Inside the Junior School Coding Club


 

The Junior School Coding Club is designed to extend the skills and compliment what is already happening in the classroom.  

Coding and 21st century technology is a large component of our Junior School curriculum. From dedicated Computing lessons, to the use of technology in the Explore, Discover, Create curriculum or using the green screen to bring their creative writing to life, Junior School girls are skilled in mastering digital learning.  

Coding Club offers those girls who are interested in coding the opportunity to extend their skills further. Although they use Scratch in lessons, in Coding club they take part in new projects and exciting competitions. They have the freedom to work more independently at their own pace and follow their own interests.  

The Code Club is run by Software engineer and STEM ambassador, Ruth Laird. Having an external expert running the club at The Mount brings an extra wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience to guide and challenge the girls.  

“As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the club, Ruth also brings other personal attributes which have contributed to the success of the club. Having someone who is not a teacher gives the club a different dimension and the atmosphere of the club is fun and relaxed. Ruth is very calm and patient. She teaches coding skills and gives the girls the space and confidence to try out code and test and adapt it as they work through projects. They are happy to try new things and take risks because they know that even if it doesn’t work the first time, they will learn from it and try something different. Throughout this process they are supported and challenged by Ruth,” comments Rachel Capper, Head of the Junior School.  One of strengths of Code Club is that it is inclusive. Ruth welcomes all ages and abilities and supports and nurtures their skills at every stage. She encourages them to ask questions, solve problems and have fun with coding.”

Ruth has inspired the girls to develop their skills further by entering them into different competitions. A particular highlight was the Shaun the Sheep Mission to Space international coding competition challenge by Aardman Animations in partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Code Club. The competition attracted entries by young coders from 35 countries around the world. Four winners were named from the UK, one of which was Mount Junior School pupil, Hannah, who was the youngest and the only one from Yorkshire. This achievement was Celebrated across the School and inspired other girls to join Coding Club. 

In May, girls entered the Code Club Coolest Projects competition. “I have loved seeing the girl’s creativity and how far they’ve come on with their coding. I am so proud of every single one of them,” enthused Ruth. 

As an all-girls school at The Mount we are always championing girls in education and promoting girls in STEM subjects. Mount girls are part of a culture where whatever they do in or out of the classroom, their role models are older girls. It is important that they understand the STEM opportunities available to them beyond school, by seeing women in working in these careers. In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science the Junior School girls learnt about a variety of leading women in Science and STEM. They were then tasked to choose one woman to further research and record a short video about the Scientist and her work. One pupil was inspired by Ruth, interviewing her to find out all about her work in IT and coding.  

 


To me Issy choosing to interview Ruth proved that having Code Club had provided the girls with a strong role model. They were able to make the connection and see how the coding they do in School can develop and these skills can translate into jobs in the workplace” adds Rachel Capper, Head of Junior School. “I have seen the girls become more confident and ambitious in code club and I hope that having this opportunity in school will inspire them to consider programming and other digital careers in the future.” 

This term the coding club are embarking on a project to design a Mount Junior School Website to promote the School. The girls will write, design and code the website themselves. We look forward to seeing the site develop and sharing with you the final product in the future!