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Islington’s tech stars of tomorrow shine at Celebration Of Computing

Ruby, 5, from Clerkenwell Parochial School, with an Oh Bot

Ruby, 5, from Clerkenwell Parochial School, with an Oh Bot

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Around 300 bright tech stars of the future shone at the Emirates Stadium last week as more than 30 Islington schools showcased the projects equipping them for tomorrow’s IT jobs.

TeenTech chief executive and former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin gave a keynote speech at the Celebration Of Computing, as pupils demonstrated the projects they’ve worked on so far this year – using cutting-edge programmable micro-computers and software to control robots, run a radio station, create an interactive dance mat game and much more.

The projects were possible thanks to the borough’s after-school Code Clubs, guided by volunteer industry experts from the likes of BT, Bloomberg and the BBC, as well as local tech companies and parents working in the industry.

Maggie told the children: “Tech skills can take you anywhere. You might decide to develop new instruments, you might decide to look at how robots operate in many ways around the world, you might look at the ethics of robots… I think there are a number of young people in this room who can change the world.”

She added: “The amazing thing is I cannot even dream about the type of things you will be doing.”

Pupils shared their projects with other Islington schoolchildren. They included:
- Hungerford primary using film editing software to create, edit and add audio narrative to a series of stop-motion animated shorts;
- Newington Green primary using software to create and edit their own radio show episodes;
- The BBC micro:bit computer put through its paces by girls from Highbury Fields school.

Pupils at Highbury Quadrant primary school also demonstrated an interactive dance mat they had developed with a Makey Makey micro-computer.

Sam Hutchins, the school’s head of computing, said: “What we are doing is linking science with computing. We are taking over a keyboard and showing them how the code connects to the keys to the real-life aspect.”

With the ‘Tech City’ technology hub on the doorstep in Old Street, the event was designed to excite and inspire pupils to take the leap into one of the world’s most challenging and innovative industries and plug the skills gap.

Islington’s progressive and well-supported computing curriculum, with five schools leading the way for others, means they are well on the way.

Some 80% of our primary schools have already set up Code Clubs, and we are starting to replicate their success in secondary schools.

A number of big-name industry partners have also thrown their weight behind the Islington scheme, including BT, the BBC, Microsoft, Lego, Discovery Education, CAS London, Barefoot and the London Grid for Learning.

Islington Council’s chief executive Lesley Seary spoke at the event, telling pupils: “The best thing for me will be that in 10 years’ time things like the Apple Watch are designed, invented, produced or developed by somebody in this room who was inspired by what they’ve seen today.

“If people do that we will really change the world and you will be a part of it. So dream big.”

The high-profile event also saw the University of Roehampton's Miles Berry, who helped lead the Barefoot Computing Project supported by BT, deliver a keynote speech.

Mr Berry said the standard of work was impressive across the board, and he was really taken with Grafton school’s HTML coding, the “hugely impressive detail” of Duncombe school’s racing game, and the projects from Sacred Heart school authored in the Scratch programming language.

Jonathan Legh-Smith, who directs BT's strategic research programme, also spoke to pupils and said afterwards: “I am extraordinarily impressed that 80% of the borough’s primary schools have code clubs; it’s clear that computing really is embedded in the borough.

“This is extremely encouraging because BT’s ambition is to help increase the tech literacy of all students across the UK.

“We believe it is essential all schools should become as comfortable as possible in teaching computing and Islington is an exemplar in how this can be achieved.”

The event was compered by Deputy Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher.

For more information contact:

Stephen Moore
Senior Media Officer
020 7527 3224

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Ruby, left, and Victoria, both 5, from Clerkenwell Parochial School, with an Oh Bot

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Cameron, left, and Sid, 9, from Ashmount Primary School

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Shaymanur, left, and Sky, both 12, from Highbury Fields School

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A Crumble programmable computer that has been turned into a robotic vehicle

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TeenTech chief executive Maggie Philbin inspires the pupils

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