Cracking coders

Date Released - 12/07/2017

WHEN it comes to code, St Raphael’s School, Stalybridge, have cracked it – thanks to some timely help from Tameside Council and Tameside College.

 The Millbrook primary, which hosts Tameside’s only Star Club for computer coding, had been finding it difficult to work at because their hardware was ageing. The computers had been donated by Ashton Sixth Form College in 2012 when they were already five years old. Lack of funds made it difficult to keep them working and to run modern software.

 Sandra Taylor, the volunteer who runs the school’s code clubs, approached Emma Grant, a project manager within Tameside Council’s employment and skills service, to ask if she knew anyone willing to donate computers.

Tameside College responded to the plea with 20 units and these have all been cleaned, formatted and upgraded to 4GB of memory.

Sandra said: “St Raphael’s is encouraging children to learn the skills they will need for their future employment.

 “We start coding with children when they are in Reception, through the worldwide Hour of Code, which takes place every December. Every child from Reception upwards gets the opportunity to learn how to code using the website.”

St Raphael’s Code Club started in September, 2015, with a group of Year 6 children, and last summer was successful in becoming a Star Club. This year there are two clubs, one for Years 5 and 6, and one for Year 3.

Sandra added: “The Year 3 group is the biggest and they are super-enthusiastic and keen to learn.

“I will be applying for Star Club status again this year as we have a growing club with younger children working on materials designed for Years 5 and 6 in addition to our older children.”

 Cllr Lynn Travis, Tameside Council’s executive member for lifelong learning, said: “I was very pleased to be asked to visit St Raphael’s to take a look at the new computers and very impressed by what I saw.

“Computers and coding provide children with important skills in the modern world. I would like to thank Tameside College for its very generous donation.”

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