At The Founders Forum in June 2011 The Duke of York was asked to take part in a promotional video for Code Club. Code Club runs after school clubs in primary schools across the UK, providing the opportunity for 9-11 year old children to develop computer programming skills and understand of how computer software works. Code Club achieves this aim by creating coding projects on Scratch software for volunteers to take to their local primary schools to teach to the children. HRH immediately saw the importance of the after school club, and following further dialogue and meetings was thrilled to accept the invitation to become Code Club’s Patron. On 6th February The Duke visited Soho Parish School to catch up with the Code Club team and meet some of the school’s young programmers.
HRH started his visit to Soho Parish School with an update from Code Club founders Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik on its progress. The Duke was delighted to hear that Code Club was already running in 533 primary schools, with ambitious plans to expand to 5,000 schools by 2015.
After the meeting HRH visited the computer room to meet some of the excited young programmers who were eager to show The Duke the games and animations they had made at the club. HRH was highly impressed, not only by the children’s knowledge of programming, but also by the enthusiasm they showed for the club. Laura Kirsopp, the Year 4 Teacher who leads the club at the school, informed The Duke that there was actually a waiting list of children eager to join. Effie, a lucky member of the club told HRH “I enjoy Code Club, it’s better than an ICT lesson because instead of using Word and Powerpoint we make games and animations. We have made loads of games so far and I hope the levels go on forever as it is really, really FUN!”
After meeting Soho School’s bright programmers, The Duke joined the rest of the school for an assembly. At the assembly the children presented the new Code Club YouTube video which featured a number of the school’s pupils talking and acting out code to create an online Code Club video. HRH, on questioning the pupils after the viewing, was impressed to be told that the whole video had been done in a single take! The Duke then spoke to the children about how he thought it was great they were all learning such a useful skill which could help them to become the inventors of the future.
At the end of the assembly Code Club announced their first corporate sponsor ARM, who hope to work in partnership with the club to raise its public awareness and help facilitate Code Club’s mission to teach the next generation to code.
HRH believes it is crucial to the future economic success of the UK, to support initiatives such as Code Club, which encourage young people to continue with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects at school, college and university, and thereafter to consider a career in these important sectors. The Duke is currently helping Code Club find more volunteers so that the club can reach its ambitious expansion targets. For more information about Code Club please visit http://www.codeclub.org.uk/