UK primary schools get coding clubs


Camden becomes first Local Authority in England to introduce computer programming clubs in all its primary schools

The London, UK borough of Camden has announced its intention to become the first Local Authority in England to launch computer programming clubs for primary school children. The initiative will help to create mobile developers of the future in the UK, which suffers from a low number of students gaining qualifications that then allow them to go on to become developers and programmers.

From September, the London Borough of Camden plans to introduce computer programming clubs in all of the 41 maintained primary schools in its borough. Working in partnership with Code Club, the not for profit organisation responsible for establishing a national network of 900 volunteer-led, after-school coding clubs, Camden Council is hoping to give the children in the borough an early opportunity to develop the creativity and skills necessary to succeed at school and in the future jobs market.

Other organisations involved in the partnership are Google and University College London (UCL), which will be providing volunteers for the scheme. Expert developers from Google and students from UCL's Faculty of Engineering Sciences will run the after-school coding clubs for the children.

Councillor Theo Blackwell of Camden Council, said: 'Last year there were no pupils in Camden's schools taking computing at A-level. As in other local authorities, pupils have been put off by a boring ICT curriculum and a failure to make coding relevant and exciting. Camden wants to lead the way in changing this, taking advantage of the new curriculum.

'With a new curriculum coming in next year there is a new buzz from our fast-developing tech sector. Voluntary initiatives like Code Club will help embed the learning happening in our schools, allowing kids to code and create apps for themselves outside of the classroom and start a love of programming from an early age.'

Last month Smart Chimps spoke to <a href='../FullArticle.aspx?newsid=1507'>Apps for Good CEO, Iris Lapinski</a>, who told Smart Chimps that the rising popularity of computer programming and coding in the UK was a sign of government and teachers working towards the same cause. She said at the time: 'This is about top down and bottom up; From the top we have curriculum changes being made, and from the bottom we see teachers showing their growing discontent with the ICT curriculum as it doesn't encourage students. Now, there is freedom from the top to be innovative on the curriculum, but we wouldn't be growing so fast if there wasn't demand and need for this in schools.'

The Camden initiative provides a unique opportunity for pupils in the borough's primary schools to learn to code from a global leader in the technology business and a world renowned higher education institution, and also allows their teachers to establish strong cross sector relationships and to harness the support of volunteers based in the local area.

His Royal Highness the Duke of York, KG, Patron of Code Club, launched the partnership this week at an event for teachers from all of Camden's forty one maintained primary schools, as part of HRH's continued efforts to raise awareness of the need to educate children in science and technology.

Clare Sutcliffe, co-Founder and CEO of Code Club, said: 'This partnership between Google, UCL Engineering, Camden Council and Code Club shows what can happen when innovative people get together to create change and improve opportunities for our next generation. Camden has shown that they are a forward thinking council and we would like other councils around the country to get in touch to discuss how we might do something similar in their area.'

It is also hoped that the hands-on, experience-based approach of the scheme will inspire the children and help foster a life-long passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.


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