How the National Centre for Computing Education can help your Code Club

Whether you’re a teacher just starting out on your Code Club journey, or you have been running a Code Club for many years, the National Centre for Computing Education can support you and your professional development. 

We invited Paul Thornton, Network Education Lead for the National Centre for Computing Education, to share with us what the programme is and what support is available for teachers in England who are running a Code Club or looking at setting up a Code Club in their school. 

A primary school classroom, with a row of three boys are sat at a desk working on laptops. 
Classroom displays can be seen in the background, along with a Code Club volunteer.
Children learning to code at Welwyn St Mary’s Primary School Code Club

What is the National Centre for Computing Education? 

The National Centre for Computing Education was established in November 2018, backed by £84 million of government funding. It is led by a consortium of STEM Learning, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

The National Centre is working to equip teachers in England with the skills and confidence to teach the new, reformed computer science curriculum, with the aim to encourage more participation in the subject at GCSE and A level.

“Our vision is for every child in every school in England to have a world-leading computing education.”  

– National Centre for Computing Education

How will it benefit teachers running Code Clubs?  

If you’re a teacher running a Code Club, the National Centre for Computing Education offers a number of opportunities that you can access for free, including training, resources, and local support for both primary and secondary school teachers.

A young Code Club girl is sat at a desk smiling whilst looking at her laptop. Knelt down beside her is a female volunteer who is looking at the laptop and is smiling too.
A young Code Club member sharing her project

Professional development

The National Centre for Computing Education provides free online and face-to-face training on a variety of topics and skills, with something to suit everyone. 

This includes a wide range of pedagogy-based courses for Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 3, which offer ready-to-implement teaching techniques, from ‘unplugged’ activities to programming lessons.

You may also be interested in the Computer Science Accelerator Programme, which can help you develop the subject knowledge needed to teach GCSE Computer Science. Although this programme is aimed at KS4, upskilling to this level will increase your confidence to set up and run a club for 9- to 13-year-olds. 

Resources

A growing collection of learning resources are available for free on the National Centre for Computing Education website. These resources offer a wealth of inspiration to help you run your club, including teacher guides and activities. 

Community support

Wherever you live in England, there are local experts on hand to support you to set up a Code Club, access equipment, and share your experiences with other teachers: 

  • Computing Hubs provide local, responsive, and tailored support for teachers across England. Soon the Hubs will also have physical kits that schools can borrow, which is perfect for trying something new at your Code Club.
  • Subject Matter Experts are situated across England and can support you and your school to set up your own Code Club.
  • CAS Communities (run by Computing at School) are networks of Computing teachers that share expertise, resources, and best practice, including sharing tips and advice from clubs that they have run.
A Code Club leader is sat at a desk, looking at  printed copy of Code Club project.
A Code Club leader trying out a project

Get started with Code Club and the National Centre for Computing Education

If your school is looking at setting up a Code Club, start your journey today and find out how you and your school can get involved. You can also keep up-to-date with Code Club news on Facebook and Twitter

Register for free on the National Centre for Computing Education website to find the latest news and courses. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to be the first to know about any new opportunities available to you and your school. 

Girls leading the way

In early January we were introduced to a group of inspirational young female Code Club ambassadors who are making a difference at their primary school, RGS The Grange in Worcestershire.

Millie, Daya, Lily and Rosie are all aged 11. They talked to us about how their club is encouraging more girls into coding.

RGS The Grange

RGS The Grange is a Code Club Star Club and runs a well-attended club on Thursdays working on projects ranging from Scratch, Robotics, Python, Makey Makey and lots more!

Millie, Daya, Lily and Rosie were regular attendees at this club, but they wanted to encourage more girls to get involved and learn how to code.


The Thursday Club was packed full of boys and we thought we needed more girls to learn how to code.

– Rosie, a young Code Club ambassador

Let’s start our own club!

With the girl’s imagination sparking, they approached their teacher Matt Warne about starting a girls-only Code Club.


The girls came to me with this idea of launching their very own Code Club, without hesitation, I gave them a lunchtime slot which I could help facilitate, we then planned the logistics behind launching a club.

– Matt Warne, Head of Computing & IT, RGS The Grange

The launch of the new Code Club

With support and guidance from Matt, the girls launched their new Code Club, which they called Girls Can Code. The club was aimed at young girls from years three and four, and takes place on Friday lunchtimes led by the female Code Club ambassadors. The girls are working through Code Club projects and are currently looking at Lost in Space.  


We hoped girls would give up their playtime to learn to code.

– Daya, a young Code Club ambassador


It inspired me to help other people to code. People are looking up to me, I like helping people and that’s a good feeling.

– Lily, a young Code Club ambassador

Matt Warne shared this:


The girls who lead the club have developed fantastic social skills and support our year three and four pupils incredibly well within the session.

– Matt Warne, Head of Computing & IT, RGS The Grange

When I grow up…

We wanted to know if the young ambassadors had thought about how they could use their coding experience in their future career:

Rosie wants to be a Computer Scientist and knows that this coding club will really help her achieve this – “Code is part of my life. I like to Code, I do it as a hobby and it’s fun!”

Millie said that coding is fun and that she going to carry on learning so she can get better.

Daya shared that she knows that her coding experience is something that she can take with her into other industries.

Having girls like Millie, Daya, Lily and Rosie leading the way for other young female coders, the future is in safe hands. We can’t wait to hear what they plan to work on next – whatever it is we know they have the determination and drive to succeed!

A final comment from the school


This club has been a huge success and is a testament to the art of empowering pupils. They have learnt as much as the pupils they inspire within the session.

– Matt Warne, Head of Computing & IT, RGS The Grange

We love to celebrate our young female role models. Are you working with inspiring young female coders or female volunteers? Share their achievements with us by reaching out to us on Facebook and Twitter or email us at support@codeclub.org.