NCCE physical computing kits, coming soon to a Computing Hub near you

13 July 2021

Looking to teach physical computing in your classroom next year but not sure where to start? Do you need free guidance, training, and access to the latest physical computing equipment? Then read on…

We are excited to announce that after a successful trial of offering physical computing kits in six NCCE Computing Hubs, we are now starting to roll the kits out to a further fourteen Computing Hubs this September. Get your hands on the latest technology and help your students learn how to build physical projects that are controlled with computers. All for free!

What is physical computing and how will it help me teach?

Physical computing means interacting with real-world objects by programming them with a computer. You can fulfil many areas of the computing curriculum at all key stages through physical computing, from the development of programming skills to more conceptual learning.

NCCE Hubs will have physical computing kits in the form of classroom trays with eitherCrumble (×17 per tray), micro:bit (×17 per tray), Raspberry Pi Pico (×10 per tray), or Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (×10 per tray) devices available to borrow.

Each tray contains a classroom's worth of devices, along with all the peripherals (such as LEDs, motors, wheels, and cables) needed to complete the following units from the Teach Computing Curriculum:

Feedback from the pilot

Suzanne Kennard, a primary school teacher from Furneux Pelham in Hertfordshire, had never tried physical computing before. She shared her experience of borrowing a physical computing kit from our London, Hertfordshire, and Essex Hub:

“As computing lead in a small school, I am looking to develop and enhance the teaching of computing across the school. … I liked the look of the physical computing unit but after doing some research I felt sure that several hundred pounds for the Crumbles and accessories would not be approved by the finance department! It was then I saw the loan scheme mentioned in an email circular and contacted the Hub school.

We completed most of the sessions while we had the kit. I found that as my confidence increased, I could set the class challenges as regards to the colours and sequences they could programme. They really benefited from the physical equipment.”

Two primary-aged children build a project as part of our physical computing pilot programme.

Chloe Barden, a teacher from Great Chesterford Primary Academy in Essex also borrowed a classroom tray of Crumbles from the London, Hertfordshire, and Essex Hub. She reported that the lesson plans and slides from the Teach Computing Curriculum have been hugely beneficial to her teaching as she had never used Crumbles or tried to teach physical computing before. She said, “This meant that I felt quite unconfident with delivering the Crumble lessons! Having the kit enabled me to try things out before teaching and familiarise myself with the components.”

Guidance and training

The NCCE has developed three new face-to-face courses to accompany the physical computing Hub kits that introduce the Crumble, micro:bit, and Raspberry Pi Pico:

In addition, the following online courses are available for teachers looking to develop their physical computing skills:

Which NCCE Hubs have the physical computing kits available to borrow?

All the hubs listed below can be contacted now to borrow a physical computing kit from the start of next term in September.

Don't worry if you can't see your local hub listed — any hubs not mentioned here will receive their kits by the end of September and will be able to start loaning them out shortly afterwards.

Cumbria and NE

Newcastle, Durham, and East Cumbria

North East and Northumberland

East Yorkshire, Humber, and Lincs


East Midlands

Leicester and East Midlands

East of England

Cambridge and Northamptonshire

London, Hertfordshire and Essex

Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire

Warrington and Merseyside


Lancs, North and West Yorks

West Yorkshire

West England

West Berkshire and Hampshire

Great London and Buckinghamshire

London and Hertfordshire

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire

South East

Dartford and East Sussex

West Sussex and Hampshire

South West

Cornwall, Plymouth and Torridge

West Midlands

Herefordshire, Shropshire, South Staffordhire, Worcestershire