Schoolchildren in Great Yarmouth gets to grips to computer code with help from Google

Code Club at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy Code Club at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy

Friday, May 16, 2014
10:52 AM

Code experts from Google visited Great Yarmouth today, kickstarting a nationwide tour to fire the imaginations of a generation of British computer whizzes.

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Code Club at Great Yarmouth Primary AcademyCode Club at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy

Code Club has been at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy and Upwell Community Primary School near Wisbech, after both schools were nominated by MPs Brandon Lewis and Liz Truss who are backing an initiative to improve computing education in schools.

From September, changes to the national curriculum will see students from nursery upwards getting to grips with coding and algorithms. At Yarmouth Academy this morning, a classroom of year 6 students designed their own computer games using simplified code. If successful, the primary will start its own after school coding club.

The clubs aim to teach children aged nine to 11 the basics of computer coding.

There are currently over 1,700 Code Clubs in the UK, and 16 in Norfolk.

The scheme has teamed up with Google to run a nationwide tour of schools, so top experts can pass their knowledge on tomorrow’s experts.

ICT manager Mary Williams said it was an exciting step forward for schools, students and teachers.

“Every child has access to a computer now, whether it’s at home, at school or a public library,” said Mrs Williams.

“Years ago schools taught children about Microsoft Word and Powerpoint but now everything is about coding and it’s so important they under code and know what an algorithm is. They are learning how to use computers in the real world.”

Code Club, as an organisation, has set itself the ambitious target of placing volunteers in 5,000 schools around the UK by 2015.

Recruiting more volunteers is critical, as most primary teachers do not know how to code so cannot pass these skills on to students.

Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis sat in on the lesson at Yarmouth Primary Academy and admitted, while he was tech-savy, most youngsters are already a step ahead of adults when it comes to computers.

He said: “Given the increasing importance of technology in our lives, it is vital that we equip our children with the skills needed to keep pace with this change.

“Code Clubs are a great way to give children the opportunity to learn the programming and IT skills the UK will need in the future. I’m delighted to have been able to see this first-hand at Great Yarmouth Primary today”.

Dan Cobley, managing director of Google UK, added: “It goes without saying that coding is a terrifically important skill for our young people. “Learning to code will be vital for the jobs of the future, it makes you better at problem solving and logical thinking, and most of all it is great fun. We started in Glasgow and are travelling the length and breadth of the country to bang the drum for coding in schools, and get local tech experts to volunteer their time and knowledge.”

For more information about Code Clubs visit www.codeclub.org.uk.

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