13 November 2019

Game on! Competition for pupils across Northern Alliance launches

Primary school pupils from across the Northern Alliance – from Aberdeenshire to Shetland and right across to Argyll and Bute – are to benefit from the opportunity to take part in a competition to create a game using coding software, SCRATCH.

The event is aimed at young people in Primary 6 or 7 who will come together at school in teams of four to develop key skills in collaboration, creativity and computational thinking as well as digital literacy.

It is based on the success of an Aberdeenshire-led GamesCon event which has been really successfully delivered for pupils with an event culminating at RGU at the end of the school year since 2016. The idea is that it helps to raise aspirations in computer science and encourage more girls to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, and it also serves to diminish gender stereotypes at the same time as helping the youngsters develop real-life skills for learning, life and work. 

The event has been backed by all eight local authorities in the Northern Alliance – Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Highland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. It has been developed in partnership with Education Scotland whose Northern team now forms part of the regional improvement collaborative. It is hoped the wider, collaborative event will become an annual event in the school calendar.

Local authorities will upload all of their entries to Glow, an online collaboration tool many schools already use, and two finalist teams from each council area will be selected to participate in a grand final event involving around 64 pupils in Inverness later in 2020.

Aberdeenshire’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay said: “We’re really pleased to be able to share our GamesCon competition format with councils across the Northern Alliance. It’ll be fantastic to see our finalists competing with young people from so many different parts of Scotland in the grand finale and we hope as many schools as possible will sign up.”

New Lead Officer for the Northern Alliance, Helen Budge who is also Director of Children’s Services for Shetland commented: “This is an opportunity to capture the imaginations of young people right across the Northern Alliance.

“Science and technology is for everyone regardless of your gender and we’re keen to push boundaries as well as enabling pupils to benefit from the collaborative approach the Northern Alliance is delivering for teachers across the area.

“We are very excited about this competition and the grand finale event next year.”

David Gregory, Senior Regional Advisor for Education Scotland’s Northern Team added: “This is an exciting opportunity for Education Scotland to collaborate with teachers and help to continue to develop the digital skills of children and young people from across the Northern Alliance.”

Register for the competition and find out more at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/nagamescon/

For more information about the work of the Northern Alliance, visit: https://northernalliance.scot/