Programming olympiad for coding pupils

Grade 7 to 12 pupils can test their coding skills by entering the national Programming Olympiad through their schools.

The annual Programming Olympiad usually attracts more than 4 000 entries from around 200 schools.

Even though coding is only in the syllabus from Grade 10, and then only for those who take IT, many pupils code in primary school with some teaching themselves at home and others picking it up from friends.

Michael Cameron, joint CEO at the Computer Olympiad Trust, explains to pupils: “Everybody who plays computer games knows that you advance from one level to the next by starting at a level you can manage. The more you play, the better your skills.

“There are three levels. The entry level test has to be run at your school for a maximum of one hour at any time in the week from Monday August 1 to Friday August 5.

“The first problem of the first round will be easy to solve; the last problem not so easy, but all the first round problems can be solved using Scratch.

“All that is needed is to be able to work out how to solve a logic problem, to code your solution and to run it on a computer.

“You may use any computer language such as Scratch, Delphi, Java or Python. Your answers are then submitted online to the judges, and if you score above average, your school will be sent your certificate: bronze, silver or gold.”

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Pupils can ask their teachers to enter them in the Programming Olympiad. Teachers can email