Code Club, the nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11, says it is on track to meet its target of signing up 25 percent of primary schools across the country by the end of 2015.
The news comes as schools begin to adopt the new computing curriculum requiring all pupils from age 5-14 in England to learn to code.
While take up figures at a national level are set to hit the 2015 target, Code Club reports that participation levels across London’s primary schools have leapt ahead though, and have already reached 20 percent, with Tower Hamlets in East London achieving the highest level of engagement with Code Club to date.
Assisted by the Canary Wharf Group, Code Club has achieved a 163 percent increase in club numbers in the borough of Tower Hamlets over the last year, with 46 percent of primary schools signed up to the scheme. Code Club says Tower Hamlets has emerged as a "best practice example" of how to achieve the prioritisation of coding in schools.
Canary Wharf Group's partnership with Code Club began in December 2013, when the initiative launched at the Level39, described as the largest accelerator space for financial, retail and future city technologies in Europe, based at One Canada Square.
Since then the partnership has continued to grow as technology professionals from the financial services and business community at Canary Wharf - which is located in Tower Hamlets - have become involved in hosting their own clubs. With this assistance it is anticipated that after-school coding classes will be delivered in 75 percent of Tower Hamlet’s 69 primary schools by the end of the year, far ahead of the national average.
As an extension of Canary Wharf Group’s sponsorship a further initiative intended to assist in reaching this goal was launched in January 2014. Code Club Pro provides training and resources to primary school teachers who will be implementing the new computing curriculum.
From this month, teachers will have to teach coding to children from 5 years old. To date, Level39 has hosted four sessions, at which 57 volunteers were trained, with more sessions scheduled throughout 2014. For every training day, an average of 15 volunteers receives training. These 15 trainers go on to train 900 teachers each year, meaning that they can ultimately reach 13,500 children over the course of a year per training day, says Code Club.
Laura Kirsop, managing director of Code Club, said, “It is fantastic to see that coding in schools is being given the attention that it deserves. Children should not only use technology, but be able to understand it and develop it too.
"The high level of take up in Tower Hamlets has shown the importance of buy-in from the local community, business leaders such as Canary Wharf Group, technology professionals and schools.”
Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canary Wharf Group, said, "As a leading business and technology cluster, companies at Canary Wharf are increasingly looking for advanced IT skills and our partnership with Code Club is enabling us to help local young people tap into the digital revolution. The Level39 technology accelerator can help both high-potential tech start-ups and the younger members of our community.”
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