a Scheme of Work for ICT in Primary Schools
You have been
asked to prepare a scheme of work for ICT.
It can be difficult to know where to start, what to include and how
to make it useful to other teachers. This section goes through:
What a scheme of work is
The QCA scheme of work
Approaches to writing a scheme of work
Implementing your scheme of work.
What is a Scheme of Work?
A written scheme of work has become necessary since schools now have
to be more accountable for what they teach. OFSTED will look at the
scheme of work to see if your school has planned to cover the Programmes
of Study for ICT and if the work is planned at levels appropriate to
pupils' ages. In a similar way parents and governors can look at the
way the work is planned and be reassured that money invested in ICT
is being well used to improve learning. OFSTED will also check to see
if you are using the QCA/DfEE scheme of work; and/or how you have adapted
it to fit your school circumstances.
Generally, a scheme of work will include all the elements of the programme
of study for ICT but divided into sections so that each class teacher
knows what needs to be covered during that year. In addition, a scheme
will include ideas for activities and may include sample lesson plans.
These can be planned together with other subject coordinators to ensure
that ICT is taught, developed and practiced in a number of different
contexts. For example:
Using the same ICT skills, pupils can collect information by using questionnaires
and present it in the form of pie and/or bar charts.
- Unit 8 Improving the Environment. Pupils use a questionnaire to collect
data on the types of rubbish collected over a week and present the information
Unit 4a Moving and Growing. Pupils measure parts of the body; make predictions
related to size and use bar charts or pictograms to present their findings.
Maths - Numeracy
strategy P114 - Organising and interpreting data. Pupils use bar charts
to present information on bus times.
Once the scheme
is completed, it will provide the basis for planning ICT in your school.
The programmes of study when divided up, will state what has to be included
in long term plans over one or two years. Activities show what will
be covered from term to term. Lesson plans will show the learning and
resources in the short term, from day to day.
When you have prepared your scheme, it may be that some parts of the
programme of study will not be taught at the present time. Your scheme
can then be used to show what training needs to be planned or what equipment
purchased. In this way your scheme becomes a statement of how your school
intends to develop ICT over the next one to three years. If it is to
be used in this way it is important that your plans for ICT match with
the school development plan, particularly if funding is needed.
QCA Scheme of Work
The QCA scheme was initially written for teachers to use with their
one or two computers in the classroom. Since the introduction of NGfL
and the increase of computer suites, it can equally be adapted to this
environment. The scheme was written as defined units consisting of short
tasks to systematically develop the skills and knowledge required to
build ICT capability. These are followed by a short integrated task
which uses this expertise. The units taken as a whole comprise the scheme.
Since the introduction of the scheme a further 5 units have been written.
The scheme now delivers the programme of study if used in its entirety.
Nevertheless there are some areas where progression of experience is
still poor. For example the unit on e-mail only occurs in year 3. The
table below shows the spread of the units over experiences based on
skills and knowledge.
Areas of Experience
covered by QCA units :
Using this table
can help to identify where you will need to add to the QCA scheme to
There are a number of issues of progression which the QCA scheme does
Gaps in experiences
as highlighted by the above table
progression which arise if the school only delivers the units in the
year specified. This is generally more of an issue where planning for
Foundation, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are separate and teachers do
not "take" from other year groups when appropriate. See example
are highlighted by mapping the requirements of ICT use by other subjects.
See example 2
Example 1 - Foundation Stage pupils will use ICT across a range
of areas of learning. Young children's experience and capability has
increased since the introduction of the QCA scheme, with the result
that many of the early learning outcomes in the Year 1 units are already
well embedded before Year 1. To add to this, the Year 1 and 2 units
are less taxing than the capabilities of year two pupils who are achieving
Level 3 in other subjects. As a result, you may wish to consider the
introduction of some whole Year 3 units or some elements (ie the short
focussed tasks) before Year 3. Unit 3A on Combining Text and Graphics
is one such example.
Example 2 - The use of Internet is a Year 6 unit. This focuses
on pupils' ability to skim, scan and extract appropriate information,
rather than just keying in a URL to find information. It maps well into
the Literacy strategy for Year 6. Any scheme would need to consider
how the Internet will be introduced to children at a younger age. For
example, Year 2 pupils may access web sites pre-prepared by the teacher
by clicking on a Word file of links. Year 4 pupils will need to develop
skills of using the Internet to fulfill the wide range of expectations
from other subjects. There is no QCA ICT unit to cover the development
of these skills but any tailored scheme would need to address this gap.
See attached table of links with brief outline of learning objectives.
Unit 4 (additional): Internet use
To purposefully navigate a CD ROM or Internet page.
Begin to use search engines and URLs.
Table : Opportunities
to apply and develop ICT techniques, knowledge and capability
identify features of non-fiction texts in print and ICT, eg headings,
lists, bullet points, captions which support the reader in gaining
investigate how reading strategies are adapted to suit the different
properties of ICT texts
7a, 9b To be able to read a range of materials including print and
ICT based reference and information materials (eg dictionaries,
encyclopedias, CD ROMs, Internet)Yr 4, T 2
reading comprehension 17
scan texts in print or on screen to locate key words or phrases,
useful headings and key sentences
4D Solids, liquids and how they can be separated
CD ROMs to illustrate molten metals, or molten lava
4a Moving and growing
of CD ROM to investigate skeleton
10 A village in India
maps, atlases, CD ROM and Internet to find information linked to
Europe, Asia, India and Chembakolli
4a, 4b Find out about the events, people and changes studied from
an appropriate range of sources including ICT based sources. Ask
and answer questions and select and record information relevant
to the focus of the enquiry
9 Second World War
range of research into this topic
6a Roman case study Unit 6b Anglo-Saxon case study Unit 6c Viking
range of research into these topics
10 Ancient Egypt
range of research into this topic
4A How and why do Hindus worship at home and in the mandir?
CD ROMs to investigate the role of the shrine and for further research
4B Celebrations: Christmas journeys
CD ROMs or Internet to to collect pictures showing Israel
4C Why is Easter important for Christians?
4D What religions are represented in our neighbourhood?
Internet or CD ROMs to form part of other research to discover which
religious traditions are represented in our neighbourhood.
ROM used to show movement of the body. Also potential to link to
Unit 4b if digital camera used
In writing the scheme
of work, or adapting the one written by QCA to fit your circumstances,
you will need to take into account the stage of development of the school
in relation to such outside factors such as the NGfL rollout of equipment,
and staff basic skills expertise and when NOF training will be undertaken.
These factors will affect whether you will complete your scheme in one
go or take a piecemeal approach and build it up overtime.
Approaches to writing a Scheme of Work
You can build up a scheme of work in a variety of ways, by:
formalising existing practice - starting from where you are now
one particular part of the ICT curriculum by developing an area eg linked
to NOF training (Literacy, Numeracy or Science)
QCA scheme as a starting point
chronologically starting at Year 1 and progressing through to Year 6.
We will now consider the different approaches to writing a scheme of
work and you can decide which parts can be achieved quickly and which
may be developed over time.
Staff will already be teaching ICT to pupils during the school year
and the scheme of work is a way of formalising what they do by writing
it down. In this case, the scheme of work is a record of current practice,
showing the ICT that is taught on a regular basis. The advantage of
this approach is that the scheme matches what teachers already do and
is based on successful ICT. The disadvantage is that not all of the
programmes of study may be covered and that pupils may have more ICT
in one year than another. It is a quick starting point, however; which
can be added to as you develop areas of ICT. It will also be possible
to check against the QCA scheme , the missing gaps and target training.
on an area of ICT, eg linked to NOF training
This is a way of planning for the development of ICT based on a focus
which can involve all staff. It is likely that you will be working with
all staff during the NOF training linked to the core subjects. This
will enable you to develop ICT capability through the work of specific
subjects. If some staff are still unsure in their approach to ICT there
is an opportunity to develop ICT skills and areas of ICT in a systematic
way. You will need to arrange a staff meeting to discuss the plan of
from the QCA scheme
This is a good strategy to use if ICT is a priority area within your
school and there are a number of staff meetings already allocated to
ICT. You will need to look at the QCA scheme for ICT and divide it up
so that each year group has the required units. Bear in mind Example
1 in the section on Progression. Factors which will influence you
The strength of provision for Early Years
The equipment you have
Whether the school has
a computer suite?
How much time can be
booked for each class - one or two hours a week?
Special projects which
will limit or increase the amount of ICT which can be included.
e.g. A residential
trip or school play may mean increased opportunities for ICT.
The amount of time taken
up by SATs: this may mean that there is reduced time for ICT and so
more needs to be planned in other years to compensate.
All these factors will make a difference to how much ICT can be covered,
and what parts of the programme of study/QCA scheme can be emphasised.
These factors will vary from school to school and it is important that
when you divide up the QCA units they fit with the way your school works.
You could begin by developing the work done in Year I and extend it
to cover the full QCA units so that ICT is secure. The breadth of this
could then be extended year-by-year until all year groups have full
coverage of ICT.
It is for you to consider which approach will suit you and your school
best - you may even want to use a combination of approaches. Whatever
you decide, don't feel you have to complete the whole scheme of work
in one session. There will be an impact on your scheme as children become
better as the scheme and expertise in the school develops. It is unlikely
that year 6 pupils will be able to cover all the Year 6 units at the
start. Staff may still becoming familiar with a new network, with new
software and pupils do not have the full range of skills on which to
activities will go into a scheme of work?
Once we have established what we want pupils to learn we need to decide
which activities to use to make our teaching effective. We must consider
how many experiences pupils will need to be able to achieve what we
want them to learn.
For example, pupils are required to control a robotic toy with a sequence
of instructions. Would they need one, two, three or more experiences
before they were proficient? While this will vary from child to child,
we need to decide on a number for the average child so that we can plan
that number of activities during the school year. The next step is to
look for opportunities within existing work where you could include
ICT activities. Some are more easily included than others. For example,
writing will fit into all areas of the curriculum.
Not all experiences need to come from the same area of the curriculum.
If we think of the example of the robotic toy this could fit into 'direction
giving' in geography 'shape and space' in maths or a topic on toys in
history or technology. This would provide a number of experiences for
children to develop their learning.
The table below shows specific links for ICT Unit 1F to other areas
of the curriculum
1F Understanding instructions and making things happen
Table : Opportunities
to apply and develop ICT techniques, knowledge and capability
Number 1f :To be able to communicate in spoken, pictorial and written
Space and measures 1b To be able to select and use appropriate mathematical
equipment when solving problems involving measures
1 spring 86-88 Measure, shape and space
directions. Devise instructions to make a floor robot reach a particular
1D Light and Dark
of torches / switches
2 How can we make our local area safe?
crossings controlled in a predefined sequence by the press of a
When we are considering
activities, there will be some which need continuing attention and which
fit easily into normal curriculum activities and others which are better
planned in a topic and which may not be repeated so often. ICT activities
based on writing, painting and handling data to produce graphs and answer
questions will normally be carried out regularly perhaps every half
term. Those activities using adventure programs and Logo type activities
will perhaps be carried out once or twice a year when they can be incorporated.
You will need to check that pupils are getting an adequate experience
of all the programme of study over a key stage. This can be monitored
by checking the planned activities against the areas and deciding if
there are enough of each type of activity to develop learning. The other
check that needs to be made is whether the activities are pitched at
the correct level to help children progress in their learning. This
can be done by looking at the level descriptions issued by QCA and reproduced
here in the section on Assessment.
How will lessons be planned in a scheme of
It is unlikely that all the activities in your scheme of work will be
broken down and planned as lessons. However we have found it a useful
exercise to clarify exactly what is to be taught, what methods are most
appropriate and what resources need to be gathered together so that
teaching can be effective. It may be that detailed planning reveals
that the teacher needs to prepare and understand the programme better
before it can be taught or that pupils need a reminder of previous work
before they can begin. Even if this does not apply to you, it may be
a useful way of supporting another teacher in developing his or her
use of ICT.
Implementing the scheme
Once the scheme of work is complete you will need to make sure that
it is used by all staff. If you have been able to consult regularly
with staff and the activities have been tried and introduced gradually
the scheme may only need reviewing from time to time.
Strategies that work well include:
the scheme of work as a basis for teachers to identify their training
needs by looking at which activities they can do and which they will
need help to do. Support can then be planned and more of the scheme
an area where everyone feels weak and working on that together perhaps
after focusing on it in a development day. This can be used to review
the appropriateness of the activities in the scheme of work and how
well they fit into everyday teaching.
that when other curriculum areas are reviewed, ICT opportunities are
discussed and tried out.
Whichever scenario fits your school, the best method is to implement
your scheme in a gradual and planned way. A simple proforma can help
you identify how the QCA schemes and other opportunities in the curriculum
can be planned across the year. For example:
Table : Scheme
of Work / Planning Sheet with example entry for Year 3
Text and pictures
Geography - features
of a rainforest
Science - characteristics
of materials (kitchens)
- Cystal Rainforest
Geography - detrimental
effects of rainforest
History - Greek Gods
This is a basic
starting point for linking the QCA schemes of work to subject contexts.
However there is a need to develop further links over time to consolidate
the application of ICT Capability to the wider curriculum.