Tech City: Code clubs teaching future tech pioneers

Islington primary pupils working on some programming at the event

Islington primary pupils working on some programming at the event - Credit: Archant

Schoolchildren set to be future Tech City pioneers came together to celebrate their achievements in computing last week, joined by television personality Maggie Philbin.

Maggie Philbin talks to Islington school pupils

Maggie Philbin talks to Islington school pupils - Credit: Archant

The Tomorrows World and Bang Goes the Theory reporter was at the Emirates Stadium alongside 14 Islington schools to mark the first anniversary of Code Clubs being introduced in education on January 13.

She said: “I can’t believe how much has happened in just one year and I’ve had the most wonderful time seeing the energy and enthusiasm for computing from pupils and their teachers. I’ve also had a chance to meet some great volunteers who are supporting the learning in schools. They’re giving up their precious free time to support teachers - which is critical to the success of Code Clubs.”

She also told the children they would be running the high-tech businesses of the future.

The free after school clubs are led by volunteers and have helped children learn a range of computer programming skills through designing games, animations, websites and blogging.

Volunteers for the clubs have included representatives from top industry players, such as Bloomberg and BT, to smaller boutique digital designers.

The event gave pupils the opportunity to showcase what they had learned over the year in front of an audience of industry experts.

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Children as young as six demonstrated their ability to create apps, understand algorithms and use programmes like Scratch, Makey Makey and raspberryPi.

Fatma, 11, who is part of Moreland Primary School’s Code Club, said: “We get to create stuff and learn so much about coding – we’ve made parrots that flap their wings and balloons that pop on screen. I think it’s very important for people our age to learn about coding as we’ll need it in our lives.”

The event followed a session last December where Pupils from Winton Primary School, in Collier Street, travelled to Downing Street to shared their new skills with the Prime Minister as part of the national Hour of Code events.

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council’s executive member for children and families, said:

“Computing is now such an integral part of the world that children inhabit. Given Islington’s proximity to Old Street’s high-tech hub, it’s essential that our schools are equipping our young people with the skills they will need to forge careers in such a fast-growing economy.

“I am so impressed by what I’ve seen at our Code Clubs and at the celebration event, where pupils are grappling with really complex programmes. Not only do they clearly enjoy the clubs, but they are being equipped with a lifelong interest in computing.

”In Islington we’re leading the way with Code Clubs, with an impressive 60 per cent of our schools having one. But we need more volunteers to come forward and help us get this figure up to 100 per cent.”