Family Learning with Code Club

We’re always interested to hear about new ways of engaging different people to learn more about coding and digital making. So when we heard that Leicester Libraries and Leicester City Council’s Family Learning team have been running a pilot project using Code Clubs to encourage parents and children to learn new skills together, we wanted to find out how they had got on.

The pilot was launched in a number of libraries in Leicester. Alison Greet, Family Learning Coordinator for Leicester City Council, told us why they decided to pilot with Code Club: “The Family Learning team wanted a way to work with parents to demystify the coding activities children were covering in school, so that we could help parents to help their children…The training that Code Club was offering gave us a way of piloting a course for parents and children working to code together in our libraries.”

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Running the pilot:

The club sessions ran for six weeks, focussing on Scratch projects in 1.5-hour weekly sessions. Parents and children sat together and worked through the step-by-step instructions. Two staff members ran the sessions; this allowed one to focus on setting everything up, while the other helped out those who needed more support. The clubs encouraged collaborative learning; Sandy Gibbons from Leicester Libraries explained that “the atmosphere is supportive and collaborative with children being encouraged (or, in some cases, invited) to help each other or show ways to extend the projects.”

Alison added, “club leaders are not IT experts, but they found that the projects were easy to follow and deliver with confidence. The structured projects with clear instructions also enable independent learning outside club time. Skills are built logically and reinforced by repetition in later projects. Skills learnt as part of Code Club projects can be used on the Scratch website to create other projects at home.”

The benefits of running a Code Club:

Lots of new friendships were formed in Code Clubs, and with those friendships came increased Robot E copyconfidence. Sandy explains, “one family specifically joined the club due to a child’s difficulties in interacting independently with groups. There was also great feedback from the adults, who reported their pleasure in having a shared interest that they and their child could talk about and work on at home.”

One of the volunteers said, “seeing parents and children working and progressing together is brilliant. The families really grow, taking responsibility for their learning through taking away evaluations to work on at home and continuing with projects in their own time. Code Club encourages parents to learn both alongside their children and independently, seeing how the children learn.”  

There were also fantastic responses from all families at the end of the course: all have asked to be contacted about further Code Club courses:

Robot 003“I really look forward to the Coding Club each week. I spent a lot of time together with my daughter and feel really happy when I see her using her imagination and IT skills. She loves spending time on IT which is great for her future.”

“The projects are challenging, but, with a bit of brainstorming, we figured it out! Good mum-and-son teamwork!”

“Our family really enjoyed this club. It has given us a chance, as a family, to build our child’s confidence. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience Code Club as adults.”

#VolunteersWeek: A star volunteer at a Star Club!

Robin Blackstone is one of our super-talented volunteers who runs a Star Club at Irchester Community Primary School in Northamptonshire.

Star Clubs are outstanding Code Clubs with friendly volunteers and supportive teachers and venue representatives, which are open for new or prospective volunteers to visit as an example of best practice and all round awesomeness.

Robin told us a bit about what inspired him to volunteer with us:


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“I got involved with volunteering for Code Club because I was tinkering with Raspberry Pi computers and wanted to do something to support the educational ethos of the project. When I then stumbled upon Code Club, it was a natural fit. Code Club was the kind of thing I would have loved to have done when I was 10 but didn’t get the opportunity.

I find that there is an enormous sense of satisfaction when a child finally gets their own game working after spotting a critical bug, or when you realise that the children can navigate their way around Scratch quicker than you! As a parent, volunteering at the Code Club has also enabled me become more involved with the school that my daughters attend.

My best Code Club moment was when we took three of our coders to Cambridge to take part in Pi Wars. Together we built and programmed a robot and competed against the “big kids.” We didn’t win but it really inspired the children.

Code Club is important to me, firstly because it is important to the kids in my club. Secondly, because when I was at school an interest in computing made you a nerd. Now, Code Club is helping to make coding cool – even Will.i.am is into it – who would have ever thought!

I am lucky that I finish work in time for Code Club. That said, my employer is supportive, I’m never held back for any reason when it’s time for my club!”


Want to pay a visit to Robin at his Star Club? You can arrange a visit here. Alternatively, you can search for your nearest Star Club on our website: https://www.codeclub.org.uk/star-clubs/visit

Already volunteering and think your Code Club could achieve Star status? You can now apply to become a Star Club here. If you are already a Star Club, you don’t need to reapply, we’ll contact you to tell you how to renew.

#VolunteersWeek: Teacher training with Code Club Pro

Julia Harrison is a volunteer for Code Club’s teacher training arm, Code Club Pro. Code Club Pro asks experts to donate 8 hours per year of their time to share knowledge with teachers in their local areas.

We asked Julia to explain a bit about her work with Code Club Pro, and helping teachers conquer the challenges of the new curriculum:


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“Technology is one of my big passions, and I get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering activities that enable and inspire more children to use computing in their careers. It’s fulfilling to help teachers gain confidence and enthusiasm to teach core computing concepts, and hopefully I can shatter some preconceptions of what it’s like to work in IT along the way!

The new computing curriculum is a great opportunity to open the minds of children to the idea that they can be digital makers – actually creating their own games and computer programs.

For many primary school teachers who have never written a line of code, clearly this is going to be a big leap. I’m thrilled that the IT industry is stepping up to support them, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Code Club Pro makes it easy for us to contribute in a way that adds real value. Morgan Stanley actively encourages all of its employees to volunteer within our communities. My job requires me to attend a lot of meetings, but because I can book Code Club Pro sessions in advance at a time that suits me, and I have the support of my managers, it’s easy to work them into my schedule.

It’s great when teachers start to notice that so many computing concepts are very similar to what they’ve been teaching for years. I’m excited that all children now have the opportunity to learn about coding, both for the career opportunities it opens up, and to understand the technology we use in our daily lives.”


Interested in getting involved in volunteering with Code Club Pro, or want to learn more about attending a teacher training session? Find out more at https://www.codeclubpro.org