Two schools in Scottish Borders take part in ‘EU Code Week’

Two schools in the Scottish Borders took part in activities during EU Code Week, from the 19th to the 23rd October. 

Kelso High School and Earlston Primary School were the only schools in Scotland to participate in the live lesson part of the programme, which went out to schools across Europe.

The virtual event consisted of live coding lessons and follow-up activities, all of which are now available to watch on YouTube. The series of programmes were designed for pupils from P6 and S2 and their teachers to increase confidence around coding, with 59 primary schools and nine secondary schools in the Scottish Borders invited to participate. Throughout the sessions, the pupils used the Swift Playgrounds app which has been designed to help students master the basics of coding on iPad or Mac.

Andrew Jewell, Education Team, Inspire Learning, said: “This is an opportunity to showcase what is happening in the Scottish Borders at a national and potentially global level. Coding has become an increasingly sought after skill across a range of industries and helps people understand how to solve problems and create solutions.

“This event allowed younger pupils to dip their toe in the water, improve their digital literacy, and increase teacher confidence in delivering this subjective as a core part of the curriculum in the Scottish Borders.”

This event follows a six-week coding course that the Scottish Borders rolled out for all first and second-year pupils at secondary schools. Initially planned for autumn 2020, it was able to be moved forward as Scottish Borders Council accelerated its rollout of iPads to all secondary school pupils due to COVID-19. All primary five to seven children in the local authority will now also receive iPads.

Catherine Thomson, Quality Improvement Officer, Scottish Borders Council said: “This event is a great follow-up to our coding programme which we ran before lockdown for first and second-year students. The goal now is to continue to build on this and implement our ten-year strategy, ensuring that every pupil from the Scottish Borders leaves school digitally literate, with an understanding about how to code.”

Jill Lothian, Head Teacher at Kelso High School, said: “We are always looking for ways to ensure pupils are prepared for the future, and the pandemic has shown that digital skills will be crucial to the workplace going forward.

“We jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the EU Code Week programme, which we felt was a fantastic way for the junior pupils to build on their skills and experience gained via the coding programme which we launched in June. Through this, they have been able to see their skills improve in a tangible way, and they understand this is something that will be highly valuable in the future careers.

“iPad has enhanced the pupil learning experience, enabled teacher creativity across all subjects and is truly embedded into the curriculum. We want to build on this going forward, and are exploring different ways of teaching subjects which is a direct result of the flexibility afforded by the Apple technology, which I think will give rural schools new opportunities for teachers and pupils.”