Navan Education Centre has submitted an application to Science Foundation Ireland for funding under its Discover Programme Call 2016. The submission was made by the closing deadline of June 7th, on behalf of nineteen education centres. The amount sought is the maximum allowable under the SFI Programme for two-year Partnership Funding. The result will be announced by Science Foundation Ireland in October 2016 and we shall hope for a positive outcome. If successful, education centres throughout Ireland will have funding to support schools who choose to engage with a Ready Steady Code Champion Tutor who will help the school introduce computer coding as a part of their methodology in maths.

SCHOOL and COMMUNITY LINK: Our tutor-training courses target retired, part-time, unemployed primary or post-primary teachers as well as graduates, BEd undergraduates, CoderDojo parent/mentors and ETB tutors. The basic eligibility criteria for interested trainees is to have some experience as a computer tutor or mentor and at least average interest in promoting the teaching of maths and logical reasoning. Teachers are the experts in teaching maths and they require no background in coding to learn how to use RSC to support their maths teaching. The Champion Tutors are not necessarily experts at maths. They will know, however, how to guide the teachers to appreciate, how maths assignment-work in copy books, can be equally completed and verified using Scratch code. The teachers will see for themselves how Maths with Ready Steady Code creates great scope for problem solving and logical reasoning with the added skill of computational thinking.

Are you a primary school principal or school IT coordinator? Perhaps you might consider nominating a person from your community, if you know of someone who is suitable, who meets the eligibility criteria and who would like to train as an RSC Champion tutor. We particularly have in mind parents who are actively involved in the community as mentors in CoderDojo. Notify your education centre which in turn, will notify the parent about upcoming RSC tutor training. When trained, the Champion tutor can come to an arrangement between the education centre and their local school (plus neighbouring schools also) about introducing RSC to the school teaching staffs in the area. All tutors will have to go through Garda vetting procedures. Tutors should be available (in their own time) to give training during or after school hours, Weekday evenings or Saturday mornings. The attracting prospect is their being able to earn part-time or supplementary income. The link with the wider community through the engagement of parents as in the CoderDojo clubs has great potential in the long term to enhance home-school-community links. There are already two such parents trained as RSC tutors who will be working with schools and communities.