17 February 2016

The two winning schools have been announced in the Race To The Top coding competition.

The competition, run as a partnership by Northamptonshire County Council, the University of Northampton and Code Club and originated and sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), seeks to improve the teaching of computer coding and to develop Northamptonshire pupils’ technology skills.

Coding competition winners

Energy-saving app

Students across Northamptonshire were invited to put their computer skills to the test and create a game or an app with an energy-saving theme, which they then submitted their entries by uploading a two-minute video to YouTube about their design.

The awards were then judged by a panel made up of WCIT, the British Computer Society, the University of Northampton, Code Club and Northamptonshire County Council.

Team Sparky from Park Junior School in Wellingborough won the Year 4 to 6 category with their game which challenges players to fix solar panels on the school roof as they degrade over time, while the winner of the Year 9 category was Team Syntax Error from Kettering Buccleuch Academy for their app which tracks household energy consumption.

The winners received an engraved shield and a personal Raspberry Pi computer sponsored by WCIT at a special prize-giving ceremony on Friday (12 February).

Race To The Top

The competition forms part of Northamptonshire’s Race To The Top school improvement strategy, which identifies that pupils are currently underperforming in maths, science, technology and engineering.

Cllr Matthew Golby, county council cabinet member for learning, skills and education, said: “The games and apps designed by the pupils who entered our competition were really impressive, and it was great to see them showing such an interest in technology.

“I hope they continue to develop their computer skills and that this competition will inspire other young people to pursue an interest in science and technology.”

Michael Hoddy, of WCIT, said: “We are pleased to have played our part in this competition and are delighted to see such a good selection of inspired entries from the Northamptonshire schools taking part.

“The competition matches WCIT’s focus and interest in helping improve educational attainment and encouraging digital fluency amongst pupils and students from all ages and backgrounds.”

Dr Jon Hall, chairman of the WCIT Education and Training Committee, added: “Our best chance of a bright future is inspired children who can code. Our thanks go to the teachers and volunteers who, through Northamptonshire’s Code Clubs and this competition, have inspired these technology-gifted girls and boys.”

'Budding coders'

Scott Turner, Associate Professor in Computing and Immersive Technologies at the University of Northampton, said: “The creativity and technological know-how of the competition entrants really impressed us. The competition has inspired the young people who took part, and it’s great to see we have so many talented budding coders in the county’s schools.

“Coding promotes problem solving, team-work and analytical thinking – and those who code from an early age will have a real advantage in the future jobs market.”