As part of Student Volunteering Week, we’re profiling some of the awesome people who work with Code Club student volunteers to run clubs and help inspire the next generation to get excited about coding and digital making.
Chriss McGlone-Atkinson is Network Manager at the Flying Bull Academy and runs the school’s Code Club a alongside student volunteers from the University of Portsmouth. He told us a bit more about why he got involved, and how his club is run…
I first found out about Code Club when I was approached by another member of staff, who was in the process of setting up a reading group with volunteers from the University of Portsmouth. The staff at the University explained to us that they were working with Code Club and asked whether we’d be interested. I’d been looking to set up a coding club, but finding time to prepare resources and run the sessions had been difficult, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a club started. The partnership with the University has taken the entire burden off of me, with well-prepared resources and volunteers willing to run the sessions.
We started our club last year, and run every Monday for an hour. We have approximately fifteen children from years five and six, with many more interested in joining at a later date. There are currently three student volunteers from the University of Portsmouth who run the sessions, and they have been absolutely fantastic for us.
In the club sessions we have been working through the Scratch projects supplied by Code Club, which the children have really engaged with, and look forward to each week.
Last week we had a year 5 pupil who was overjoyed that he had managed to finish one of the projects we’d been working on. He can sometimes struggle to pick up certain instructions, but the structured nature of the projects has enabled him to make steady progress in the weeks since we began the club. The children take real ownership of their projects and work hard to complete them, therefore to see how happy he was just confirmed to me how effective the club has been.
We have now begun using some of the Code Club projects in our computing lessons, and those children who are members of the club have been assisting their teachers in the delivery and support of the lessons. I would expect going forward that we continue this practice, as children take pride in being able to take responsibility for the development of their peers.
Code Club and the University of Portsmouth have been so supportive in helping get our club up and running, having taken out all the stress of resourcing and running the sessions. I’d highly recommend speaking to them if you’re interested in setting up a Code Club.