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UK's first curriculum linked coding platform launched

The new learning-to-code platform from Turinglab aims to provide pupils aged 11 - 16 with crucial digital skills for the future 

Posted by Hannah Vickers | August 03, 2017 | Secondary

Turinglab, an organisation dedicated to teaching fundamental coding skills to school children, has partnered with Ada, the National College for Digital Skills to develop and pilot the UK’s first creative coding platform aligned to the national computing curriculum. BJSS, the award-winning, delivery-focused IT consultancy supported Turinglab to develop this platform. 

During the six-week summer pilot, Ada spearheaded the rollout of Turinglab’s learning platform to 30 schools across the UK. More than 1,000 students – more than double the initial target of 500 – benefited from this learning. Taking feedback from the pilot, Ada and Turinglab will further develop the platform before making it available to schools across the UK later this year.  

The move is an essential step in supporting the national curriculum for computing, helping students develop the knowledge and skillsets needed to address the current digital skills gap in the UK economy. The platform, developed by Turinglab with pro-bono software development and testing support provided by BJSS, 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.

The Turinglab online platform will help students in early secondary school (KS3 and KS4) learn fundamental coding skills mapped directly to the national curriculum. It is designed specifically for younger students and is based upon 18 months working with children learning to code, as well as input from a number of influential computing educators, including Mark Dorling, co-author of the KS1-3 CAS Computing Progression Pathways, and Peter Kemp, advisor for the new KS4 curriculum.   

Turinglab created the platform, with support from BJSS’ dedicated teams in Leeds and Bristol. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provided supporting funding through a grant to Ada’s online learning umbrella, Ada Advance Initiatives.

Hundreds of children from all walks of life, and educators across the country, will benefit from engaging learning which is mapped to the national curriculum - Glynn Robinson, MD at BJSS

Glynn Robinson, MD at BJSS, said that he is delighted to support the 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,” he said.

Sam Green, Founder of Turinglab, agreed: “This new platform is an important step for all involved. It enables Ada, as the National College for Digital Skills, to honour their commitment to advancing best practice for the teaching and learning of digital skills; it allows BJSS, our industry collaborator, to invest in technology and young people with credible partners driving real change; and it accelerates Turinglab’s ability to empower children across the country with fundamental digital skills through creative coding,” he said.

Mark Smith, CEO of Ada, added: “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.” 

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