The Perse Coding Team Challenge: Paving the way for a generation of coders

Posted on: 19 Sept 2023
Posted by: Claire Ziwa

Claire Ziwa, director of communications at The Perse School, outlines how the Perse Coding Team Challenge is inspiring pupils to broaden their interest in computer science, while boosting their creativity and teamwork skills.

In the realm of technological advancement and innovation, coding competitions have emerged as a cornerstone for nurturing young talents and fostering collaborative problem-solving skills. Among these, the Perse Coding Team Challenge (PCTC) stands out as an exceptional platform that not only tests participants' coding prowess but also emphasises teamwork and creativity.

PCTC is an annual competition, which places a strong emphasis on encouraging participants to collaborate and leverage each other's strengths to solve intricate coding problems. This not only mirrors real-world scenarios but also nurtures vital interpersonal skills.

This year alone some 7,500 students took part in the free-to-enter competition – the biggest and most successful year to date, with around a 50 per cent increase in participants compared to the previous year.  640 teams qualified for Round 2 of the competition, with representation from around 160 UK schools (both state and independent). Certificates are awarded during both rounds at four different levels, and all participants have the chance to compete for the overall cup and prize money.
The Perse School has one of the most highly regarded computer science departments in the country and has led the way in inspiring young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to develop an interest in the subject. 

Recent successes have included student teams designing and coding programs run from the International Space Station (ISS), with one student representing the UK in the International Space Settlement Design Competition at NASA and another student representing the UK at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). Perse girls have also produced winning teams in the CyberFirst Girls Competition, run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - a part of GCHQ.

The Perse School’s head of computing and digital strategy, Paul Baker, commented: 

“It’s great to see the impact of the PCTC competition extending beyond the classroom and motiving and inspiring students to broaden their interest in computer science-related areas. As a school we are so proud of all our students have achieved, and we are also grateful for our opportunity to contribute to the national growth of computer science study.”

As technology continues to shape the future, initiatives like the PCTC competition help to pave the way for a generation of coders who are skilled and equipped to tackle complex problems while also being able to work well together as a team.

Find out more about The Perse Coding Team Challenge here, where teachers can also register to join the mailing list. 

About Claire Ziwa

Claire Ziwa is director of communications at The Perse School