Monday before school (8:00am to 8:55am) we have the Year 10 programming catch-up club: aimed at students who are doing their Computer Science GCSE but need to boost their Python programming skills to help them improve their Controlled Assessment grade.

Mondays, Period 7 (that’s 3:05 to 16:00) we have a Python Programming Club, run by some of our Year 10 (becoming Year 11) Computer Science Students for our Year 7 and 8 students, who are keen to learn how to program early. This club takes place in room B15. There is also a Python programming club, run by Mr Kelly Tuesday P5a, again available for Years 7, 8 and 11, and again in B15.

Additionally, for our Year 11′s, we have Wednesday lunchtime PCC (no, not the Press Complaints Commission) the “Python Catchup Club”, where students can catch up with their expected python skills, should they have slipped behind, or forgotten: this takes place in B15. There is also Homework club, run by Mr Hill (a programmer with 30 years experience) who is on hand in the library to assist Year 10s and 11s with any computational problems they may be encountering: running Monday to Thursday 15:05 to 16:00.

Additionally, our Year 10/11 GCSE students run a lunchtime club for other Year 10 and even Year 9 students who wish to program and make music using Sonic Pi. Having been trained at the University of Cambridge last year, the “Sonic Pi” crew have performed at Chesterton’s Got Talent and have recently collaborated with “Sin Cru” a local urban dance group to put on several public performances.

Tangentially, the Science Department run a robotics club, utilising equipment and know-how from the staff and students of both departments, but with Science taking a lead on this club.  It runs on Wednesday, after school, from 3:05 until 4:30 and doubles up as an additional opportunity for Year 10 programmers to improve their Python skills.

We hope to start a “Hardware Club” in the new term (Autumn 2015) and have been collecting old computers for the purpose of taking apart and putting back together. It is intended tobuild this into the curriculum for Year 7 and Year 8, starting next term also.

Our Chair of Governors, here at Chesterton is Simon Peyton-Jones, a Principle Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, gave a talk earlier this year where he extolled the virtues of Computing at School.  He hoped that this could be a realisation of the “Big Society”, with It professionals, parents, organisations, coming into schools and helping to instil a computing Ethos to put the country at the forefront of teaching computing.  Follow the link to watch the fifteen minute clip.

If you are an Computing professional, parent, Computing heavy organisation with a well funded outreach program into Community Secondary Schools, and would like to run a regular club, or come into school and inspire our students to become the computer programmers of the future, then drop me an email at nkelly@chesterton.cambs.sch.uk.

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