Is there any advice on creating a scheme of work?

A scheme of work must cover the relevant programmes of study for the age range and subject area(s). It should be made up of a progressive series of units of work (which must be planned and constructed in order to maximise continuity and progression), with signposted opportunities for assessment.

The recommended elements of a scheme of work are:

  • Theme/topic (setting a challenge or hook at the start of unit)

  • Mapping to the programme of study or your interpreted breadth and depth of the subject

  • Durations

  • Learning Activities

  • Differentiation

  • Resources

  • Assessment opportunities (formative/summative)

  • If any trips are planned

How do I begin planning a Scheme of Work

An excellent start is by watching Miles Berry in the DfE funded CAS QuickStart Computing on taking your first steps towards developing your Computing Curriculum.

Begin by reviewing your existing schemes of work for curriculum coverage. Then decide which of your existing Schemes of Work need to be:

  • removed because they do not meet any of the learning outcomes associated with the Computing curriculum;

  • adapted so that they better meeting the learning outcomes; or

  • supplemented, especially with the learning outcomes associated with computational thinking.

How do I plan lessons with computational thinking embedded?

The planning, teaching and evaluation cycle is recognised as good practice. The planning phase of this cycle needs to be adjusted, to ensure that your lessons are underpinned by computational thinking.

A four-step cycle to planning lessons with computational thinking embedded, the first three of the four steps of which are already explicit in teachers planning process; it is the fourth step that is new to teachers.

The four steps of the lesson planning process are:

The evaluation of lessons and the assessment of pupil progress will feed back to Step 2 to 4, determining the next ‘what’ of the curriculum.

How do I define the challenge?

To encourage engagement, identify a real world focus for activities, ideally by making relevant cross curriculum links to other subject. These should be gender-neutral where appropriate. The real world context might be about technology, people or both.

This should give motivation to all learners in the sense of "Why is this area important to understand?" or "Why is this problem a useful one to solve?". The 'why' for learners should be deeper than "because the teacher says I have to learn it".

The learners are a great source of inspiration for identifying real life focuses for schemes of work as it is important that they relate to the real world context. Another great starting point is the Computer Science for Fun (CS4FN) resources, or working with local secondary specialist teachers, academics and industry professionals, who are excellent sources of ideas and support.

Note: It is important to choose appropriate and scalable challenges that incorporate relevant hooks for the learners.

In this example, the 'why' can be described in a way that shows relevance to learners' everyday lives. For primary school age learners this may relate to daily tasks, such as following a recipe, devising a storyboard or giving a set of instructions to carry out a task like ‘which way do you go home?’.

Learners can take responsibility for their own learning and develop confidence in both computing and computational thinking through project based learning. Learners can ask questions and understand why particular topics are being taught, regardless of the subject.

How do I identify what to teach my learners?

The Learning Outcomes for lessons should be drawn from the National Curriculum or at a more granular level using the CAS Computing Progression Pathways.

Relevant learning statements are identified by considering the learners' prior experience and attainment. It should enable learners to move closer to completing or achieving the 'why' from The Planning Process - Step 1: Defining the challenge.

How do I identify what activities to teach my learners?

Once learning outcomes have been established it is important to identify appropriate activities to support this learning.

There might be multiple activities to be undertaken by learners to achieve either learning outcomes identified or the high level learning statements.

You could seek inspiration from various commercial and non-commercial education suppliers by referring to the CAS Primary and Secondary QuickStart Computing packs. See the Further Guidance section for alternatives.

So I’ve read the guidance but how do I identify the computational thinking?

This is the extra step in the planning process that needs to be completed to meet the aims of the national curriculum to embed computational thinking. The relationship is between the computational thinking skills and the activity chosen by the teacher to meet the learning outcome. 

The computational thinking skill concepts are already identified and mapped in the CAS Computing Progression Pathways. The CAS computational thinking teacher guidance document ( explains the concepts and the specific computational thinking techniques and approaches. The Computing Progression Pathways incorporates the concepts of computational thinking using the initials: 

  • AL for Algorithm
  • DE for Decomposition
  • GE for Generalisation (Patterns)
  • AB for Abstraction
  • EV for Evaluation

After selecting an activity you now need to evaluate it for the computational thinking opportunities. Use the mapping from Step 3 of the planning process combined with the CAS Computing Progression Pathways to direct you to the appropriate list of techniques/approaches listed in the CAS computational thinking teacher guidance, essentially to determine the 'how'. The image below illustrates the list of techniques/approaches that were identified by a teacher from an example activity.

For example, the Activity in the infographic maps to Algorithms / Pink / Statement 2 (Understands that computers need precise instructions). That statement is aligned to Algorithmic Thinking. You can then choose from the list of associated computational thinking techniques/approaches available in the CAS Computational Thinking Framework.




These Frequently Asked Questions are adapted from a free series of FAQ guidance published by Progression Pathways. For a greater breadth and depth of questions and answers on a range of Computing and Technology Enhance Learning topics please visit Progression Pathways  website