Boys from Years 7–10 relished the opportunities offered to them during Enrichment Week 2021, when all four year groups were given a day off from their normal lesson timetables.
From the cerebral and scientific challenge of cryptography to the literary, emotional and rhetorical attractions of Shakespeare, the week featured a very diverse range of activities designed to be both stimulating and fun.
For Year 10, the brief was to work in groups to design and construct ‘wearable architecture’, using 6mm paper tubes.
Assistant Head (Pupil Progress) Sarah Westcott said: “The boys were asked to give consideration to form and structure. Many of the groups demonstrated good team-working skills, with some of them even managing to include moving parts.”
Year 10 were also involved in drama workshops that included performances of a heavily abridged version of Romeo and Juliet.
Year 7 enjoyed the chance to apply a little lateral thinking in an RAF cyber security challenge. This STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) activity involved tackling a series of cryptography and coding tasks and helping a company retrieve its stolen data from cyber criminals. Working in teams of six, the boys competed against each other and against the clock, battling to be the first to unlock the stolen data.
The task helped inform them about ‘phishing’ and other techniques used by criminals to compromise their targets’ data.
Originally the day was to be led in person by RAF personnel, but because of Covid restrictions, the School managed it virtually, starting the day with a live stream through YouTube in which the boys were given an outline of their tasks and an overview of the importance of cyber security. Funded by the RAF, the event was run in collaboration with the Smallpeice Trust, an educational charity promoting careers in science and engineering to young people.
“We wanted to raise awareness of digital careers, whilst developing students’ problem-solving and research skills,” said Dr Westcott. “Students found it challenging to work to time and benefitted from the need to think creatively to solve problems whilst coordinating their team’s efforts.
“The event was intended to give an insight into the types of skills required for careers in cyber-forensics. The boys discovered that it isn’t all about coding – you must be a collaborative member of a team and keep a cool head under time pressure, too.”
In addition, Year 7 flexed their vocal cords in a singing workshop, while Years 8 and 9 took to the countryside on their respective sponsored walks.