Ocado Technology readies primary school teachers with code initiative

Ocado Technology launches code initiative as teachers reveal they’re underprepared for computing curriculum

Ocado Technology has launched a coding initiative after finding that 73% of primary school teachers feel they have not been given the necessary resources to teach children to code.

With the computing curriculum due to start in September, Ocado Technology polled 250 UK primary schools, discovering that the majority do not have access to sufficient hardware, resources or training.

The main part of the initiative is a free teaching resource called Rapid Router, which targets Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2.

Rapid Router includes an educational web application with lesson plans, activity guides and coding career videos. The web app features 25 levels for pupil progression and a function where children can create their own challenges.

Pupils will progress from visual programming language Blockly to the more complex Python.

Fran Worby, a year four teacher at Tudor Primary School, said: “This is a fantastic resource. It clearly introduces the language of coding to children in a fun and engaging way. It also allows children to develop their understanding in this area of the curriculum by introducing coding language in small, manageable chunks – offering excellent progression.

“Coding was a whole new area for me, let alone the children, and this teaching pack has made it easy to get started with the requirements of the new curriculum.”

Paul Clarke, director of technology at Ocado, said: “As a technology company at its core, Ocado relies on recruiting a constant stream of the brightest and best software engineers and other IT specialists to fuel its continued growth and disruptive innovation.

“We wanted to find a way to give something back by investing in the next generation of computer scientists, while hopefully increasing the number of girls selecting technology subjects. As a key strand in our corporate social responsibility strategy, Code for Life provides a tangible and relevant way for our engineers to volunteer their time to help support the introduction of computing into the primary school curriculum in September.”

A year five pupil from North London said: “We’ve been using the Rapid Router game for a few months now and we love it. I like the challenge of the harder levels, but the best bit is the where you get to create your own maps.”

Paulina Koch, an Ocado Technology intern, said: “I’ve been working with developers from across Ocado Technology who have volunteered to build this resource after work and at weekends. I’ve loved having the opportunity to work with teachers and pupils to ensure the app delivers exactly what they need. Knowing it will be used by thousands of pupils around the country to gain skills that will benefit their future is a really exciting prospect.”

As part of the Code for Life initiative, Ocado Technology has joined forces with The National Museum of Computing, in Bletchley Park, to host the Weekend Codability project. The project will launch in September and is designed to enable young visitors to experience computer programming for the first time.

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