Around 2,000 pupils from 20 primary schools in Fife are to learn the “fundamentals” of computer programming in an 18-week remote course which launched this week.

The Virtual Coding Academy – designed by Fife College, with support from Fife Council’s economic development team – offers pupils in P5-P7 an introduction to the world of coding.

The scheme, now in its second year, enables youngsters to work through a range of basic programming on HTML, CSS and Python.

The HTML element of the course incorporates practical and creative exercises such as drafting text and uploading images for a webpage. On Python, pupils get the chance to learn how to program games.

The programme concludes with a James Bond-like task, where the kids can make an encryption program to send and receive secret messages with a friend.

Fife College developed the course material and set up a comprehensive library of video tutorials and resources, which allow class teachers to deliver the academy in school.

The launch of this year’s Virtual Coding Academy coincides with National Coding Week (13 -19 September), an annual event that prompts people to learn new digital skills or share the skills they have.

Rebecca Blyth, academic and quality manager of computing and technologies at Fife College, said: “We are excited that more pupils will get the chance to develop essential skills in programming and maths through this year’s Virtual Coding Academy.  

“The academy is designed to provide young learners with the ability to code using HTML, CSS and Python programming languages, all of which embeds the meta and employability skills required for our computer programmers of the future.

“The opportunity to highlight career opportunities at a young age, while engaging their imagination, is key to building their economic future.”

Jenny Davidson, a teacher at Leslie Primary School, said: “Our children were delighted to be part of the programme last session. We have looked at basic coding in the past however feel this added more depth and progression, challenging everyone.

“The children enjoyed the online learning experiences and are excited to be part of this again. The resources were colourful, in depth and engaging for the pupils”.

Councillor Altany Craik, convener of the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee, added: “Supporting children to develop a programming mindset is a key part of their development and is a vital skill for the future.

“The use, development and expansion of technology in the coming years will only grow, so we need to ensure that our young people have the skills they need to succeed. That includes learning about the fundamentals of computer programming, as well as fostering more logical, creative and problem-solving mindsets.”