Code Club is 10 years old! We think that a decade is a milestone that needs to be celebrated. It’s a chance to look back, reflect, and see how far we’ve come as a community.
In this post, co-founder Clare Sutcliffe shares her thoughts and we honour your memories and highlights in our potted history of Code Club.
A message from Clare Sutcliffe
I can’t believe that Code Club is 10 years old! One of our first goals for Code Club was to make attending an after-school coding club as normal as going to a football club or dance club.
In 2016 I got in a taxi in Manchester and the taxi driver told me his niece went to Code Club and loved it! That was the moment I thought we were really getting somewhere here — this isn’t just my small circle of tech friends that send their kids to Code Club — it was becoming normal! Now ten years on, no one even raises an eyebrow — it’s just so normal!
We now have Code Clubs registered in 154 countries and 1700 translations of our projects available in 32 languages.
Code Club would simply not exist were it not for the fantastic volunteers who give up their time to inspire children. These talented people use their skills, expertise, and passion to make Code Club deeply impactful to children. Thank you to you all!
A potted history of Code Club
On 16 April 2012, Code Club was officially launched. Our website went live and we shared our first tweet with the world! It really was an exciting time.
Then, in May, educator Laura Kirsop launched the first Code Club session at Soho Primary School, London. Laura looks back at that time:
“Code Club started with 15 kids in a basement ICT room, and now in 2022 we have kids coding every week worldwide. It’s amazing!
It’s really hard to go back to that time in your brain because those kids had never used Scratch before and now it’s so commonplace. They really did think it was amazing.”
Code Club International was launched in 2013! This growth helped educators and volunteers start Code Clubs all over the world. We recruited partners in Australia, New Zealand, France, and Spain, and now in 2022, we have 39 worldwide partners delivering our mission to their communities. We couldn’t do it without them!
“When Telstra Foundation connected with Code Club to scale it across Australia almost ten years ago, we knew we were on to a good thing. Fast forward to 2022, we can see how this digital skills initiative has powered positive change by giving kids all over Australia the opportunity to create, not just observe, their digital world. Thinking big picture, we know communities need problem solvers and citizens who keep pace with technology and Code Club continues to make an awesome contribution to this in schools and libraries everywhere. Happy Birthday Code Club.”Jackie Coates, CEO Telstra Foundation and Code Club Australia
Code Club continued to grow, and in 2014 a team of regional coordinators were recruited in the United Kingdom to help support educators to set up Code Clubs. We caught up with past Regional Coordinator, Tim Wilson:
“#CodeClubis10! Wow! What a ride! One of the biggest privileges of my career to date was joining the regional team for Code Club, managing the Midlands network of Code Clubs for four and a half years. I joined just as the scale of growth in the UK was going exponential. The Code Club regional team had all corners of the UK covered and the team had a great camaraderie and passion for Code Club’s mission.”
Alumni member, Kayla (17) reminisces about the 2015 Manchester Day parade that her Code Club took part in!
“We helped the Manchester Central Library Code Club get ready for the Manchester Day parade. An artist made a massive robot and big Scratch blocks. It took five people to control the robot and we had Scratch blocks coming out of backpacks. We walked through the streets of Manchester with 10,000 people watching us!”
2016 was a BIG year for co-founder Clare Sutcliffe! She was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to technology history.
Clare said: “This honour is dedicated to Code Club’s volunteers and supporters, who have played such a pivotal role in helping to provide opportunities for children across the UK to learn coding and digital making skills. It is a fantastic way for Code Club to end the year, and we are so excited to see what 2016 holds.”
Supporting community members to thrive and flourish is something that we’re proud of at Code Club. In 2017, educator Bob Bisland, from Malvern Code Club, attended meetups and training events to spread the Code Club mission and support community members.
Bob shares how the Code Club community helped him develop skills he didn’t even know he had. Thank you Bob for 10 years of Code Club service!
“If you asked me 10 years ago to stand in front of a room and tell people what I love about Code Club and why it’s good, I wouldn’t have done it. The Code Club community and all the support I have received has given me the ability and confidence to build those skills.”
In 2018, we brought Code Club to rural India by forging a partnership with Pratham Education. We offer projects in Hindi, Kannada, and Marathi to allow all young people to explore coding opportunities.
“We were able to scale our interventions to remote parts of the country because of the continued support from Code Club. Now children sitting in a village can compete with a child sitting in a city because of the programme and support provided by the Code Club team.”Pratham Education
We had a Baaa-rillant time in 2019 with Aardman Animations and our Shaun the Sheep Mission to Space competition.
Alumni member, Hannah (13), from York recalls how she felt when she heard her Scratch project was a winning entry!
“I think at the start I was really surprised that I had won because I was really young and I was not expecting to win at all. After I realised that I had actually won I was bouncing off the walls. I was like, ‘I won! I won Mummy, I won!’. I remember going into my sister’s room and shouting ‘I won!’”.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world in 2020. Code Club sessions went online and while we may have been separated, young coders’ personalities and creativity continued to shine through!
Morven Graham, from Natwest, runs online sessions at Hugh Myddelton Primary School, in London, where one coder always makes her smile.
In 2021, the joy of in-person sessions slowly resumed and we all started to get back together. Felix (11), Park Street CofE Primary School:
“It was really nice coming back to Code Club because I could do projects with my friends again, and Scratch is really fun.
It was also cool to get to do Astro Pi Mission Zero with my friends — coding with friends is always better!”
We’re bringing the community together from 16 to 27 May for a two-week coding extravaganza! Help us celebrate and join our free online codealong on Thursday 26 May.