Benton pupils spearhead digital revolution

Below is a copy of the report which was in Friday’s Evening Chronicle!!

A group of Tyneside primary school pupils are spearheading a digital revolution which is sweeping the nation’s classrooms.

Since September, studying the coding of computing has been mandatory in all state first and secondary schools, but ten youngsters from Benton Park Primary School have ventured further.

The children, aged 9 to 11, have taken part in a pioneering five-week project on the topic led by Marc McKiernan of the Haltwhistle Film Project, and are now preparing to pass on their knowledge to not only their peers across the region – but also teachers.

The scheme was put together by Bridge North East, funded by Arts Council England, which tries to connect children and young people with art and culture.

Leila d’Aronville, of Bridge North East, said: “It’s so important – not just at school – that children learn about coding.

“This programme can appeal to all children by focusing in on what they enjoy – it is really accessible to creative and mathematically minded children as it brings together arts, music, maths and science.

“We think it is right that they start young and believe that they are the best people to share their understanding with their peers and even teachers,”

Children at Benton Park Primary School took part in a pioneering five week project led by Marc McKiernan of the Haltwhistle Film Project

 

Marc, whose organisation aims to advance and improve education and training through encouragement of involvement in various forms of media, explained that although the pupils learned about coding to produce video and music, the language is universal and can be applied to any discipline.

He added: “The children all approached it differently. Some of them laid out the stuff carefully. Others dived in. But they all finished at the same time.

“If they had been told to do it one way, some would have got left behind and some would have finished in five minutes and been sat there twiddling their thumbs.”

Alice Witherow, Benton Park’s headteacher, said: “I can vaguely remember doing little bits of coding at secondary school but I was none the wiser. The children take to it so easily. It seems like second nature to them.”

She added: “It’s about coding, but it’s also about confidence. It’s about resilience and problem solving. They have to help each other to solve problems and then they have to teach it to somebody else.

“We know that if you teach something to somebody else you get better at it.”

Children at Benton Park Primary School took part in a pioneering five week project led by Marc McKiernan of the Haltwhistle Film Project