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Competition launches to inspire a new generation of coders

A new interactive educational initiative, 'Every Child Can Code,' wants to prove there's no age barrier to good programming - like being 7 or even younger.

Sir Clive Sinclair's team at Retro Computers Ltd, which recently launched the Vega, a modern version of the hugely popular Sinclair gaming device of the 1980s, the ZX Spectrum, says it's going to encourage and enable children to code their own games so as to spark interest in coding at the primary level.

The children can then exchange their games with each other via email, and the company will put the best games submitted to it on the web site for everyone to enjoy, it promises.

"Sir Clive's Spectrum spawned an entire generation of young computer coders during the 1980s, making the UK the world leader in this field; we aim to create the same level of enthusiasm for coding amongst today's youngsters," said Retro chair Dr David Levy.

A key component in the Every Child Can Code scheme is a child-friendly software 'coding teacher' that monitors a child as they program - warning, for example, when they have made a syntax error, and assists the child in understanding what they have done wrong in their coding and how to put things right.

The new coding learning scheme will be free of charge and is being launched today for the start of the new school year. The scheme is for all children, not just those who own or have access to a ZX Vega.

'A new generation of coders'

In parallel with the Every Child Can Code scheme Retro Computers Ltd has also announced today a new National Schools' Coding Championship.

Every UK school can take part in the planned competition, which will have a division for primary and prep schools and another for secondary and independent schools and sixth-form colleges.

Prizewinning entries will be added to future versions of the ZX Vega's collection of 1,000 games, says the firm.

"Our aim is to encourage the growth of a new generation of coders in the UK, so our country can once again become a world leader in this field.," added Sinclair.

Find out more about the 'Every Child Can Code scheme' and the National Schools Coding Championship here

(c) 2015