Code Clubs share their highlights from 2019!

With 2019 coming to a close, we asked Star Clubs in the UK and clubs around the world to share their highlights from the past year.

Young boy working at a computer with Zoe from Code Club smiling looking over his shoulder at the screen he is working on.
Zoe from Code Club visiting a club in London

From robots to outer space! 

From having code run in space with Astro Pi, to showcasing great ideas at Coolest Projects, to creating a robot named Meriden, 2019 has proved to be an awesome year! We asked Lucia Manzitti, the Head of Code Club UK and Ireland, to share her highlight of 2019: 

For me, it was visiting the fantastic Burnside Primary School in Cramlington, where Shona and Joanne have been running the Code Club for 2.5 years. It was wonderful to see the children’s eyes sparkle when they showed me their digital creations! 

As the year comes to an end, I would like to thank all of the educators and volunteers, who do an amazing job inspiring the next generation of coders and digital makers. 

To celebrate another fantastic year, we asked educators and volunteers to share a story from their Code Club. Read on to find out their highlights of 2019! 

Coding can take you anywhere (even space)!

“The enthusiasm of our young coders and energy from our growing volunteer team saw Longlevens Code Club shoot for the stars. Aisha (8) and Ruban (10) launched a joint entry into the Astro Pi: Mission Zero challenge and saw their code run in space! 

The local radio station thought it was mission impossible, but an interview with the young coders proved that coders can! It was great publicity for the club, and we saw our club numbers increase. Go Longlevens Code Club, we are so proud of you!” Longlevens Code Club, UK

Celebrating successes is important!

“A highlight would be the celebration event to mark our Code Club being awarded Star Club status.

It was an awesome way for our hard work to be recognised; it shows how well we have built a community through Code Club, not just with the kids who attend and create and have fun, but also with their parents and guardians. It’s great to see groups of adults and children working together to experiment and tinker, and they all have that sense of belonging. The celebration is probably my favourite moment of my Code Club volunteering experience so far.” Leeds Library Code Club, UK

Image of a screen with a HTML project called the website of Jimmy
The website of Jimmy! A great project from a club member at Leeds Library Code Club.

There are lots of people who love to code!

“We joined as a Growth Leader 12 months ago and have established more than 50 Code Clubs in public schools across Malaysia. 

In November, we ran a Coolest Projects event in Penang to give the children an opportunity to showcase their great ideas. Over 110 children from across Malaysia showcased 54 projects. They talked to the judges and the public about their work. One even borrowed a fridge from their hotel to complete their project after the airline didn’t let them fly with it!” Penang Science Cluster, Growth Leader for Malaysia

It’s fun learning new skills! 

“Our Code Club members have enjoyed being creative with the sound feature in Scratch. One member used the sounds section to copy and paste different sound clips together. She made a sound collage and then wanted to play it to the volunteers. We were so pleased, we gave her a certificate for creativity!” Jubilee Crescent Library Code Club, UK

“This term, we were determined to try robots using the skills we had learned from Code Club projects. We have started to create our own robot, ‘Meriden Robot’! The students have been learning to program with Python and micro:bit with support from volunteers Jon and John. So far, the children have been working on stop/start, speed variation, circling, forward, and reverse.” Meriden Code Club, UK

A photograph of the Meriden robot being held in a gentleman's hand
Meet Meriden the robot!

Creating inspiring learning environments! 

“From being involved in the community since we launched our Code Club, we have learned so much from the kids, and from being leaders. We want to continue learning, and to keep offering kids a free, fun learning environment where they can feel like they can become anything they want.” Coding Doctors Kids Club, Miami, Florida

Two female Code Club leaders smiling  in blue T-shirts.
Leaders from the Coding Doctors Kids Club

“Our Code Club has been running for three years. Children come with their own ideas, and sometimes, projects that they have already started! Our volunteers help and support them in taking those ideas further, showing them how to fix bugs, solve problems, or explore other opportunities.” Cullompton Library Code Club, UK

Hear from Code Club members! 

We asked the children at Woodland Grange Code Club, UK, what their highlights of this term have been. Some talked about enjoying the sessions:

“I like making the projects. They take a long time and are quite tricky, but in the end, you can play the games and see what you’ve achieved.”

“I have fun and have learnt a lot.”

Some talked about what they have learnt:

“I like creating variables, which I can use in my own projects.”

“Code Club has helped me to understand Scratch.” 

And some talked about projects that they have enjoyed:

“I like Rock band because it’s musical.”

A gif of the Rock band animation - featuring a female singer on a stage wearing a pink dress.
Has your club had fun with Rock band?

What has your Code Club’s highlight been this year? Share it with us on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World and use the hashtag #MyCodeClub.

Innovative project inspires Brighton students to volunteer

In 2018, we launched a pilot project in Brighton with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College to recruit students as Code Club volunteers. Four students from the college worked with the City Academy Whitehawk, a local primary school, to set up and run a Code Club — a valuable, exciting, and innovative opportunity for them!

The starting point

Dan Powell, Code Club Programme Manager, and Anna Pearson, Code Club Regional Coordinator for Yorkshire and the North East, initiated the project. The starting point was to find a college that was keen to get involved.

Dan met Emma Harrington, Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, at the Brighton Science Festival. Emma was excited about the opportunity this pilot would offer her students, and so the college was found!

‘’I wanted our students to experience the breadth of opportunities within the digital careers landscape. I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for our students to be able to work with Code Club and offer school children the chance to tap into essential IT and digital skills that the future workforce requires.”

– Emma Harrington, Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

Recruiting student volunteers

To start recruiting student volunteers to run a Code Club, Dan and Anna developed a step-by-step guide for the college. This resource provided guidance for the lecturer on volunteer recruitment and training. For the students, the resource included all the information they needed to set up and run a 12-week club.

Emma used this guide to recruit four student volunteers who would set up and run a Code Club at City Academy Whitehawk.

‘’I felt that it was important for us to recruit the ‘right’ candidates for the role of student Code Club facilitator. The application and interview process outlined in the guide allowed us to review the candidate’s suitability for the role in order to ensure that students interests and goals were matched to our outcomes.”  

– Emma Harrington, Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

Finding a primary school to collaborate with  

Emma reached out to the City Academy Whitehawk, a local primary school in Brighton, and arranged a preliminary meeting to talk through the proposed pilot idea. This meeting was followed up with the student volunteers and the primary school staff to finalise the details.

How does Code Club work at City Academy Whitehawk?

The Code Club runs weekly during term time and is attended by eight children from Years 4, 5, and 6. The student volunteers from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College are supported by members of staff from the academy.

With guidance from the student volunteers, the children are working through the Code Club Scratch projects and creating their own games and animations with code.

Student volunteer Sydney shares her experience of taking part in the programme:

“I liked working with the kids, they were enthusiastic about coding and the projects were very simple for them to follow and complete. And they were able to ask us questions when they struggled.”

– Sydney Lichauco, Brighton MET Student and Code Club volunteer

What’s next for Greater Brighton MET College?

‘’I would like to continue to develop further links by offering the school children opportunities to be involved in digital tasters here at Brighton MET College.

Every digital college should incorporate this scheme into their programme! This provides real work experience for our students, not just centred on games design, but to develop related skills relevant to the industry. It enables students to pass on technical skills, as well as to develop teaching and planning skills, and to gain further invaluable experience of teamwork. It also reinforces the core professional skills that we teach and nurture here at Brighton MET.”

– Emma Harrington, Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

If you work within a college and are interested in setting up a student-led Code Club, reach out to us at support@codeclub.org.

Students! We need you!

Are you a student keen to share your skills and spare time to help inspire the next generation? Then we want you to become a volunteer for Code Club!

Code Clubs are weekly coding sessions for children aged 9-11, which take place in schools, community centres and libraries across the UK (and in countries around the world!).

Whether you already have computer programming knowledge, or you’re keen to learn coding for yourself, volunteering with us is a great way to expand your skillset – and have fun doing it!

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Student volunteers who have already got started running clubs have this to say:

“I really enjoy being part of Code Club because I get the opportunity to share my knowledge with others. I didn’t know any HTML before I started running my club, so I actually got to teach myself something useful as well! As a busy student, volunteering with a club gives you the chance to leave work aside for a moment, and work on your communication skills, patience and social engagement.”
– Abbas Tutcuoglu, Imperial University. Read more from Abbas here.

“As a Computer Science student, running a Code Club has been a great opportunity to inspire kids and see how great coding truly is.”
– Shalom Ayidu

“As someone who particularly enjoys coding, I relished the opportunity to get students involved and interested in coding and Code Club presented the perfect way to do this.”
– Zak Batinica, NUCATS

Increasingly, employers are looking for graduates who can help plug a growing digital skills gap – in 2013, a report by O2 revealed that Britain will need 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017. Volunteering for Code Club, developing your knowledge of coding and computational thinking, can therefore offer a massive boost to your CV.

Employers are also keen to see how students have spent their spare time whilst at university, and volunteering is a really great way to show that you are engaged in giving back to the local community, and  show passion and dedication.

Sean Price, Managing Director of iBox-Security Ltd, is just one of those employers who sees the benefits that volunteering and running a Code Club can bring:

“Being both a business owner and Code Club volunteer running a weekend club in Derby, it’s a great way to give back and help develop the next generation of computer enthusiasts. Volunteering is great for the community at large and it also looks great on your CV. Being able to spend an hour a week with young children who are passionate about computers is a fantastic thing and showing them new skills to develop their future is an absolute pleasure each week.”

So… think you could be a volunteer with Code Club this semester? Visit the Code Club website or check out our volunteer job role to see what’s involved in running a Code Club.