Celebrating 10 years of Code Club

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.

Happy 10th birthday, 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 tweet from Clare’s visit to Code Club Australia!

A potted history of Code Club

2012

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.”

2013

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

2014

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.”

Tim and Zoe at the Scratch conference in Cambridge 

2015

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!”

The Code Club robot at the Manchester Day parade

2016

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.”

2017 

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.”

 Bob supporting the Code Club team at Bett, the world’s leading education technology show

2018

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
Children learning to code

2019

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!’”.

2020

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.

2021

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!”

Felix and his friends celebrate 10 years of Code Club! 

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. 

Physical computing kits available for Code Clubs in England

From making your first LED blink to creating a musical instrument, physical computing can bring the ‘A-ha!’ moment into your Code Club.

If your Code Club is running within a school in England, you can hire a selection of physical computing kits from an NCCE Computing Hub for free.

Bringing the ‘A-ha!’ moment to Code Club

Physical computing helps club members to build connections between the real world and programming. By designing, programming, and making their own creations, young people get the opportunity to learn about microcontroller boards, LEDs, inputs and outputs, and so much more!  

The kits are designed so that you can get started straight away. No experience is necessary as you’ll have access to:

  • The Teach Computing guide to physical computing kits
  • Step-by-step projects
  • Our online FutureLearn courses 

What are the kits?

The physical computing kits are available from the 34 NCCE Computing Hubs located at secondary schools across England. The kits are split into trays by type of device, and each tray is suitable for teachers to get started with physical computing at different key stages:

  • Crumble trays – aimed at key stage 2
  • Micro:bit trays – aimed at key stages 2 and 3
  • Raspberry Pi Pico trays – aimed at key stage 4
  • Raspberry Pi 3B+ trays – aimed at key stage 4
This is what a Raspberry Pi Pico tray looks like

How can I borrow a kit to use at my Code Club?

If you’re a teacher in England, you can visit the NCCE Hubs webpage to find your local Hub, then contact them to find out what’s available to borrow. Each computing kit is generally available to use for up six weeks at a time. 

If you’re a volunteer, you can still access the free Teach Computing Curriculum to use in your club. 

I’ve hired a kit. How do I get started? 

The Teacher Guide to physical computing kits provides a detailed explanation of all of the equipment and components included in the kits. It also has information about free teaching resources and training. 

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently launched two fantastic new project paths that your Code Club could explore with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ and Raspberry Pi Pico trays:

Each project has step-by-step instructions to help young coders and educators to learn and develop their coding skills together! 

Raspberry Pi Picos bring Python code to life when connected to breadboards and other electrical components

How have the kits been used?

More than two hundred trays have been loaned out since September 2021. Over 90% of teachers who have borrowed them say that they have used lessons and units from the Teach Computing Curriculum to teach with the physical computing kits, some during class time and others at after-school clubs, like Code Club. 

Ian Cartwright, a teacher from Belvedere Academy, a girls’ secondary school in Toxteth, Liverpool, borrowed a tray of Raspberry Pi Picos to use at his lunchtime club with a small group of 11- to 12-year-old students. Ian started with five students and that quickly went up to a group of ten when they started telling their friends about making the LEDs flash. Ian said, 

“[It’s] massively more engaging than programming Python on a screen — walking into a room with the box of kit grabs their attention straight away. They love the idea of building something physical, like a car. When the lights flash they ask whether they can take their phones out (but they’re not allowed to) so that they can show their mum and dad when they get home.”

Young people can build motorised buggies and bridges with the Crumble tray

Year 5 and 6 students from Purford Green Primary Academy in Harlow, Essex, told us about how they used Crumbles to make buggies drive around tables and control bridges to make them go up and down. When asked how using Crumbles compared with other computing activities, such as using Scratch, one student said, 

“I liked the Crumbles because it helped me develop my block coding and make my bridge move. I couldn’t do that on Scratch.” 

Bring the magic of physical computing into your Code Club and share your adventures with us on Twitter and Facebook

Code Club is 10 years old!

 2022 marks ten years of Code Club, a HUGE community achievement.

To mark this amazing milestone, we’re bringing the community together for a two-week coding extravaganza! Put 16 to 27 May in your calendars, and help us celebrate. 

Looking back

Back in April 2012, Code Club co-founders, Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik published our very first blog announcing the launch of Code Club. Three hundred sixty-five blogs later, we’re celebrating our 10th birthday! 

Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club, reflects on where we’ve come: 

“Code Club was really inspired by the idea that kids coding after school as a hobby could be just as normal as going to a sports club. I’m so proud that we have achieved that. 

Code Clubs are now in schools across the world and each week that number continues to grow. Schools now see having a Code Club is just as important an offer to young people as having a sports club. That is something that the team and I are incredibly proud of.”

Code Clubs from across the world

From its inception, Code Club has always provided a fun and supportive space for children to learn and get creative with code. 

Each week, across the globe, we see that lightbulb moment when learners make their first blocks of Scratch code come to life and realise that they have the power to create their own stories, games, animations, and more.

A NEW birthday Scratch project

To help us celebrate, our amazing content team have designed a new birthday Scratch project for your Code Club to have fun with. In this game, your coders will create a simple game where you hit a piñata to release tasty birthday treats and reveal a Code Club celebration message. 

Read on, and see how your club can work on this project at our global codealong party!

You’re invited to our codealong party

The highlight of our birthday will be an online global codealong party on Thursday 26 May. We’re inviting your club to join the Code Club team live from across the world to code our fun birthday project in Scratch

There will be several one-hour codealong sessions running throughout the day, and the event will be open to all schools, community groups, and children, regardless of whether they usually attend Code Club. 

Take a look at our registration form, see which codealong session time suits your club the best, and sign up!

Get Code Club party ready! 

Every birthday requires a party! We’ve created a downloadable party pack containing everything your club needs to host their own party, which includes printable stickers, a coding crossword, and party hats! All you need to do is invite your coders. 

Get ready to put your party hats on and help us mark a decade of coding fun!

To mark this achievement, we want to hear your memories. However big or small, share them with the Code Club community on social media using the hashtag #CodeClubIs10.