UCL volunteers help Camden introduce programming clubs in all primary schools
11 July 2013
From September, the London Borough of Camden will be the first local authority in England to introduce computer programming clubs in all of its 41 maintained primary schools, with help from volunteers from UCL and Google.
Working in partnership with Code Club - the not for profit organisation responsible for establishing a national network of 900 volunteer-led, after-school coding clubs - Camden Council is hoping to give the children in the borough an early opportunity to develop the creativity and skills necessary to succeed at school and in the future jobs market.
Google and UCL will be providing volunteers for the scheme. Expert developers from Google and students from UCL's Faculty of Engineering Sciences will run the after-school coding clubs for the children.
The initiative provides a unique opportunity for pupils in Camden's primary schools to learn to code from a global leader in the technology business and a world renowned higher education institution, and also allows their teachers to establish strong cross sector relationships and to harness the support of volunteers based in the local area.
Cllr Theo Blackwell, of Camden Council, said: "Last year there were no pupils in Camden's schools taking computing at A-level. As in other local authorities, pupils have been put off by a boring ICT curriculum and a failure to make coding relevant and exciting. Camden wants to lead the way in changing this, taking advantage of the new curriculum.
UCL Engineering is delighted to be involved in this partnership to inspire and educate the next generation of technologists and scientists. The work of Code Club and its volunteers serves to prepare pupils for the secondary curriculum and allows them to understand the fundamental principles of computer science and its applications in a practical way.
Simon Collins, Education Developer & Coordinator (UCL Engineering)
"With a new curriculum coming in next year there is a new buzz from our fast developing tech sector. Voluntary initiatives like Code Club will help embed the learning happening in our schools, allowing kids to code and create apps for themselves outside of the classroom and start a love of programming from an early age."
Helen Bruckdorfer, head teacher of Torriano Junior School in Kentish Town, said: "We are excited at the prospect of working with Code Club, Camden and their partners to provide opportunities to inspire the coders of the future."
It is also hoped that the hands-on, experience-based approach of the scheme will inspire the children and help foster a life-long passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
Simon Collins, Education Developer and Coordinator at UCL Engineering, commented: "UCL Engineering is delighted to be involved in this partnership to inspire and educate the next generation of technologists and scientists. The work of Code Club and its volunteers serves to prepare pupils for the secondary curriculum and allows them to understand the fundamental principles of computer science and its applications in a practical way. This is critical to ensuring that we build an advanced and innovation-based society."
Clare Sutcliffe, Co-Founder and CEO of Code Club, said: "This partnership between Google, UCL Engineering, Camden Council and Code Club shows what can happen when innovative people get together to create change and improve opportunities for our next generation. Camden have shown that they are a forward thinking council and we would like other councils around the country to get in touch to discuss how we might do something similar in their area."
Bart Govaert, Program Manager at Google, commented: "We're very excited about running Code Clubs in Camden schools. Googlers are passionate about teaching computer science to the next generation of innovators, so we're very proud to be a part of this project."
Image: Simon Collins at speaking at Code Club.