The people power of Code Club

It’s you, the community of educators and members, that makes Code Club such a vibrant programme. For us this is the most exciting part of what we do — hearing how Code Club positively impacts your lives and the people around you is truly a great honour!

Four community members share their stories as part of our #CodeClubIs10 celebrations.

Park Street Code Club, Cambridge celebrates Code Club’s birthday

Keeping the Code Club spirit alive

Kayla Jackson-Smart, 17, is a Code Club alumni from Manchester. The skills she gained from attending Code Club supported her through her computer science GCSE. Now four years on, Kayla’s keeping the Code Club spirit alive and creating sprites for Scratch in her graphic design A level. 

“I attended Code Club in Primary School and went on to take Computer Science as a GCSE. I love making things on computers, especially graphics, but I didn’t really enjoy the GCSE much, but it set me up for my Graphic Design A level.

I’m currently working on component one of my Graphic Design course where I’m creating a set of costumes to use in Scratch. I’m hoping to visit my old Code Club so they can use them in a project.”

Kayla jumping for joy for Code Club!

Career-changing experiences with Code Club

“Before I started Code Club, coding to me was like The Matrix seeing the numbers scroll down a screen, it didn’t mean anything!”

We headed online to catch up with Liam Garnett, from Leeds Libraries to hear about the impact that Code Club has had on his career, but also his knowledge of coding. He may not be a computer hacker like ‘The One’ in The Matrix, but he now has a better understanding of code!

Liam at Leeds library Code Club.

“I started in Leeds Library as a Library Assistant on the front line. I took a strong interest in the digital aspect of our services and launched a Code Club at Seacroft, in East Leeds and now I support four clubs across the city. Leading on this has helped shape my career and led me down the path I am on now, as a Senior Librarian for Digital.”

“I am still not great at coding, but the skills I’ve gained in helping kids learn has been really important to me.That softly approach works well, letting kids make mistakes and then together we can work out what has gone wrong.”

Coding with friends

“It gave me a lot of important skills that continue to help me in my work to this day, and helped me make friends with people I’m still very close to.”

Jamie,18, Durham Johnston Digital Leaders.

Engaging with new friends and being surrounded by positive role models is an important part of any extracurricular activities. Coding with friends is what Code Club is all about and we’re so pleased to hear that Jamie is still close to his Code Club buddies.

Travel the world

Nadia’s Code Club journey is inspiring. It started in 2015, when Nadia was in the UK studying for her PhD, to then heading back to her home country and becoming a Code Club Iraq partner.

“I volunteered for Code Club through Brunel University London, with Oak Farm Library, in 2016 I was awarded by the Mayor of Hillingdon for being the best volunteer at Code Club!

Nadia, volunteering at Oak Farm Library

What I learned with Code Club is that I can pay it forward. I can learn and I can develop myself, and then I pass this knowledge to someone else, who in their turn will pass it to someone else, and then we will have a whole community that will change and will change for the better. When I headed back to Iraq, I knew I wanted to bring everything I gained in the UK and give children in Iraq the same opportunities.

When we first started Code Club in Maysan (Southern Iraq) you will find female teachers, doctors, but you will never see a female ICT trainer, because she ‘cannot do it’. So we started by changing this concept, we started by training fourteen female educators, so we changed the image for women, about women in our community.”

Nadia spreading the message of Code Club in Maysan, Iraq.

This is just a snapshot of the different ways Code Club has impacted community members, both personally and professionally. We know there will be many more stories that deserve a spotlight. So, to all of you Code Club educators and members, we see you and we appreciate you!

Share the positive impact that Code Club has had on your life by using the hashtag #CodeClubIs10. We’d love to celebrate them with the world.

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. 

The coolest resources to get your Code Club ready for Coolest Projects Global

Take a look at these FIVE resources to support your Code Club to get involved with Coolest Projects Global, an international celebration of technology! 

Coolest Projects Global is the world’s leading technology showcase for young people. It’s an opportunity for your coders to share their tech creations with the world in the Coolest Projects online gallery.

Registration is open! All levels, programme languages, and stages of projects are welcome. The Coolest Projects team has released a collection of new resources to support educators and participants for this year’s global showcase.

The coolest resources

Mentor plan

Our mentor plan will help you support young people through their Coolest Projects journey. 

This plan will cover all the important stages, from idea generation to project registration. At each step, we share the skills that coders will develop and tips to make sure they are all set to share their creations at Coolest Projects Global

Check out the mentor plan

Session plans

We have session plans to help you lead a Code Club session on creating something for Coolest Projects. 

The session plans will support you to tell your young people all about Coolest Projects, as well as how to design, debug, and register a project. Remember: Young people can enter any tech project they like, including a very simple Scratch project.

Take a look at the session plans

Youth workbook

This youth workbook will help your young creators: 

  • Explore ideas
  • Develop their design thinking
  • Stay focused on making a cool project they can share with others 

Read the youth workbook  

Cool swag

Coolest Projects Global is a celebration, which is why we make sure every participant is celebrated!  

Every participant is eligible to receive digital or physical swag, and everyone will get feedback on their projects from our awesome judges. There are also prizes for the judges’ favourite projects, which will be announced at the online celebration in June. 

Sneak peek of the new swag!

Project library 

If you need some help to get your coders started, why not check out our project library? We’ve got over 200 projects, for all levels of experience and covering a wide range of topics. Our projects have even been translated into over 28 languages. 

We have projects organised into paths to help coders develop their skills, knowledge, and independence as they create cool projects. 

We’d love to see how your coders add their own personal style to these projects in their entries for Coolest Projects Global. 

Join the global showcase

Young creators have until 11 May to submit their creations. If you need any further support, check out the FAQ webpage. Make sure you share your progress on Twitter using the hashtag #CoolestProjects.