YOUNG whizz kids have earned their school a cash prize after cracking the code for success.

The youngsters from St John’s Church of England School in Colchester came out on top of a field of more than 100 schools in the national Young Coders Competition 2021.

Year 5 pupils Darcey Tomkins, Sidarth Senthilnathan, Ryan Painter, Ruby Scrutton, and Martha Wilkinson – all of whom are members of the school’s coding club – were tasked with developing a computer game based on the theme of safety.

Naming their team The Screaming Llamas and with only four weeks in which to prepare and develop the game, the five pupils dedicated numerous lunchtimes, as well as time outside school, to prepare their entry.

Deputy headteacher at the school Paul Arrowsmith said: “The pupils had a short turnaround. They had only four weeks. They didn’t have very long at all.”

But he added the Covid-19 lockdown had resulted in children using computers more and more to aid their learning, which helped them win the competition.

“The coding club was only established this year,” he added.

“A lot of them have been on their computers as we’ve had to do a lot of remote learning, so they were familiar with some of the programmes.

“I was at the computer club for several of the lunchtimes so I know how much work they’ve put in. They worked well as a team to put it together, so I’m really pleased for them.”

In feedback given to the young boffins, the competition judges described the game as “fantastic” as well as being “both fun to play and informative”.

As a personal prize for winning the national competition, the pupils at the computer coding club will all receive their own signed copy of the book Fowl written by children’s author Shaun McMahon.

They will also receive a personalised certificate at the school’s virtual assembly taking place later this week.

And the school has reaped the rewards of its pupils’ success too as it is set to receive £200 in prize money.