Cambridge Catalyst Issue 08 Web


Best in class Other Cambridgeshire schools aren’t slacking either, with St Mary’s offering a notably glowing example of doing computer science right. The journey starts for reception- age students, who are taught basic concepts of computational thinking by learning about sequences of instructions and the need to ensure that they are precise, accurate and in the correct order. From there, it’s on to playing with Bee-Bots (small wheeled robots resembling bees), pressing colourful buttons to navigate them along a route towards a destination, and

gaining collaborative and problem- solving skills along the way. In year 1 and year 2, the pupils are introduced to ScratchJr – a piece of software that offers sequences of command functions to create animations and trigger on-screen events – before developing simple computer games and the basics of Crumble programming in years 3 and 4. By the time the students reach years 5 and 6, they’re able to build upon their coding skills and utilise a range of coding languages and user interfaces including Logo, HTML, Python and C. This comprehensive approach yields benefits far beyond nurturing

computer-savvy students, says Andrew Severy, the school’s computer science co-ordinator. “Computational thinking skills such as logic, abstraction and evaluation, and their associated approaches, such as exploration, perseverance and collaboration, are key life skills for our girls to learn in the 21st century – and they are all immensely

IMAGES Pupils at King’s Ely having funwith tech, and Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton

transferable to other curriculum areas,” he enthuses. “Students

quickly discover these parallels and apply them to great advantage in their work, not just in the more obviously connected disciplines of maths and science, but in English, history, art, music and many other areas, both at school and in the wider world.” He continues: “By fostering all of their talent and enthusiasm at an early age and providing stimulating opportunities for the development of these essential 21st-century skills,

Every student uses technology, so it is vital that they have a good understanding of how it works"




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