Bright sparks will reach new heights

Pupils from Mereside Primary have been learning how to code drones using Ipads.  Pictured are Miles Amuche, Amy Duffy, Jake Blake and Emily Appleby

Pupils from Mereside Primary have been learning how to code drones using Ipads. Pictured are Miles Amuche, Amy Duffy, Jake Blake and Emily Appleby

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Watch them fly!

These youngsters at a Blackpool primary school are soaring to new heights by showcasing their techy skills.

Pupils at Mereside Primary School on Langdale Road, helped the school to be crowned ‘best primary school’ at the National Coding Week Awards last month.

Now an official computing school, pupils are learning to code and even fly drones as part of the school’s plan to get children more involved in technology.

Teacher Thomas Sale, who was also recognised at the National Coding Week Awards for his dedication to IT, said: “We teach coding across the whole of Key Stage 2 so I try to make it as hands-on as possible.

“We have been lucky enough to get a grant which we used to buy four drones.

“The children have been coding them to take off and land, coding them to perform tricks and go along an obstacle course, flying through hoops and landing on tables in the school hall.

“It’s a hands-on way of getting involved and the children love it.”

Mr Sale added that the school hoped to inspire children to develop their technological skills through the appointment of ‘digital leaders’.

He said: “Digital leaders are students who are willing to support teachers with coding, and also their peers through running lunch clubs.

“We meet on Tuesdays and plan out the meetings we are doing with other children.

“They all know how to tweet on Twitter and post on the school’s blog.”

Though Mereside Primary hopes to inspire children to embrace technology, Mr Sale said that internet safety was a top priority at the school.

He said: “Though you have to be 13 to use social media, a lot of children already do use it at home.

“We tell them not to put their name or their school or any personal information on the internet, and to never show their face. If they want to tweet from the school they have to run it by me first.

“They all enjoy coding and being able to control something using instructions.

“It inspires children to feel like they could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

“They all play video games and they all use the internet and it shows them that computers aren’t as geeky as they think.

“It’s preparing them for high school and giving theminformation to take computing further when they move on.

“I’m very proud of the students.

“It was very nice to receive an award for Best Teacher but ultimately I did it for them school and the children.”