We’re a Pioneer school and have been working on the Digital Competence Framework Computational Thinking strand. That’s a mouthful in itself, and talking to colleagues from our cluster in North Wales, we soon realised that for fellow teachers to understand the Framework we needed to offer support. So working with Ysgol Cynfran, a local school from our cluster, we hosted sessions after school. To start we wanted to help them understand how they might begin to deliver the DCF.
Despite their trepidation, when the Cynfran staff arrived they were all up for the challenge and well engaged in the discussion about children’s digital competence. They soon also discovered – as will staff in many schools I think – that they were already meeting, and in some cases exceeding the needs of the framework in some areas. What they needed was a little direction and time to plan ahead.
Mark Emberton from Cynfran said:
“Initially we had a ‘DCF Week’ to give focus to the types of skills that were covered and applied. After this we built the DCF into our mid-term planning, seeking and selecting topic areas and activities.”
Building on this, we set about looking at the schemes of work across the key phases in the school and highlighted what was already good practice. We agreed that over the next half term or so staff would take some ideas back to school, trial them with classes and refine their planning before our next meeting.
The following session took the same form, highlighting what was working well in their school, using this as a catalyst to further embed the framework into their teaching.
“The DCF has been a regular feature on staff meeting agendas with open discussion on ideas for progression. Personally, I have found the document fairly easy to understand and fit into my termly planning. I have been successful in using software I might not have used in as much detail. It has also changed my approach to planning activities and skills throughout the curriculum; I will monitor and assess the way I instil the DCF into my planning and how I can use it to continue to monitor the teaching and learning opportunities in the classroom.”
When the final support session with Cynfran came around following the release of the DCF proper, we were blown away with what they returned with. It was mapped across their schemes of work across all year groups. And they have taken it further, introducing a coding club and a ‘Digital’ club after school, increasing use of Hwb to incorporate surveys for cyber-safety, and they even have Year 4 working alongside Year 3 planning a unit of work.
Despite fears and obvious concerns over CPD, it’s clear that tackling elements of the DCF in a planned way, over time, has ensured that Ysgol Cynfran are in the best place possible to ensure their children are getting the Framework delivered by staff whose growing confidence is having a positive effect in the classroom.
Allen Heard, Ysgol Bryn Elian