BJSS co-pilot the UK’s first creative coding platform aligned to computing curriculum

The Bristol-based award-winning IT consultancy collaborated with Turinglab and Ada to pilot a learning-to-code platform for 11-16 year olds
9th August 2017

Bristol-based IT consultancy BJSS has joined forces with Turinglab, an organisation dedicated to teaching fundamental coding skills to school children, and Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, to develop and pilot the UK’s first creative coding platform aligned to the national computing curriculum.

Over 6 weeks, the organisations have tested the new platform on children from over 30 UK schools providing over 1000 11 to 16-year-olds with crucial digital skills for the future.

“[We have] ensured that hundreds of children from all walks of life, and educators across the country, benefit from engaging learning”

 

Glynn Robinson, Managing Director at BJSS,  (pictured left) says: “We are delighted to support this fantastic initiative. Organisations like Turinglab and Ada play an essential role in passing on the skills that children need to thrive in the digital age. By combining our support with Ada’s reach, Turinglab has ensured that hundreds of children from all walks of life, and educators across the country, benefit from engaging learning which is mapped to the national curriculum.”

Future proof education

The pilot comes ahead of a planned wider release of the platform, which uses a mix of gamification and creative project-based software tools to help improve digital teaching standards and open up future technology career and apprenticeship opportunities.

As well as digital skills, the platform is the first in the UK to help students in early secondary school learn fundamental coding skills mapped directly to the national curriculum. It is designed specifically for younger students based on 18 months working with children learning to code, as well as input from a number of influential computing educators.

“The great news for me has been an increase in the number of girls now showing interest”

 

Cris Baptiste, ICT & Computing Teacher at Saint Gabriel’s College which took part in the pilot, says: “In the short time my students have taken part in the Turinglab pilot, general interest in computer science has grown, with several asking for the pilot to continue after the summer holiday. The platform has a lot to offer – from colourful drawings and interactive animations to programming exercises and online quizzes bringing computer science theory to life.

“The great news for me has been an increase in the number of girls now showing interest, and the programming languages used by Turinglab, being Python and Javascript, fit in perfectly with the next phase of studies at GCSE level.”

Mark Smith, CEO of Ada, adds: “We are excited that the partnership with Turinglab has yielded a robust platform for students to start coding creatively. Learning digital skills doesn’t just start at sixth form — from a young age, students are already developing the skillsets and mindsets that will drive the UK’s increasingly digital economy. As our first online learning venture under Ada Advance Initiatives, this platform is a strong first step toward Ada fulfilling its remit as a truly national college.”

Coding for all

The pilot comes shortly after BJSS announced a community investment partnership with Turinglab which will see the firm finance 100 Turinglab scholarships each year for children from low-income families, allowing them to attend its 10-week long programme teaching computing skills in a blended-learning environment supported by local Turinglab-trained university students.

The first ten children to qualify for these scholarships have recently completed their learning ahead of a wider rollout to Leeds and Manchester in the autumn and Bristol in January.

Sam Green, Founder of Turinglab, says: “BJSS is the perfect partner for us to drive and expand our programme across the UK. We created Turinglab to pass on skills we thought were crucial to the next generation in an increasingly digital world. Never has it been more critical for the UK to address the digital skills gap, and we’re delighted to be working with BJSS to help make this vision a reality.”

Find out more about the new creative coding platform and to register your interest, check out the Turinglab website. You can also find out about BJSS’ involvement on the BJSS website or by following them on Twitter here: @BJSSLtd.