Google backs Code Club scheme to teach teachers coding

By Danny Palmer
07 Feb 2014 View Comments
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Google has pledged £120,000 towards a training programme designed to equip teachers with the skills required to teach coding before it is introduced to the national curriculum later this year.

The Code Club scheme, which begins in April, aims to support teachers who will be teaching code from September with a series of after-school coding clubs.

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The move comes days after chancellor George Osborne and education secretary Michael Gove launched a £500,000 "year of code" awareness campaign.

Osborne, who announced the partnership at a Code Club event at a Cheshire school, has welcomed Google's backing.

"In an increasingly digital world, it is more important than ever that we equip our young people to make the most of the opportunities offered by the burgeoning tech industry," he said.

"This new partnership is a great opportunity for teachers to get the skills they need to prepare for the upcoming curriculum change and teach children the computing and coding skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives."

Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder and CEO of Code Club, said the idea of the scheme is to encourage teachers to get to grips with a subject they might not currently understand, and help them feel able enough to teach it come September.

"The addition of coding to the new primary school curriculum is a great step forward for the UK education sector. However, to date, there has been a lack of focus on how to equip the primary school teachers to actually teach this new subject," she said.

"We know first-hand that teachers are feeling daunted by the prospect of having to teach a syllabus they don't fully understand themselves. As a result, we decided to create a training programme that would help support them through this period of change."

Sutcliffe added that the ultimate goal was to make teachers confident and excited about teaching coding.

"As a not-for-profit, Code Club is able to focus on a core objective of supporting as many teachers and children as possible, through the provision of fun, accessible and affordable training, which is hands-on and experiential," she said.

Mike Warriner, Google's UK engineering director, added that children need to start learning code, and ensuring teachers are well-versed in the subject is key to its success.

"A key focus for us is how we make sure that it is a reality, and that teachers and schools are prepared enough to teach it and inspire the children to get involved," he said.

"Code Club are one of the key people we've been working with to help build up enough teachers to be able to teach the courses.

"It starts with training a small number of teachers to be, in effect, the teachers of other teachers, and ultimately scaling that out to every primary and secondary school teacher across the country," Warriner concluded.

Code Club will be supplemented by a variety of resources, each encouraging teachers to apply coding in other subjects, including science, maths and English.

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