Code Club Pro Aims To Arm Teachers With Vital Computing Skills

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Government and Google-backed organisation looks to boost computing skills of primary teachers

A UK government initiative  to improve computing education in primary schools will train teachers using Google money and the training skills of volunteer organisation Code Club.

Google has invested £120,000 in the Code Club Pro project, which will provide low cost training for primary school teachers preparing for the Government’s new computing curriculum, commencing in September this year.

clare sutcliffe code clubVolunteers know best?

Under the new curriculum, all primary school teachers will teach computer programming to children of 5 and over, but for many this will be their first time teaching the subject, with little or no prior experience or training. The initiative enlists Code Club, which has been using parents and other volunteers to run a network of over 1,875 after-school coding clubs, using a specially-developed set of modules aimed to help children buld interactive sites and applications.

Unveiled today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne and launching in April, Code Club Pro aims to train 4,500 primary school teachers by the end of this year, and 20,000 by 2016. Schools and teachers can register their interest through the Code Club Pro website, which also contains information regarding a variety of online learning programmes and resources.

Starting young

At the launch of the initiative in Cheshire today, Osborne emphasised the need to get young people interested in technology.

“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.

code club pro

“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.”

Launched in 2012, Code Club provides initial training for children and adults at after-school clubs run by volunteers, and has  enjoyed a massive surge of support following a wave of interest in computing.

“The addition of coding to the new primary school curriculum is a great step forward for the UK education sector,” said Clare Sutcliffe (pictured), Code Club co-founder and CEO. “However, to date, there has been a lack of focus on how to equip the primary school teachers to actually teach this new subject. 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. Our goal is to improve access to training, so that teachers can feel confident and excited about delivering the new computing curriculum.”

Google’s UK engineering director, Mike Warriner, said of the launch, “There is increasing demand for computer science skills in all industries – not just tech – and Code Club Pro is a great initiative to engage the UK’s teachers in computing and give them the skills they need to inspire the next generation of coders.”

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