Barkingside pupil training next generation of technology whizzkids

Jack Petchley Award winner Janushan Shanmugavadivel from Ilford County High School

Jack Petchley Award winner Janushan Shanmugavadivel from Ilford County High School - Credit: Archant

An A-level computing student is helping train the next generation of technological whizzkids.

Janushan Shanmughvadivel, 18, a student at Ilford County High School, Fremantle Road, Barkingside, set up Kids Code last year, an after school computing club for primary pupils.

After struggling with code and “the language of computers” when he started his A-level course, Janushan took the initiative to contact Newbury Park Primary School to set up a club where he could teach younger children about coding.

“I found coding really difficult, it was a whole new language that was very abstract and hard to understand,” he said.

“I felt like it was a missed opportunity that I hadn’t been able to learn code earlier and I didn’t want other children to struggle when they started to learn computing, so I set up after school clubs.”

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With help from other computing students, Janushan’s Kids Code clubs are now run in five primary schools in Redbridge and are likely to expand.

The volunteers use Scratch programming software with pupils from years five and six and teach them a basic text-based programming system called Python – with all the resources prepared by Janushan.

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“I really enjoy working with the children,” said Janushan.

“They naturally want to be creative, they want to try new things and invent stuff, so teaching them computer coding is like ducks taking to water.”

The children are taught through quizzes, games and problem solving and are able to create their own animation and games using their new skills.

Janushan, who collected a Jack Petchey Achievement Award on Thursday, hopes to set up his own business one day in the technology sector and plans to remain as head of Kids Code and continue to expand it and run it as a not-for-profit enterprise.

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