The 5 best coding courses for kids in the UK

It’s National Coding Week – a series of events that takes place every year, designed to encourage adults to get into coding. Set up by former headteacher Richard Rolfe, the event has been running since 2014. 

During Coding Week, events are held across the UK in cities including London, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast as well as on Jersey and Guernsey in the hope of boosting awareness of the importance of computer coding. The full list of events is here.

Giving your kids the skills to code at a young age is invaluable. It’s up there with learning a new language or picking up a musical instrument – it’s a skill that could change your child’s life for the better. Not only does learning coding skills set them up for a career in a high-demand sector, but it covers a skill area in which modern education institutions still seem to fall behind.

You could go down a route where you learn to code for free, and then teach your child. The free coding courses outlined in our guide aren’t focused on educating children, so it’s not advised to start your kid with Codecademy or freeCodeCamp.

There are, however, plenty of child-friendly coding courses out there for your child to learn how to code. Even better, some of them are free and most of them are offline and in-person, fostering a sense of creativity and community alongside the core programming skills you want to encourage.

To help you find the course that’s best for your child, and possibly your wallet, here’s a list of the best coding courses for kids in the UK.

The best coding courses for kids in the UK

1. CoderDojo

CoderDojo is one of the most prevalent coding education movements in the world. All CoderDojo courses are completely free and volunteer-led, taking the form of community-based programming clubs for kids and teenagers. Kids aged 7-17 can learn to build websites, create apps and games, learn code or just understand and explore the potential of new technologies.

CoderDojo classes take place all over the UK. A quick search of “London” on the dojo search page brings up 21 classes nearby, some run as public events, others as private ones. Some of them are held by tech companies such as Skyscanner and ustwo games; others by publishers such as The Telegraph and Thomson Reuters. Universities and retailers also hold sessions, so there’s plenty of expertise available for kids to learn from.

2. FunTech

FunTech offers both term-time courses and summer camps to help kids from 7 to 13 or older learn key coding skills. Younger kids can start off with Minecraft mods, Lego robotics and Scratch programming, before moving up into Minecraft Redstone, app design, Java and Python coding, and even drone behaviour coding courses. They’ll also have the opportunity to learn how to touch-type like a pro.

Summer camps take place over five days and can include overnight accommodation if you want it to, while term-time courses come in select packages and run for a year. Courses aren’t cheap, though: a year-long “TechStarter” course will set you back £1,485, but a five-day summer camp can cost as little as £525 and they take place all across the UK.

3. Bermotech

Bermotech is a professional training company designed to plug the skills gap that adults may have in the workplace. However, they also offer up coding camps for both kids and teenagers that take place over the summer holidays or during term time.

Courses come in a variety of packages – all-day or half-day sessions, with some aimed at 9- to 12-year-olds and others at 13- to 17-year-olds. Courses focus on app development, Python coding and robotics programming up to tech entrepreneurships and web development skills. All courses take place in London and range from around £200 up to £550 for a few days of lessons.

4. Code Club

Code Club is a volunteer-run, community-driven coding course that runs like an after-school club at a school or library. Aimed at 9- to 13-year-olds, Code Club helps teach more than 83,000 children across 5,950 clubs three useful development languages. To help kids get interested in coding, Code Club offers courses in Scratch, alongside Python and the HTML and CSS skills needed for web development. Your kids can also learn valuable skills for developing Raspberry Pi projects, using Sense HAT or creating Sonic Pi soundscapes.

If you’d like to become a Code Club teacher, Code Club also offers training for adults to help them put together courses and teach kids.

5. W3 Schools

Not so much a course, per se, but W3 Schools gives you all the key parts of code and information you’ll need in order to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, jQuery, AngularJS, XLM and Bootstrap. It’s not the most friendly website, especially for kids, but if you’ve got a dedicated young teen on your hands, it’s a wonderful resource to help them brush up on any coding they’ve already learned.

Image: Coderdojo

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