Join us at Bett 2017!

Next week brings another opportunity for educators to visit Code Club and the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Bett 2017, the huge annual EdTech event in London. We’ll be at ExCeL London from 25-28 January, and we’ll be running more than 50 workshops and talks over the four days. Whether you’re a school teacher or a community educator, there’s something for you: visit our stand (G460) to discover ways to bring the power of digital making to your classroom and beyond.


Find us at our STEAM Village stand (G460) to take part in free physical computing and STEAM workshops, as well as talks led by Code Club staff, and members of the Code Club community. The Raspberry Pi Foundation have a huge range of workshops running for all levels of ability, which will give you the opportunity to get hands-on with digital making in a variety of different ways.

Below are some of the Code Club workshops you may be interested in joining:

Date Time Session Name Location
Wednesday 25 January 12:30 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
15:30 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
16:45 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460
Thursday 26th January 11:45 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
12:30 Adventures in Primary Computing G460
16:15 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
Friday 27th January 13:00 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
16:45 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460
Saturday 28th January 10:30 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
12:30 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
13:00 Code Club Primer Session HE Summit Space
14:15 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460

Additionally, our CEO Philip Colligan will be launching an exciting new free initiative to support educators, live in the Bett Show Arena at 13:25 on Wednesday 25 January. Philip will be joined by a panel of educators who are leading the movement for classroom computing and digital making.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to speak to so many different educators from across the world. It’s really important to us to spend time with all of you face-to-face: we want to hear about the great things you’re doing, answer your questions, and learn about the way you work and the challenges you face so we can improve the things we do. We really do value your feedback enormously, so please don’t hesitate for a moment to come over and ask questions, query something, or just say hi! And if you have questions you’d like to ask us ahead of Bett, just leave us a comment below.

See you next week!

Volunteer stories: Nick Peet

Are you a teacher keen to tackle the challenges of the computing curriculum? Running or hosting a Code Club is a great way to boost your own confidence, and to help give your pupils more opportunities to get excited about coding and digital making.

We heard from Nick Peet, a teacher in Portsmouth who, with some help from students at Portsmouth University, began running a Code Club in his school. Find out more about his experiences as a Code Club host below…

When we discovered that the new National Curriculum required primary children to learn Computing, rather than just how to use ICT, we realised that the school had a huge gap in the subject knowledge required to teach this new curriculum.  I attended several meetings of panicked ICT managers in the Portsmouth area and all of us agreed that, although we were very excited by the changes in the curriculum, there would be huge difficulty in training hard pressed primary teachers to learn the new skills required to deliver the new subject matter.  In a sudden flash of divine inspiration, I realised that it would be much easier to identify pupils who were really interested in the subject and teach them so that they could support their teachers and peers with the new curriculum.  So in 2014 we started the Craneswater Computing club.

laptopAlthough in a previous life, I had worked as a programmer and systems designer, it was in a very different, pre-internet world of main frames, punch tape, Assembler and machine code languages – not very relevant to the requirements of the current curriculum.  I had never even heard of Scratch!  So I bought a book, and 30 pupils and I started to work through the projects in it together.

This worked well and the club was very popular – we were able to develop the coding champions we needed to get the new curriculum up and running.  However, it became very time consuming, particularly trying to develop new projects and challenges for the (by now very competent) children.

Fortunately Portsmouth University got in touch with the school and told us they were keen to place volunteers who would run a Code Club. This sounded like a good idea and so we signed up – anything to reduce a teacher’s work load!  We negotiated with the university volunteers so that we would keep a 30 pupil code club (rather larger than normal) and also include children from Years 3 and 4 (slightly younger than normal).  This was agreed to and the new Code Club started in October 2015.


The club has been a huge success with the children.  They really enjoyed having the undergraduates from the university teaching them.  We were incredibly lucky in our two volunteers who were really conscientious and competent and developed excellent relationships with the children (Thanks Chris and Dale!).  They ran the club entirely on their own and all I had to do was download and print the projects and be physically around the Computer suite just in case – I don’t think I was really needed during the entire year.

The other major benefit from having a registered Code Club in school has been the access to the resources on the Code Club website.  All the projects are well thought-out and very engaging for the children.  There is also lots of scope for the more able children to extend the projects and develop their own add-ons and variants.  The club itself has concentrated on the Scratch projects, but I have borrowed ideas and code from the HTML & CSS resources, to develop a new curriculum unit, again saving me a huge amount of time.  I am considering running an advanced level Code Club next year where the children will tackle the Python projects.

Code 004

I think learning to Code is a wonderful opportunity for children.  It is highly creative and teaches resilience – almost nobody’s code works as intended first time.  It also helps to develop logical thinking, and encourages teamwork and co-operation.

Lots of people have written lots of articles about why children should learn to code.  Steve Jobs himself said, “Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”  Even more than this, children should have the opportunity to code because it is fun! I’d encourage anybody thinking about setting up a Code Club to go for it. Signing up online is straightforward  and setting up and running a club with their support is easy.  

It is also incredibly rewarding when pupils share their highly polished and technically challenging projects.  Last term a Year 5 pupil said to me, “Mr Peet, I have finally figured out how to get online multi-player games to work using Scratch!”  I have not yet checked to find out whether he has, but I was seriously impressed that he was thinking about the problem in the first place!  

Interested in starting a Code Club? Find out more at

The benefits of Code Club for schools & teachers

Challenged by the computing curriculum, or looking to boost your confidence with coding software such as Scratch? Starting an after-school Code Club can help! But don’t take our word for it.

We spoke to Matt Warne, a primary teacher and now Head of Computing and IT at RGS The Grange in Worcester, who told us all about his experiences with Code Club, and how it gave him the boost he needed to further his career.

Before I became immersed in Code Club my background knowledge in Computing could be described as ‘emerging’. I was passionate about the subject and keen to improve my pedagogy, yet struggled for an immediate hook and way in with the kids.

I wanted to start a Code Club to give pupils who were enthusiastic for the subject a chance to try different things, as well as exploring their own ideas.

Getting the club started

I had run computing clubs at school in the past, but they were quite experimental and lacked consistency. Once I started an ‘official’ Code Club, using the projects and running the progressive tasks and engaging challenges, pupils could work at their own rate and really improve their understanding of computer science concepts.

I have run Code Clubs in two different schools over the past three years. In my last school (Malvern Wells Primary) myself and volunteer Robert Bilsland ran the sessions which were attended by around 20 pupils, which in a school of 100 is quite impressive.

matt warne

Gaining confidence with computing

In my current role as Head of Computing and IT at RGS The Grange we have 22 places in our Code Club, which have been filled each term since September. I currently run this club myself as I am now much more confident.

We are using Scratch for most of our Code Club sessions, yet in the future we plan to offer HTML and Python for more advanced students. I am very aware that this is not something to rush and the Code Club projects in Scratch will provide the foundations of the children’s understanding in the subject.

The impact of Code Club reaches far beyond a chance to play on Scratch, the sessions are fun yet purposeful and the pupils always leave the sessions knowing that little bit more than they did before. The projects also inspire pupils to try different things and I always hear the comment ‘I didn’t know you could do that on Scratch!’

matt warne 2For myself, the benefits of running a Code Club are enormous. The resources are excellent and build upon prior knowledge, the ease to set it up and get it off the ground are also a big factor. The support is there if you need it, and there are always opportunities to seek help and assistance.

New opportunities & experiences

Code Club has provided me with an excellent platform on which to embed Computing in a school setting. Pupils have a natural love for creativity, technology and challenge – Code Club ticks all these boxes. Code Club was my way into computing and with the support of a passionate volunteer, I had been inspired.

One of my best Code Club moments was setting up the first Code Club Skype session between RGS The Grange and Malvern Wells Primary. We Skyped at the start of the session and set each other a challenge, at the end of the session we ran a show and tell with pupils being positive in commenting upon the other schools work. This was pretty inspiring for teachers and pupils!

For anyone thinking about taking that leap of faith – go for it! Before my first ever session my knowledge was limited, as I sit writing this my job title is now ‘Head of Computing and IT’, Code Club was a big factor in my journey as a teacher and also the impact of a volunteer Robert Bilsland was enormous. He was a fabulous role model and continues to inspire pupils and teachers to ‘have a go’ in this enormously rewarding subject.

So what are you waiting for…?

Register your own teacher-led Code Club in three simple steps! Find out more on our website.

You can also check out more from Matt’s Code Club by visiting: