Support the transition to secondary school with Code Club!

We understand that education recovery is currently at the top of the agenda for many teachers. Here’s how Code Club can support learners to gain the relevant coding skills to make the transition from primary to secondary computing education. 

Support your learners through Code Club  

In the UK, most children are now back to learning in the classroom instead of learning from home. We know that teachers are looking to understand what learning and experiences their students have missed during the pandemic and to find ways to help them catch up. 

Teachers tell us that learners who will transition from primary to secondary education this year are particularly at a disadvantage. Not only are they potentially behind on important building blocks of learning that they need to take with them to secondary school, but they have also lost out on chances to bond with others as a group, lead activities within their school, and celebrate their achievements. Running a Code Club will support your learners with all of this.

Help provide vital coding skills 

Code Club’s step-by-step Scratch projects, for example, are perfect for helping young people to grasp basic coding concepts, and are a great option for schools looking for transition activities. Sway Grantham, educator and Raspberry Pi Foundation Senior Learning Manager, explains how: 

“Running a Code Club is an easy way to support your learners. The first two Scratch modules give your learners an opportunity to understand the potential of computing, with creative projects that show the wider application of programming skills. This, paired with how they introduce sequence, selection, and repetition, will provide learners with a solid overview of programming before they transition to secondary school.”

The added extras that learners gain from attending Code Club

Whenever we speak to the Code Club community, the overwhelming take-home message is that the benefits of running and attending a Code Club are so much broader than coding and digital skills.  

Clubs provide a fun and informal environment for young people to develop lifelong skills: from collaborating and sharing learning, to problem solving and confidence building. These skills can be particularly important at times of change, such as the transition to a new school. 

Educator Janice, from Scotland, explains how Code Club has benefited their club members:

“I have always said that Code Club is transformational. It teaches young learners thinking skills like ordering, logic, and being precise, without them even knowing, as they are too busy having fun. Code Club gives them confidence to challenge perceptions, fix things, and help each other. I couldn’t think of a better set of skills and experiences for them to [take on] the next part of their educational journey”.

How we can support you 

From skills development to wellbeing, Code Club provides an ideal space to support children transitioning to secondary school and we want to make sure you have all the tools to support this.  

If you would like to restart your Code Club either online or in-person, or are looking to launch a new club this term, here’s a hand-picked selection of resources to help you:

If you have any ideas on how Code Club can help children transition to secondary school, or have any questions about getting your club up and running, drop our team an email. We’d love to hear from you. 

Jacob shares his top tips to running a fun and engaging Code Club

In February we met educator Jacob from Penpol School in Cornwall. He volunteered to join the Code Club panel as part of the Raspberry Pi educator sessions hosted in London. 

After the event, we caught up with Jacob and asked if he would contribute to our blog and share his experiences of running a fun and engaging Code Club.

Say hello to Jacob

Jacob has been running his Code Club at Penpol School in Cornwall for over three years.  He has a wealth of knowledge on running a Code Club. Let’s find out what his three tips are to running a fun and engaging club! 

Image shows teacher Jacob in his  class room
Jacob from Penpol School in Cornwall

1. Have fun! 

Have fun with it. Running a Code Club is a fantastic chance to engage with students and children in a different way, everyone has come together to have fun and explore ideas with each other. The children have chosen to attend Code Club so they are already excited about the idea — take this energy and run with it! 

2. It isn’t a lesson 

Remember, it isn’t a ‘lesson’. This isn’t like a computing lesson in school, there is no set goal, no endpoint, no ‘finished!’ moment. Instead, children are encouraged to explore projects, take them in any direction they wish and discover new ideas and issues along the way. 

These moments provide excellent learning opportunities for both the children and yourself as they are real-world issues that they have encountered and want to explore, not scenarios you have planned in advance.

Young boy working at a computer
Code Club projects in action!

3. Embrace the dancing ice creams! 

Let the children lead the way. If they want to explore a certain set of resources, let them. If they want to change a project halfway through to incorporate a set of dancing ice creams, let them. They are learning, exploring, and problem-solving — whether in a structured or unstructured way. 

Don’t be afraid to let them take the lead and follow where they want to go.

Three girls sat in a line behind computers, smiling.
Learning to code with friends

You can follow Jacob’s adventures with code on Twitter, start a conversation, and share your Code Club experiences! 

What are your tips? 

What are your tips to running a fun and engaging Code Club? Let us know by tweeting us at Code Club UK & Code Club world using the hashtag #MyCodeClub 

Code Club in Kenya

Last year Code Club’s International Programme Manager, James Aslett, visited Kenya to attend the first-ever Scratch Africa conference in Nairobi, and had the opportunity to see a Kenyan Code Club in action. In this blog, James shares with us what he learned about Code Club in Africa.

Scratch Africa

In October 2019 I hopped on a plane to Kenya to attend the first-ever Scratch Africa conference, hosted at Brookhouse School in Nairobi.

The conference was attended by educators from across Africa and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn about the way schools and teachers are engaging young people in digital education across the continent. I also took the opportunity to visit a local Kenyan Code Club to see it in action. 

The site of the Kabuku Primary School Code Club.

Code Club in action 

Kabuku Primary School is a small government school about two hours north of Nairobi. Classrooms are crowded and the school’s Code Club is run out of a stone hut in the grounds once a week for two hours. 

I met Lena, the Code Club leader and an employee of Kids Comp Camp — our newest Growth Leader in Kenya and an organisation focussing on improving access to digital education across rural Kenya. 

Kids Comp Camp approached Kabuku Primary School about starting a Code Club when they learned that children in the region had no opportunities to learn with computers at school. The head teacher and local community were hesitant at first, and found it hard to see the links between learning computing and practical skills that would help children into employment. It took six months of community meetings and presentations for the school to allow the club to be set up and another three months to gather together the hardware needed for the club to run. Using 15 Raspberry Pi model 2 computers donated by Kids Comp Camp and connected to monitors with chicken wire, the school’s computer lab was born! 

Today, the club is thriving!

Starting with the basics 

All the children who attend the club come from low-income backgrounds and don’t have access to computers at home. Before getting started, the children needed to learn how to use a computer: typing, scrolling, clicking, downloading files, and connecting to the internet. 

Young coders hard at work.

Now that the students have mastered the basics, they are diving head first into Code Club projects. At the start of each session the children connect their Raspberry Pis to a phone internet hotspot and download the PDF of the project they will work on. Lena starts the session on why coding is important and the children list the different ways that sequences or loops are used in their everyday lives — for example in coffee machines, train stations, or in TVs. 

When I visited, the children were working in pairs to take it in turns to write code and test each other’s projects. It was amazing to see children who hadn’t ever used a computer six months ago now confidently talking me through their ideas and decisions with code. This is what Code Club is all about! 

What I learned

When I was leaving I saw a box of brand new Samsung tablets stacked in the corner of the room. Lena told me they had been there for 18 months, a leftover part of a government initiative to give every child a computer. Apparently, it’s a common sight across Kenyan schools. 

My takeaway from my trip was that hardware alone is not enough. We need passionate and knowledgeable people advocating for the relevance of computing at a local level. There is also a need for engaging resources that excite young people and help them make the most of their hardware, and flexible non-formal models of learning.

That being said, Code Clubs like that at Kabuku Primary School are a great start to introducing digital making to the next generation!

Get involved

If you’re in the UK, USA, or the Republic of Ireland, head to codeclub.org to find out how you get involved with Code Club in your community. If you’re based in the rest of the world, visit codeclubworld.org to learn more.