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University of Northampton launches 2020 edition of Young Coders Competition

News Page 25th November 2019

A Northamptonshire school that is a three-time-winner of the national computer coding contest co-organised by the University of Northampton will help judge this year’s competition.

The Young Coders Competition aims to tackle a national shortage in coding ability. It does this by encouraging eight-to-11-year olds to have fun coding and spark a lifetime interest in the skill that may lead to them to a career  developing websites, apps and computer software.

Pupils from Park Junior School, in Wellingborough, have won the annual competition for three years on the trot. But rather than defend its crown for another year, the school has decided not to enter the 2020 competition which launches this week, and will instead have representatives on the judging panel.

Headteacher, David Tebbutt, said: “As reigning champions for the past three years, we are now looking for other schools to challenge our status and enjoy the benefits of entering the competition.

“It has certainly helped us to develop coding at the school and many children here now have a huge interest in it.

“We have won some amazing prizes over the years, received cups and trophies and enjoyed the publicity of being the champions, having been on the radio and in newspaper reports.

“It is now time for another school to take this on the title of champions and we look forward to seeing the entries.”

Scott Turner, Associate Professor in Computing and Immersive Technologies at the University, said: “We are delighted to be launching the 2020 edition of the Young Coders Competition. The contest has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2015 – last year we had a record-breaking 30 entries – and we now are inviting schools from across the UK to rise to the challenge and get coding with us.”

The organisers supply a package of 12 sessions for teachers to teach coding to their pupils, without having to do any preparation or have any previous coding knowledge. This helps to address a major gap in primary school teacher training, with very few having been taught coding. For teachers with some coding experience, a package of six-week sessions are provided. The package was devised by a teacher and reviewed by experts from the competition partners, including the University’s Computing academics. The University has also, in the past, assisted schools with their entries via a regular coding club, while its Head of Computing, Gary Hill, also sits on the judging panel.

The 2020 competition will task children with making a computer application that aligns with the theme Teach Your Pals About the Past. It’s free for schools across the UK to enter – to find out more, read the information sheet.

You can register to enter online.

View past entries into the competition by Park Junior School pupils on YouTube.

The winning school will win £500, with the runner up taking home £200 and the school in third place receiving £100.

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