Student Volunteering Week 2016

Today is the start of Student Volunteering Week 2016! This week we want to celebrate some of the fantastic work our student volunteers are doing across the country, and some of the pilot schemes we have been working on to get more students and young people involved in boosting their digital skills, and helping children in their local community.

mia student volunteer

Mia is one of our student volunteers who is about to get started running her first Code Club after Easter. She’s also been helping us at local events in the South East, recently assisting our coordinator, Dan Powell, at the Brighton Science Festival.

We chatted to Mia about how she heard about Code Club, and why she decided to get involved:


“Being a trainee primary school teacher who specialises in computing I thought that Code Club would be the perfect opportunity to get teaching and coding experience as well as make some contacts in the education industry. When you are a student it can be difficult feeling motivated to work for free, however volunteering in the local community as a student is a valuable experience for a number of reasons.

Firstly if you are studying in a new place it is a great way to get out and find out about the community you have moved to, you can gain new experiences and build your skills, which is great preparation for work after university. The most valuable thing that I have found is the range of people I have met which has led to further opportunities and a wider range of career options.

To students who are thinking about volunteering for Code Club I’d say absolutely go for it! It is only an hour or two a week and you don’t need to be an expert – you can learn new skills with the children which is such a rewarding experience. The community is a great one to be a part of too, everyone is friendly, supportive and willing to help.”

To find out more about volunteering with Code Club, visit

New HTML & CSS Projects

We’ve finished updating Code Club’s HTML & CSS curriculum, which now contains 12 new projects! These new projects each introduce web design concepts through fun, engaging activities.

The new projects make use of Trinket to create and share webpages online. Trinket offers several advantages over using a text editor offline. As well as seeing a live preview of their code, children can save and share their webpages online, and can remix webpages shared by others. This can also be achieved without a login, via uniquely generated Trinket urls.

Here are a couple of our favourite projects:

Build a Robot: In this project, children will learn about CSS positioning by building their own robot from various components.

For example, the following CSS would position the robot’s eyes by setting its width, as well as its position from the top and the left of the browser window:


Linked Rooms: Children learn how to use image hyperlinks to move between webpages by creating a separate page for each room, using doors to move between rooms. Each room can also be styled using its own CSS.



Pixel Art: In this project, children create a pixel art editor. They will be introduced to JavaScript, and how it can be used to change the colour of each pixel. They will also learn how to use HTML tables to create a grid of pixels.


The projects can be found at As usual, we’d really welcome your feedback via email (, Github or through the feedback link at the end of each individual project. Let us know what you think!

Northamptonshire coding competition winners announced!

Last week, we attended the awards ceremony for the Race to the Top Coding Competition in Northampton. Schools from across Northamptonshire took part in the competition, which was run for the first time this year by Northamptonshire County Council, with support from the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT, a City of London Livery Company), the University of Northampton and Code Club.

There were two age groups for the competition, the Primary Category for Years 4-6, which was led by Code Club and the Secondary Category for Year 9 students, led by WCIT and the University of Northampton.


The winners of the primary category were Team Sparky from Park Junior School, who made a very impressive platform game using Scratch. You can view their fantastic winning entry below:

We also chatted to Shaun McMahon, the ICT Technician at Park Junior School who played a major role in inspiring the children at his school to take part in the competition.

Shaun told us why he got involved:

“I thought it was something the kids were really going to pick up on – and I was right! The kids really loved being involved in the coding competition, we had full days – 9am to 3:30pm of pure coding- and they absolutely loved it.

They worked in mixed year group teams as well, so years 4-6 all worked together, so it was a big team effort.

Team Sparky, the team that won, worked very well together, and there was a mixture of boys and girls. It was great to also get the girls into coding as well, which I think it very important.

The whole school is now very excited, they all want to be part of the computing crew after we showed the projects to the whole school. It’s really helped us to embed coding into everything that we do.”