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Rationale – What is the evidence base for selected strategies and curriculum choices?

Digital Literacy:

Digital literacy is at the heart of the computing curriculum. “Digital literacy is essentially the acquisition of the skills and abilities needed to read, write, and communicate in the 21st century using current and emerging technologies” (Buckingham, 2015; Gilster, 1997; Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, 2010; Spencer, 1986; U.S. Department of Labor, 2016).

At Woodlane we aim to equip our pupils not only with functional skills such as searching online, operating a device and safely interacting with software but, also the digital agility to become familiar, flexible and confident users of digital tools and the ability to make decisions regarding the use of technology.

Teaching topics such as e-safety, IT User fundamentals and digital imaging allows our pupils to explore technology and their use both in the classroom as well as the wider world uses including post 16 education, work environments and social context. Teaching coding and creation of digital content pave the way for pupils to apply problem solving competencies learnt during computing lessons drawing on logic and creativity and apply these to real life problems. Our pupils leave Woodlane fluent in using online tools and technology enabling digital fluency both in education and personal life.

A study by Park and Buford (2013) examined tablet use and whether using tablets could improve digital media literacy. Their research showed an increase in skills with those who used the devices for information retrieval and for socialising experienced. iPads feature high in computing and cross curricular lessons. Through the use of Apps, accessibility features and their portability, enables teaching and learning to be truly learner centred. Pupils access teaching and learning resources equally regardless of their individual needs.

Blended Learning:

Woodlane's approach to education integrates technology seamlessly, employing platforms like Google Classroom, Microsoft Suite, and Adobe Creative Suite to create a blended learning environment. This blended learning setup empowers students to progress at their own speed, tailored to their individual learning outcomes, with the added benefit of remote access to educational materials from home.

“Although there is no denying the importance of the physical presence of the teacher and classroom materials, there is substantial research validating the learning gains achieved through virtual, online resources”. Weng, Maeda, & Bouck (2014).

In the computing classroom, pupils receive in-person instruction, fostering the introduction of new concepts and the solidification of their understanding. Woodlane pupils exhibit confidence in their digital literacy, enabling teachers to provide both face-to-face guidance and supplementary online resources to reinforce their grasp of computational concepts. These online tools also encourage pupils to employ creativity in their learning process, aiding in the construction and consolidation of knowledge learnt in the classroom.

In a recent study, titled: Analysis of Hybrid Learning for Students with Learning Disabilities, the authors commented, “...there are four important aspects conducted by teachers supporting the success of hybrid learning for students with learning disabilities in inclusive classes; namely (1) the use of clear instructions, (2) reducing anxiety in online spaces, (3) special assistance, and (4) the use of adaptive learning media. This study has implications for the importance of teachers applying these four aspects to implement hybrid learning” Rachmawati, N., Supena, A., Yufiarti, Y., Yarmi, G., & Casmana, A. R. (2022).

Taking into these considerations, computing lessons follow a clear lesson structure including teacher-led activities and demonstration and practical hands-on activities aimed at embedding the fundamental principles and concepts of computing, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation.

Through training and teacher support, pupils are confident in the online environment helping to reduce anxiety and provide special assistance for those who need it. Furthermore, our digital and online resources are adapted to meet the needs of our pupils and their learning outcomes on an individual basis by making resources learner centred with dyslexia friendly resources and utilising accessibility tools.

Computational Thinking:

Sara Segar, an educational advisor and expert in Experiential Learning has produced a number of reports linked to pupils ‘learning by doing’. She summarises that, “Problem-solving is an important skill in itself, but being able to apply problem-solving skills to real-world issues and scenarios is critical” (Sara Segar, 2020)

Computing at Woodlane involves experiential learning activities for pupils, this approach places the students in control of their own learning, encourages active engagement, and incorporates reflection into learning activities.

Pupils are tasked with problem-solving activities that are relevant to their real-life experiences. For instance, topics like cyber security, online communication, and game creation are chosen to provide pupils with learning opportunities centred around real-life challenges they encounter in their day-to-day lives.

A detailed and well cited research paper from 2016, titled: ‘Computing in the curriculum: Challenges and strategies from a teacher’s perspective’ by Sue Sentence and Andrew Csizmadia highlights a number of key approaches that support the highest quality lessons on Computer Science and Computational Thinking. The report states that, “Working with tangible real world objects is a central tenet of Papert’s constructionism… constructivist principles support the strategies of using more kinaesthetic and active approaches to teaching in the computer science classroom. In Computing this is embodied in the ‘unplugged’ approach. The “unplugged” style of teaching refers to the use of activities to teach computer science concepts without the use of computers.

These forms of tasks are interwoven in to the Computing Curriculum Map to ensure teaching and learning is broad and balanced. A popular task in computing is pupils building their own programs using block based programming environments. Pupils build programs that solve real life problems through digital storytelling that convey important messages or narratives. For example, pupils create interactive stories about environmental conservation, cyberbullying or historical events.

Intent – What is Woodlane aiming to achieve through its Computing curriculum

  • To develop computational thinking and creativity in the use of new or unfamiliar technologies.
  • To develop analytical skills in problem solving using computational terms.
  • To engage in the practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve problems.
  • To understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computing, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation.
  • To become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
  • To become digitally literate with the ability to express and develop ideas through, information and communication technology.
  • To become active participants in a digital world.
  • To develop personal learning and thinking skills to enable pupils to enter further education / work and adult life as confident and capable individuals.
  • To understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy.
  • Be able to recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.
  • To ensure all pupils leave Woodlane with a computing / IT related qualification which reflects the best of their ability. 

Implementation – How is the Computing curriculum delivered?

Curriculum Delivery

  • Pupils have full access to the Computing National Curriculum which is differentiated to meet pupils’ learning needs and styles.
  • The Computing curriculum is designed to be challenging, appropriate to each pupil’s stage of development.
  • The Computing Curriculum offers opportunities for cross-curricula learning, to ensure pupils make significant personal development, including:
    • E-safety theme day;
    • creating computer games theme day;
    • BBC Young Reporter;
    • cross curriculum technology based projects;
    • SaLT strategies/Word Aware integrated in to teaching;
    • Communication development through the use of a wide range of media products including online resources;
    • Exploring the world of work through business document creation and application;
    • Leadership skills through iPad training for all pupils including specialist digital leaders per cohort;
    • Pupil led training in the use of iPads for accessibility tools;
    • Targeted iPad apps training;
    • Creating and editing short films using iPads (iMovie);
    • Creating music tracks using iPads (GarageBand);
    • Learning to use animation software;
    • Lunchtime computing club;
    • Life skills explored through a range of topics including home management, expressive arts, world of work, health & survival.
    • Opportunities for cross curricular activities for example gardening, creating film props and arts and crafts workshops. 
  • The KS3 Computing curriculum is taught through 1.94 hours (average) contact time per week, (8% of curriculum time).
  • The KS4 Computing curriculum is taught through 2.3 hours (average) contact time per week, (9% of curriculum time).
  • In KS4, pupils who opt to study ASDAN are taught through 2.08 hours (average) contact time per week, (8% of curriculum time).
  • The Computing curriculum is designed to build and expand on previous skills and subject knowledge, over a 5-year period.  It also plans for opportunities for repetition to embed knowledge, increasing the chance of information recall and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas.
  • We offer a wide range of qualifications in Computing, which are selected to appropriately challenge, based on each pupil’s stage of development, including:
    • BTEC tech Award in Creative Media Production;
    • Functional Skills ICT;
    • OCR Entry level Computing;
    • Unit Award Scheme units in Computing and Media;
    • Personal Development Programmes (ASDAN).
  • It is important for pupils to become agile users of technology, we develop this through curriculum topics, specific iPad training and the use of apps, video equipment and computer hardware workshops.
  • Train pupils in the safe / responsible use of technology and social media platforms.
  • We provide additional extra-curricular activities before school and at lunchtime, including:
    • Qualification support sessions;
    • Computer club;
    • Opportunities for homework support;
    • One to one support.

Teaching and Learning

  • Our pupils are taught by transition teachers in Year 7 and subject specialists from Year 8 to Year 11.
  • Our Computing Subject Leader is well qualified, possessing a PGCE in ICT, a BSc hons in ICT in Education, is a qualified IT trainer and holds QTLS.
  • The Computing curriculum is differentiated broadly into 3 levels of challenge, ‘all’, ‘most’ and ‘some’.  Further differentiation and personalisation is implemented when required. 
  • Computing homework is provided on a standardised format and is differentiated to provide the appropriate level of challenge.
  • In Computing we have a 3 tiered approach to supporting a pupil’s learning, including:

Universal – this is the teaching your child will receive from the Computing subject teachers and will include adaptations to match learning needs.  All classes:

  • Are supported by a teaching assistant (TA);
  • Have a maximum of 10 pupils per class to ensure there is a high level of support available from the teacher and TA;
  • Are multi-sensory;
  • Are dyslexia friendly;
  • Integrate speech, language and communication support;
  • Are supported either directly or indirectly by speech and language therapists; and
  • Receive e-safety training and iPad training on how to use apps safely to enhance and support their learning.

Targeted­ – it may be appropriate to consider making additional short term special educational provision to remove or reduce any obstacles to your child’s learning.  This takes the form of a graduated four part approach of a) assessing your child’s needs, b) planning the most effective and appropriate intervention, c) providing this intervention and d) reviewing the impact on your child’s progress towards individual learning outcomes.

Interventions may include:

  • Targeted support for individual pupils in the use of technology;
  • One to one support from specialist computing TA;
  • Small group sessions in conjunction with a SpLD specialist;
  • Small group iPad training sessions;
  • Support session for coursework / homework;
  • Promote leadership skills for pupils with a high aptitude for computing;
  • Promote self-management to better cope with classroom environment;
  • Promote personal learning and thinking skills to develop independence using technology;
  • Targeted revision guides; and
  • Parent workshop on E-safety.

Specialist – it may be necessary to seek specialist advice and regular long term support from a specialist professional in order to plan for the best possible learning outcomes for your child.


  • Pupils collate Pupil Achievement Books, where they showcase their best work and progress over time in Computing.
  • Our bespoke Flight Path is used to track the progress of pupils in Computing and determine expected outcomes from different starting points.
  • Computing teachers use a range of formative and summative assessment procedures to assess progress and attainment, including:
    • Daily marking (click here for teaching and learning policy);
    • Self/peer assessment;
    • Completing practise exam questions;
    • Targeted questioning;
    • Setting homework to consolidate classwork;
    • Pupil led curriculum specific quiz creation / implementation;
    • Completing challenges on ‘hour of code’ (web resource);
    • Practical tasks through workshops (building computers);
    • Using iPads to evidence work;
    • Informal/formal examinations;
    • B-Squared assessments; and
    • Informal/formal coursework feedback.

ImpactWhat difference is the Computing curriculum making on pupils?

  • The vast majority of pupils meet or exceed their expected progress in Computing.
  • The vast majority of pupils meet or exceed their expected outcomes in Computing (external qualifications).
  • The vast majority of pupils leave Woodlane with at least one formally recognised computing qualification. Many pupils join mainstream colleges/sixth forms at post-16 where they study a range of different qualifications and subjects following excellent progress from their starting points in Computing and successful completion of the OCR National in ICT or BTEC tech Award in Creative Media Production.
  • Pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their education.
  • Analysis of Computing outcomes and pupil progress indicates that there is little statistical significance between key groups. Where any small differences are identified strategies are implemented swiftly.
  • Computing curriculum is embedded into most subjects through the use of desktop computers in most classrooms and iPads.
  • Personal Development Programme is delivered cross curricular and personalised for individual pupils, pupils develop an understanding of the wider world around them and how they can make a positive impact.
  • Woodlane pupils become IT literate, with transferable skills they take with them into further education and the world of work.
  • Functional skills and life-skills are embedded in the Computing curriculum and are personalised for each pupil.
  • Through the delivery of practical workshops pupils develop self-confidence and leadership skills which has a positive impact on pupil’s self-esteem and self-awareness.
  • Joint targeted interventions by the Computing and SaLT teams ensure pupils are able to articulate their ideas through technology based communication mediums. These are personalised to each pupil based on the outcomes identified within their EHCPs. 

* Please see our annual SEF/SIP for further details.