Volunteering for Code Club
What is it like to volunteer for Code Club? Our volunteers give you the inside scoop!
Your role as a volunteer
Volunteering for Code Club involves travelling to your local primary school or public venue once a week to run your club for an hour. As a Code Club leader you'll be able to take our projects to the school for the children to work through. Our projects use Scratch in the first two terms in order to teach the basic concepts of programming. In term three you can teach HTML and CSS and in term four we'll be teaching Python. There is more information on teaching materials below.
Code Club is designed to be fun and creative. Learning to code is a happy by-product of a child's time at Code Club. You will be a role model for potential coding kids anywhere, show them how enthusiastic you are and how much you love programming!
Choosing a venue
You can run your Code Club pretty much anywhere you like as long as it's safe, has computers and has a supervisor from the venue who can be there each week. Primary schools are best as this infrastructure already exists but libraries, community centres and museums will all work well too.
Know what you're signing up for
Please note you do need to have a reasonable knowledge of computer programming to be a Code Club volunteer. Our first term uses Scratch but we’ll soon be moving on to more advanced languages such as Python.
Volunteering for Code Club will be the best thing you do this year. Guaranteed. But there are some things you should know before you sign up.
• Each Code Club lasts for 1 hour and happens once a week.
• You will need a DBS statement (used to be called CRB check) and a supervisor from the venue must be at each Code Club you run.
• You will need to print and staple a copy of project instructions for each child or pair of children. You will need preparation time to do this. Unfortunately we can’t cover expenses.
• Please allow for travel time too.
• You will not be allowed to charge for your club under any circumstance. Code Club is free for all. Thems the rules.
Term outlines and sample projects
Term One: Scratch
This term will take your club from a tour of the Scratch interface right through three levels of difficulty. The projects create games, animations and toys. There are basic exercises then challenges to stretch those that can go further.
Term two: Hard Scratch
This term will really stretch your club’s abilities requiring them to use what they learned in term one. The projects in this term have been designed to be very flexible. They encourage and require high levels of thought and creativity.
Term three: HTML & CSS
In this term your club will learn how the building blocks of the web work and will build their own website.
Term four: Python for beginners
In this term we introduce your club to real life programming. We teach basic concepts via the fun of turtles, fractals and ciphers!
How to set up a Code Club
We've tried to make volunteering for Code Club as easy and quick as possible. When you register we'll walk you through it step by step.
Use the map below to search for a venue to host your club in.
Contact the venue: we suggest first getting in touch with the lead ICT teacher at the school, then you can go together to talk to the head-teacher and convince him/her that Code Club is a great idea. Or if you're contacting a public venue then find out who is responsible for running clubs.
Arrange when your club will start and what days and times it will run after that. You'll also need to agree the number of children in your club. We recommend no more than 12 children per adult.
Introduce Code Club at assembly or via posters to explain how much fun computer programming can be and drum up some interest.
Arrange for a DBS statement and insurance via STEMnet or via the venue
Download the materials from your club planning page and prepare for your first club!
You can always team up with more volunteers to run a larger Code Club together.
Have a look at your local Code Club Google group and put the word out.
Start searching for a venue below!
What to expect
Most of the children in your club won't have done any programming before so you will probably have to explain the concept before you get going.
The school computer system will not be what you expect and you'll need to work with them to install Scratch. More information on that in the materials.
The children will work at different paces, this is fine. Don't panic, just help them at their own speed.
DBS Checks and Insurance
This is compulsory for anyone working with children under the age of 18 and you will not be allowed to run a Code Club without one. We recommend that interested volunteers sign up for the STEM Ambassadors Programme.
You will receive a free disclosure, insurance and also loads of other great support with your volunteering.
STEM Ambassadors is a volunteering programme for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) professionals and those with a personal interest in STEM subjects. STEM Ambassadors receive a free enhanced DBS check, are insured by STEMNET, and also benefit from being linked into a local network of schools and volunteers. The local STEM Ambassadors team work closely with schools and may be able to assist you in contacting schools. There are also training opportunities and networking events, so you can get to know your fellow volunteers.
Please note that membership of the STEM Ambassadors Programme is not mandatory for those wishing to get involved. However, we think it’s a great way to make sure you’re fully supported in your volunteering.
To sign up as a STEM Ambassador, you will need to complete the registration form and attend a two-hour induction session on working effectively and safely with young people. The ID check for your DBS check will take place at the induction, and the rest of the application is done online. Disclosures are normally issued within 4 – 6 weeks.
To be covered by STEMNET’s insurance, you will need a teacher present at every Code Club session as previously stated.
Code Club does not provide checks and insurance. It is your responsibility and the responsibility of the venue to make sure all the legal checks and insurance are in place BEFORE you begin your club. Unless you are a teacher at the school, you will be asked to provide evidence of this upon registration.
DBS Checks have replaced the old CRB checks. Please visit the Government DBS site for more information.
Lots of Code Club volunteers have blogged about their experiences running a Code Club. Have a read so you know what's coming.