Access to computing curriculum – initial considerations

Considerations when developing a strategy

Competing demands for time

eSafety is an important component of the Computing curriculum and all pupils, regardless of whether or not they have a VI, need to study this fully. However, other aspects of the Computing curriculum do not address safeguarding issues allowing some flexibility in approach. When developing a strategy to deliver an appropriate Computing curriculum to a pupil, it is worth bearing the following in mind:

  • All pupils have a right to study a broad and balanced curriculum in order to have the opportunity to develop an interest in/enjoyment of/a flair for particular subjects. If it is felt that there may be access issues with Computing then initially it could be presented in breadth but not much depth allowing the teacher to gauge whether Computing is a subject that a pupil is likely to be interested in studying beyond KS3 or want to pursue as a hobby. Professional opinion can then guide a decision on how much of the Computing course continues to be studied and in what depth and if it would be more beneficial to use some of the time to deliver aspects of the specialist curriculum such as the use of assistive technology.
  • Post-16 study and many jobs require basic IT skills. When adapting the Computing curriculum, any aspects that help to develop these skills should be retained.
  • Programming is a very accessible career for people with a vision impairment so consideration should be given to whether this might represent a realistic career option for a pupil when personalising the Computing curriculum.

Are the pre-requisite skills in place?

Fairly early on, pupils will be required to use a computer or tablet to access learning activities for the Computing curriculum. If they need assistive technology (AT), they will need to be competent in using it. e.g. they may need to be able to touch type, use magnification software or use a screen reader. Ideally, forward planning would ensure that the pupil develops the necessary skills before they are needed however, the difficulties faced in delivering the specialist curriculum alongside the mainstream curriculum are well known so this may not be the case. If underdeveloped AT skills are providing a barrier to accessing certain topics within the Computing curriculum then it may be necessary to temporarily withdraw the pupil from these topics (e.g. coding) to focus on AT skills instead. Pupils should not be withdrawn from eSafety topics unless the same information is being delivered in the withdrawal session

How will adapted tasks be planned and delivered?

In order to assess the options for addressing any components of the curriculum that are going to be delivered to the mainstream class in a way that is inaccessible for the pupil with a VI it is necessary to consider who is going to plan and deliver any adapted tasks as that member of staff needs to have an appropriate level of knowledge and skill in Computing.

Questions to consider might be:
• Will the class teacher consider teaching the whole class in an accessible way?
• Can the class teacher teach the pupil with a VI alongside the rest of the class if they are working in a different way?
• Can the QTVI liaise with the class teacher to plan and then deliver adapted tasks?
• Can the class teacher plan adapted tasks for someone else with the appropriate skills to deliver (a school teaching assistant or a member of the VI team)?
• Are after school sessions with the class teacher an option?
• Is staff training needed?

Also in this resource:

Quick guide to choosing a strategy – PDF download

Accessible methods of delivering computing – website page

Strategies for accessing computing tasks – PDF download

Further information and CPD – website page