Free interactive Python tutorials for beginners

Try it, debug it, extend it
Try it, debug it, extend it: Python tutorials

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll hopefully be publishing a series of 20 free interactive python tutorials for beginners.

Here’s the link to the list of resources

Each activity has four sections:

Theory: what you need to know if you’re in a hurry

Try it: working code snippets that you can adapt and use

Debug it: code sabotaged with common mistakes that you can practise fixing

Extend it: open ended project ideas for your to apply what you’ve learnt.

You can track your progress through each activity and generate a free PDF certificate showing your score at the end.

The first activity is all about getting your python program to output to the screen:

What attracts you to computing

Making computing accessible for all

This series of posts aims is aimed at UK secondary school teachers to give some free ideas and resources in order to help make computing lessons engaging and inclusive in order to help attract more and more students to continue with the subject at GCSE and beyond.

When students are choosing their GCSE options they seem to love asking teachers why we chose to teach our subjects.

Often, I can almost see the cogs turning inside some of my students’ heads, weighing up whether they should choose Computing over Art; ticking off the benefits of each subject as they make the first real choice that might affect the rest of their lives.

Whatever they use to make up their mind – who teaches the subject / what their friends are choosing / what they’re good at / what they enjoy – there’s clearly a lot more that we can do to promote Computer Science as a viable, challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile option. The national figures show a pretty poor GCSE uptake of GCSE Computer Science compared to other eBacc subjects and an abysmal uptake by girls. Boys, whilst outnumbering girls at KS4 and beyond, are being outperformed by girls from KS2 onwards. So there’s definitely something not right there that needs addressing.

CAS include
CAS #include. Making computing accessible for all

I’ve been slowly working through the brilliant advice on the CAS #include site about how to ensure that my Computing lessons aren’t just catering for people like me and it strikes me that the way to be inclusive for all also looks and sounds like the way to be engaging and stretching for all. This post aims to share some of the mistakes I’ve made as well as some of the things I’m trying to put right to make sure that all students get the most out of their computing lessons, hopefully also boosting recruitment at KS4 too.

I’ve come up with 6 Cs to use as a checklist for planning engaging and inclusive computing projects:

Free weekly python remote learning resources: update on new features

I’ve seen some really creative teaching and learning ideas to support students learning python programming during remote learning. Lots of teachers are looking for ways to stretch and support computing students while they’re working from home or as an optional extra competition during term time.

It’s been a little while since I posted an update on and I’ve been working hard on some new features:

Each week there’s a new episode of Each episode starts with a YouTube video that talks you through the design and development of a short python program. It then has links to four interactive resources that relate to the code in the video.

You can access the resources on almost any device without needing to register or sign in at, or schools can register for free accounts so that students can compete against their classmates and teachers can track their progress.

You can watch a quick guide here:

All resources and instructions for setting up groups for students can be found at

I’ve just been working on improving the student competitions so that students can use their Microsoft Teams logins to access the challenges and scoreboards. My next challenge is to improve the user interface in to make it easier to monitor students’ code in real time.

If you have any feedback or suggestions I’d love to hear from you.

All the best!

Free weekly python remote learning activities

When the first lockdown started in March 2020 I wanted my Computing students to still be able to get some regular practice building up their skills and confidence with python programming, so I launched a series of weekly challenges that they could work through.

I took a break over the Summer but found that even with schools open for face to face teaching, I still wanted students to be able to compete against each other for prizes and grow in confidence with python programming. So in November I relaunched the weekly activities.

The challenges are aimed at my awesome Y10 Computer Science students but anyone from Y7 – Y11 who’s interested in python programming could use them. The idea is that each week there are 5 free activities that you can dip into:

  1. Live coding video on YouTube: students can watch a short (around 10 mins) video showing how a python program comes together. There’s some great research that shows live coding (inviting students into the thought processes as they see a program evolve from start to finish) can really help understanding and writing their own code.
  2. Code type race: students of any ability can type out the code from the video to grow in speed and accuracy so that programming becomes a less frustrating experience for them.
  3. Experimenting with code: students can view, edit, run and extend the code from the video on any device. The code itself has comments with challenges that students can work through.
  4. KPRIDE (Keywords, Predict, Run, Investigate, Debug, Extend): Dr Sue Sentance published some ground breaking research on a structured approach to teaching programming and KPRIDE builds on her PRIMM model with interactive activities that add an extra emphasis on code comprehension and debugging.
  5. Extension challenge: each week there’s a different game, puzzle or activity to work through that links to the code in the video

You can find all the resources here:

There are loads of great resources out there. I’m not claiming that mine are the best (by any stretch of the imagination!). But they’re free and I hope they’re helpful.

All the best and do get in touch if you have any feedback or suggestions.

Free primary computing remote learning resources

I am in awe of primary teachers who are managing to teach students in school and send out home learning videos and resources at the same time. Thank you and well done!

6 years ago I worked with some amazing primary teachers across York to come up with some resources for the introduction of Computing to the National Curriculum for England including some keyword posters to help with the weird and wonderful words used in the computing programme of study.

To help with remote learning, I’ve put together a load of free online activities that students can do on (almost) any device without needing to sign up or login. They’re all based around keywords and definitions linked to each part of the KS1 and KS2 Computing programme of study.

There are loads of other computing resources out there but I hope that these save someone some time and stress.

Key Stage 1 Computing

Key Stage 1 Computing
Free primary computing remote learning resources for KS1

Key Stage 1 Computing is split into Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. You can find keyword games for each learning objective here or play a random game here

Key Stage 2 Computing

Key Stage 2 Computing
Free primary computing remote learning resources for KS2

Key Stage 2 Computing is also split into Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. You can find keyword games for each learning objective here or play a random game here.

Free online activities

There are keywords and matching definitions for each learning objective for both KS1 and KS2 Computing. You can share a link to any of the following activities that use these keywords and definitions:


Bug Zap free computing games
This activity is really quick for students to do. Click on the right word to zap a bug.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2


eliminate: free computing games
This activity is also really quick but makes them think a little more. They have to click on all the words that don’t match the definition.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2

Flappy Word

flappy word: free computing games
Are primary children too young to have played flappy bird? This is a shameless copy of the idea where you have to avoid the pipes to collect letters. When you’ve collected enough letters you have to rearrange them to spell the right word.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Hangman Definitions

hangman: free computing games
Hangman is a pretty morbid game when you think about it. But undeniably fun. You have to choose the letters to guess the definition of a keyword.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Hangman Keywords

hangman: free computing games
This is just like the other hangman game but a little more reading and less guessing. You are given the definition and you have to guess the keyword.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Jumble Keyword

jumble: free computing games
This one is great for spelling. You’re given a definition and you have to rearrange the letters into the right order to spell the keyword.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.


snake: free computing games
My students love this one but I’m not keen. You have to control the snake to collect the letters in the right order to spell your keyword. It takes quite a long time to do but students say it’s fun.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Type Race

snake: free computing games
This is probably my favourite. You have to type out the keywords and definitions. The faster you type the faster a little dinosaur runs on the screen. It will work on a touch screen but it’s designed to help build speed and accuracy typing on a keyboard.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Word search

word search: free computing games
You can do these on screen by clicking on the first and last letter or you can print them / export as PDFs so you can send them out for students to do offline.

Here’s an example for KS1 and KS2.

Competitions and tracking student progress

All of the activities are designed to work without needing to log in or sign up, but if you make a (free) teacher account then you can create competitions so you can track the score, accuracy and progress for each game. Go to to create an account or manage your competitions.

Students don’t need to make accounts to take part in your competitions – they’ll be asked to enter their names and a code (which you decide when you make the competition). If you share this code with your students you can keep it private so that only your students can join in.

Students can’t see each other’s names – you’re the only one that can do that. Personal data is encrypted and stored in the UK to be GDPR compliant. You can find out more here or contact me if you have any questions.