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Students in front of the mansion at Bletchley Park.

Cambridge Launchpad students crack the code at Bletchley Park

The 2017-18 academic year saw Cambridge LaunchPad reach over 6,300 students between the ages of 8–17 years old. During the project days, students are encouraged to develop their core skills, qualities that they will use throughout their lives such as teamwork, communication and problem solving. As the programme rewards these achievements through experiences, the winning Innovator students (Years 7–10) were invited to attend a day out at Bletchley Park.

One parent who attended the visit commented on the value that trips like this can have on young people:

“It is good to learn that there are rewards for taking part in Cambridge LaunchPad. It’s a great opportunity to go to an interesting place and provide students with more STEM career information just when they need it.”

During the day, the students took part in a codes and ciphers activity in which they were taught some of the encryption methods used throughout history at Bletchley Park and given the chance to see a real, working Enigma machine. They then split into teams to try and crack the code and uncover the name of the ‘Spy’, John Cairncross – a British Civil Servant who became an intelligence officer and spy during World War Two.

The  students were then taken on a tour of the park where they discovered more about daily life at Bletchley and the challenges that the codebreakers faced. The students explored Alan Turing’s office and the working conditions of the codebreakers. They also enjoyed an interactive exhibition learning about the Bombe and how the machine helped solve the problems encountered with the Enigma.

A Year 7 Student at Parkside Community College said:

“I really enjoyed today, and I think that coming here allowed us to see and understand history in an enjoyable way. STEM subjects really give us all the opportunity to experience things that we might not have had otherwise. Thank you very much for this trip.”

The Cambridge LaunchPad programme was developed to inspire a love and fascination of engineering, science, technology and maths and help to educate young people about the exciting career opportunities that exist in STEM.

Molly Askham, Events and Marketing Coordinator from Form the Future CIC, said:

“The enthusiasm that we see from students during these trips really emphasises the importance of these experiences. For many students they have not had the chance to visit these sites and so it is really great for them to see how the subjects that they are learning in school, have and will continue to be used in the world they live in. “

If you are looking for ways to increase your student’s enthusiasm and engagement with STEM activities and connect them with leading STEM companies, please get in touch!


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