
- declarative knowledge (‘knowing that’) and procedural knowledge (‘knowing how’) are identified, sequenced and connected in the curriculum
- pupils learn important programming knowledge to enable them to become skilful programmers.
- programming languages are chosen to meet curriculum goals
- development of computational thinking and problem-solving is underpinned by domain-specific knowledge that is identified and sequenced in the curriculum
- the curriculum to teach pupils how to create digital artefacts is underpinned by specified declarative and procedural knowledge
- teachers should not make assumptions about pupils’ prior knowledge of digital literacy
- knowledge related to e-safety is carefully sequenced to ensure that content is appropriate for pupils at each stage of their education
- component declarative and procedural knowledge are identified and sequenced to enable pupils to be successful in learning complex ideas or processes
- teachers have access to continued professional development in high-quality computing to develop and maintain their subject knowledge
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said:
Digital technology is driving extraordinary global changes, so it’s crucial that children and young people are educated to make use of their opportunities.
Computing is rich in complex knowledge, which can make it interesting for pupils to learn. Yet it is also hard to teach well.
I hope this review is useful for teachers and school leaders and helps to raise the quality of computing education for all young people.
Latest News from
Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
Ofsted: Concerns over damaging impact of staff shortages on children’s social care27/07/2022 12:10:00
A new report looks at the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's social care.
Education providers resilient as COVID challenges continue20/07/2022 12:10:00
Ofsted has today published the third set of briefings in a series looking at the pandemic’s continued impact on education providers.
Changes to inspection handbooks for September 202211/07/2022 16:05:00
Ofsted has today published updated inspection handbooks for all our education remits.
Many children placed in homes far away from their families amid national sufficiency challenge11/07/2022 13:15:00
An Ofsted report published recently (08 July 2022) suggests that there are too few suitable places to keep children in care close to home.
Amanda Spielman’s speech to the Festival of Education, 202208/07/2022 16:25:00
Ofsted's Chief Inspector reflects on the last year in education and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Amanda Spielman at the AELP National Conference 202227/06/2022 14:38:00
Ofsted's Chief Inspector spoke at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) annual conference.
Ofsted launches consultation on care leavers inspection judgement20/06/2022 11:10:00
The consultation asks for views on a proposed new judgement on the experiences and progress of care leavers.
Ofsted and CQC launch consultation for new inspection provision framework for children and young people with SEND14/06/2022 12:20:00
A consultation from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission presents a new draft framework for inspecting provision for children and young people with SEND.