COMPUTER whizz kids Faheema Ali, Anastasia Curtis and Lily Dunne will today join more than 100 schoolgirls to showcase their coding skills at the Houses of Parliament.

Girls Get Coding is being launched in the run-up to the new curriculum changes which makes computer coding compulsory and has been organised in response to increasing the numbers of girls aspiring to build careers in the digital world.

The girls from Markland Hill School will participate in live coding activities in Westminster before passing on what they’ve learnt, teaching MPs basic coding principles.

Emma Fitrzyk, computing subject leader and year three and four teacher at the school, said: “We were ecstatic to be chosen as a school to take part.

“I oversee a successful and popular Code Club — a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs on a Monday evening.

“It is run by businessman Ciaran Dunne.

“As a school we are interested in promoting coding and its importance to the children.

“I heard about the campaign going through Twitter and thought it sounded intriguing.

“I registered the school’s interest and they chose us and different schools from around the country to come to London to teach MPs how to code.”

Mr Dunne’s company ARM donated 10 Raspberry Pi packs to the school in readiness of September’s computing curriculum.

Mrs Fitrzyk said: “Without such a generous contribution we wouldn’t have the budget available to us to purchase additional mobile technology for our classrooms.”

And one of the Raspberry’s Pi’s is being offered as a prize to a Code Clubber who designs the best game using Scratch, a free programming language and online community where people can create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. The 10-year-olds are looking forward to showing that girls are good with technology too.

Lily said: “It’s a great opportunity to visit Westminster and it’s been really good learning to code as it is something that is different and fun.”

Anastasia added: “I’m excited to meet the MPs and I think it’s a great idea to get girls interested in coding to show that girls can enjoy subjects like this too.”

Faheema concluded: “I’m very excited to teach other people all the things we know.

“It proves that girls can make computer games and enjoy playing them — it’s not just a boy thing. It also lets you know whether you would like to do it in the future if you’ve had a go at it.” The day has been organised by e-skills UK on behalf of PICTFOR, the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum.

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central and co-chair of PICTFOR, said: “Get Girls Coding is an excellent initiative which will open the eyes of young women to the realities and potential of a career in IT.

“Only 17 per cent of technology jobs are held by women and the number of women enrolled in IT courses has not changed in 30 years.”

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