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. Lots of volunteers team up with colleagues or friends to run a club - they then help each other or take turns to run the club.
There will always be a teacher there to help you - think of them as your club partner. Clubs are most successful when teachers and volunteers work together combining their classroom management and programming powers!
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, then move onto HTML & CSS and Python.
Code Club is designed to be fun and creative. You will be a role model for potential coding kids anywhere, show them how enthusiastic you are and how much you love programming!
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.
Convincing your boss is easier than you think. Lots of employers encourage their developers to give back to the local community and allow them time out to run a club. It raises their profile in the area and means children are being taught important digital skills that could benefit the industry in the future.
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 soon move 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.
• As part of the sign up process, you'll need to complete some volunteer training, so we know you have all the info you need.
• 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.
What we teach
You can access the full set of projects here. We recommend always starting with Scratch but if you'd like to move onto Python rather than HTML after then that is fine with us!
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: Scratch - Advanced
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
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 a checklist, but we've outlined the process here as well.
Use the search box below to find a venue to host your club in.
Contact the venue: if they are already registered with us as looking for a volunteer then they should be receptive. If they're a school who isn't registered we'd recommend trying to get in touch with the ICT Coordinator. Or if you're contacting a public venue then find out who is responsible for running clubs. Make sure they understand that a member of staff will need to help you out.
Arrange for a DBS statement and insurance via STEMNET or via the venue.
Complete the Code Club Volunteer Training. You can do this online, or you can come meet us at a training session.
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 reckon 10 -15 children is a good number.
Introduce Code Club at assembly or via posters to explain how much fun computer programming can be and drum up some interest.
Download the materials from your club planning page and prepare for your first club!
Start searching for a venue below!
Lots of Code Club volunteers have blogged about their experiences running a Code Club. Have a read so you know what's coming.
DBS Checks and Insurance
It is compulsory for anyone regularly working with children under the age of 18 to have an Enhanced DBS check 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.
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.
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.
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.
Got more questions?
You can bet we've answered them before.