Code Club - A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11

An IT colleague of mine recently told me about Code Club and I thought it might be of interest to the community here in Wandsworth.

In a nutshell Code Club is “A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11”.

A volunteer who knows “programming” goes to their local primary school, with specially written projects, to teach children 9-11 how to program. Many primary schools already run after school clubs with sports, crafts, music and dance being typical options.

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The Code Club website puts venues and volunteers together. Volunteers are all CRB checked and it’s only an hour a week of their time. Code Club provides a set of projects to follow and provide plenty of support. The initial projects are based on the software application “Scratch”, a free software package designed to teach programming to children.

Some of the venues already setup or looking for a volunteer:

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Why the need?

With universities bemoaning the lack of ability amongst computer science undergraduates to do anything other than play games, getting a fundamental understanding of how computer software works at an early stage can only be a good thing.

I remember as a child copying programmes from computer magazines into my father’s Spectrum and later BBC Micro and thereby gaining a basic understanding of how computers worked (tracking down the missing semicolon is not unusual today!) but this kind of activity has been completely lost with the much higher level of sophistication of today’s software applications.

My oldest child is entering secondary school this September and I must have visited a dozen or so secondary schools in Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea. I asked each one, and only one of these had a Raspberry PI. This cheap, small computer is a great teaching aid – setup after the founders became concerned about the year-on-year decline in the numbers and skills levels of the A Level students applying to read Computer Science.

Considering IT Jobs make the top ten highest professions (read here) why not prepare children for this interesting and well paid career?

There are over 2000 clubs already, but with around 17,000 primary schools in the UK, there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved.

Other related organisations include CoderDojo, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First