A NEW business is helping teachers and children learn computing skills.

ScratchMyPi director Robyn Duckworth is a former primary school teacher who started the company after realising there was a gap in the market she could fill.

She said: “The idea began in January when I noticed a Raspberry Pi in a shop. This led to a brainwave of linking it to the curriculum.

“I approached Mike Everitt at the Business Support centre in York to help with funding, the business plan and cashflow. He was very supportive and helped me work through the plans.

“With his help, I secured a small business loan and also benefited from his support and advice.

“The market was researched through my local knowledge as a primary teacher and knowing that the curriculum was changing and that teachers needed support.

“I was also aware that there was no computer based club for children in York and that many children liked computers and programming.”

Ms Duckworth says there is an increasing demand for children to learn programming basics from an early age as the new national curriculum published in 2013 introduced programming lessons for 5-year-olds. It is therefore important that educational staff know how to programme so they can teach it.

Since it was founded in March 2014, ScatchMyPi, which is entering New Business of the Year, has run 15 programming courses for teachers across the northern region, and won a contract to deliver computing at Barmby on the Marsh Primary School.

ScratchMyPi also runs a weekend computer club and holiday workshops for children as young as eight to learn computing-related electronics through fun activities such as developing robots, joystick games and burglar alarms.

Ms Duckworth, who runs the business from The Reeves in York, hopes to get another school contract in the future, and to develop methods for making computing and electronics easier in primary schools.

She is currently setting up another electronics club in the Goole area and a harder programming club and will set up holiday workshops in the Selby area.

She has also begun to develop kits which teachers can use in the classroom to make programming more interesting, using her own teaching experience.

Ms Duckworth added: “I have found people to be very responsive to ScratchMyPi.

“It’s named after the Scratch computer program and the Raspberry Pi. We have a good relationship with Acomb library where the workshops are held.”