16 January 2013

Code Club founder Clare Sutcliffe to speak at POINT

by Robin Richmond, Conference director

Code Club founders, Clare Sutcliffe – left, and Linda Sandvik

Clare Sutcliffe is the kind of person that policy makers espouse. Code Club, her joint initiative founded with Linda Sandvik, has caught fire, literally from a single Tweet to a national phenomenon in a matter of months – with 472 Code Clubs nationally at the time of this post (it is worth noting that POINT became aware of Code Club when there were around 20 in the UK).

Code Club is a simple and positive idea based on establishing a national network of volunteer-led after school clubs to teach children aged between 9-11 how to code.

A Brighton Code Club workshop

A natural entrepreneur, Clare’s is prone to straight talking and combined with her natural northern brusque and humility she tends to avoid the hyperbole surrounding Code Club.

“When I was at school I was hugely disappointed with just learning how to use Power Point. It was only when I started working that I realised how creative IT [Information Technology] could be. When I realised that it was still like that in schools now I was horrified”. Speaking to the FT in 2012.

The idea to place a Code Club in 25% of the UK’s primary schools by 2015 is however a bold statement of intent and one that catches the spirit of the age – a positive story concerning education, change and the need to educate children appropriately for the needs of the 2020s and beyond.

The Independent recognise a good idea when they see it

The media loves Code Club and it is not hard to imagine that the ever increasing volume of pixel and column inches that will inevitably follow will place Code Club close to the centre of positive stories about education in what are uncertain waters in the coming months.

At a time when the present government is seeking to change the syllabus and structure of school education, reducing creative subjects, it is worth noting that Clare is very much the product of a creative education. She trained as a graphic designer at under graduate level before moving into the professional world, at first in advertising and then in web design and development.

Curriculum planning

Watch out for Clare and Code Club, they’re going places. Clare has already appeared at TedX and it’s more than likely you’ll be hearing more about this great initiative outside in the coming weeks and months.