Sixth form–led Code Clubs at Calday Grange Grammar School

Since we extended Code Club’s age range to include secondary school ages up to 13 last year, we’ve seen a number of new approaches to running Code Clubs.

Nicola Mounsey, Computer Science Teacher at Calday Grange Grammar School, talks about how their sixth form students have become volunteers and helped to build a Code Club which includes pupils from local primary schools.

2

We’ve been running our Code Club since September 2016. We came up with a model where we run Code Clubs on an eight-week cycle with a rota of local primary schools.

First, we contact local primary schools, aiming at ones where their pupils haven’t had the opportunity to attend a Code Club yet.

Once we have our attendees, 20 children from the local area travel to Calday Grange Grammar School to participate in the club each week. The sessions are facilitated by me and three of our sixth formers. Occasionally, some of our year 9 and 10 students join in too.

1

We have a flexible approach, tailoring the choice of projects in each eight-week block of sessions depending on the experience of the children, ranging from Scratch projects for beginners through to Python and micro:bit projects for the more experienced learners.

Where necessary, we have the knowledge amongst our volunteers to give one-to-one support or help with more in-depth projects. That said, one of the key benefits of drawing our groups from local schools is that the children in each group are mostly at the same level.

 

There are many advantages to this way of running our club. Firstly, children have a fantastic opportunity to learn about coding that they may not get in school. Secondly, I work with primary teachers in the local area who have asked for training, and I support them to teach programming to their students. Thirdly, our students are developing their mentoring skills, which benefits them both now and in the future. Some of them are accruing volunteering hours for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and volunteering is also something they can put on their UCAS form and their CV.

To sum up, we have an appraoch for running Code Club that is student-led, active, and fun. Our student volunteers build up great relationships with the children, in a way that the club members might not do with adults, since they feel more comfortable with the student volunteers. Our volunteers are vital to running the clubs, and we’re extremely lucky in that whenever students leave to go to university, we have many more in our STEM club waiting to step up and help us.

3

If you’re a teacher and would like to start a Code Club in your school, you can get started today by registering on the Code Club website.

Are you running a club like this one with older students supporting younger coders? Code Club are  interested in inspiring 6th formers to volunteer and would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at support@codeclub.org.uk 

Meet the 2018 Code Club Champions

We’re very proud to be introducing our Code Club Champions for 2018!

Code Club Champion logo v1-01

What is a Code Club Champion?

Our Champions are a small group of volunteers from across the UK who we’ve invited to get involved in some extra activities to help us develop and grow Code Club.

“It’s a blast being a Champion. I’m always happy to share my experiences, enthusiasm, and the benefits of volunteering for the children and myself with others.”
– Bob Bilsland, Code Club Champion

Who are the 2018 Champions?

Code_Club_Champions_Map_v4 (6)

What do Code Club Champions do?

For one year, Champions will get involved in various activities to help us improve the services and support we offer.

Trying out new projects and giving feedback

We’re always working to create new projects, such as the Scratch 3 and Sonic Pi projects we released last year. Our Champions will help us to test the projects in order to ensure they are easy to follow and bug-free.

Testing new content such as online courses

At the end of 2017, we released our first free online course, Prepare to Run a Code Club, with FutureLearn, and we will continue to curate more content over the coming year. Code Club Champions will be some of the first to work through the courses before they’re released to our community of Code Club volunteers.

Contributing to blogs and magazine articles

Code Club Champions will be contributing to this blog and the Code Club Twitter Chats, and you may even see them making an appearance in The MagPi magazine and Hello World.

You may also see them at your local meetup, so make sure to say hi!

Be a Champion in 2019

Our 2018 Champions caught our attention through their tireless dedication to the Code Club community, attending meetups, offering advice, being active on Twitter, and providing us with content for our blog. If you’d like to be considered as a Code Club Champion for 2019 and help us support our community, have a word with your Regional Coordinator to see how you can become involved.

Code Club in 2018

Happy new year! As we kick off the new year full of energy and ideas, Maria Quevedo, Director of Code Club, tells us what the Code Club team has planned for the year ahead.

2017 was a great year for Code Club

We welcomed almost 2000 new clubs to our community. A massive thank you to all of you who made this possible — there would be no Code Clubs without our dedicated community that shares our mission to inspire the next generation to get excited about computing and digital making.

ezgif-1-905a54713d

We also expanded our programme to include 12- and 13-year-olds, with 350 secondary schools coming on board as a result. As part of the expansion, we added six new advanced Scratch projects to our range of resources.

We also launched our free online training course about how to run a Code Club on the FutureLearn platform.

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 16.24.11

We had an amazing 2611 people from all across the world sign up for the first course run — from the UK to Mexico, and from the USA to Mongolia!

Our ambitions for 2018

We will continue to increase our visibility in the secondary school sector to make even more schools aware that we now have projects aimed at older coders in Key Stage 3 and S1.

Our Regional Coordinators will continue to be at hand to support our community and run meetups and training sessions. We will expand this support into the Republic of Ireland, and will be recruiting a new Regional Coordinator to grow the Code Club community there.

20170502_174136

We’re going to improve our website so that it’s much simpler for potential venue hosts and volunteers to get involved and to tell us about their availability. Knowing what’s happening in your club and what your plans are helps us enormously to provide better support for you, so we will be looking at ways to make it easier for you to talk to us.

Finally, we will be running more competitions and giveaways exclusively for active clubs, so make sure your club is set to active on your profile, and check your inbox regularly for announcements.

I very much enjoyed looking at the amazing projects you sent us for the festive competition — personally, I can’t wait to see more work by our talented club members!

Here’s to another awesome year of code!