Introducing Michael, our new Community Manager

It’s been a crazy year at Code Club. We’ve recently hit 2000 clubs, launched Code Club World and Code Club Pro. We’re certainly not showing any sign of stopping. As we grow it’s important that we are able to continue to support the amazing community of volunteers and schools that have made Code Club so successful. For the past year, Sam has been our Volunteer Support Officer, but as he moves on to other things within the organisation, we’d like to welcome in Michael, our new Community Manager.

Michael - Community Manager

Hi I’m Michael, Code Clubs new community manager.

My background is in training and development and I’m a bit of an education addict – I’m currently studying design and web development. I also run a community group where I live in Leigh-on-Sea for local creative types.

I get excited about education technology and helping people meet like-minded others to work collaboratively with so helping Code Club develop their community is my ideal challenge.

As Code Club grows it is important that everyone involved or thinking about getting involved has someone they can contact who can dedicate time to helping them out – and that someone is now me :)

Some of you will have dealt with Sam in the past, Sam is still here (doing a great job) but he won’t be answering as many of your emails as he used to, if you email I’ll be the one who replies with Sam as a backup for when I’m away.

One of the things I’ll be doing is arranging meet-ups each month around the country for our exisiting volunteers as well as anyone with and interest in getting involved – keep an eye on for more info.

You can reach me on and follow me on Twitter @michaelmentessi

Why we code and why we teach it


This year is the start of something special in education: computers are starting to be seen as an opportunity, not just a smarter typewriter. Since the new computing curriculum was announced last year, there has been renewed interest in teaching children how to program computers and not just use them to run applications.

Accompanying this trend are numerous complaints from the technology industry about the difficulties in finding skilled workers, to fill new jobs in the UK, and the belief that these new educational programs will help solve this deficit.

Celebrities, politicians, and executives have come out in vast number to argue this case, and many new organizations have sprung up to help nine year olds develop their computer skills, with the hope they will eventually plug the gap in the growing technology industry. We’re excited to work alongside them, but we don’t always share the same aims and goals. Our goal is to inspire children to build and share their ideas, learning along the way.

Coding is more than just a vocational skill, learning to code is changing the way children  analyse and solve problems. We know because it’s happening right now across the UK, as shown by an Open University Study on the first year of Code Club:

There has been a marked difference in the way the Code Club members approach problem solving; they have learnt to test and work to solve problems and not to just accept that there is only one way to achieve something. Engagement has improved and it incited a new lease of creativity and optimism. They are much more willing now to help each other solve problems and try to find solutions before looking to the teacher for help.

Learning to build your own ideas, with or without a computer, is a remarkable way to encourage children and adults alike, and that’s what we attempt to do at Code Club: with just one volunteer, fifteen children, and one hour a week. An hour isn’t enough to prepare children for work, but more than enough time to inspire them to create and realise their own ideas.

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 19.35.57We have over 1900 clubs across the UK, and we’re not finished yet: With the new curriculum changes, we’re also working with teachers (via Code Club Pro) to help them prepare for the changes ahead, as well as how to use computing to enrich the rest of the curriculum.

We want to prepare the next generation for the world ahead with the best tools at their disposal, so they can not only imagine the future, but build it too.

by @tef and the Code Club Team

Our partnership in Manchester


Manchester has long been a hotspot for Code Club activity in the UK. The council made Code Club part of their digital strategy for the city a while back and set the target of having clubs in 25% of schools by 2015. Thanks to the efforts of amazing human beings like Steven Flower who have been spreading the word, it looks like they’re going to totally smash that.

Today we presented a new coalition of organisations taking things further and committing to getting clubs in 50% of Manchester’s primary schools.

Manchester Metropolitan University students are getting out there volunteering (spurred on by the fact they can earn points towards a ‘Futures award’ by doing so!) and we are delighted to announce that we have also partnered with CTI Digital who are an amazing Manchester based digital agency. They are going to help spread the word about Code Club and get the volunteers we need into the schools! YAY!

We were so stoked to be able to present this plan at the Manchester Digital Skills Festival this morning – Dan Mather (pictured above), a Code Club graduate and Junior Advisory Board member, spoke about the impact Code Club has had on him and he TOTALLY stole the show.

We’d like to extend huge thanks to everyone involved – let’s get Manchester coding :D

Photo taken by Paul Johnson