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Year 6 visit Bletchley Park

Published on 05/12/23

On a typical winter’s Friday, Year 6 from Stephen Perse Cambridge Junior School and Dame Bradbury’s travelled to Bletchley Park for a day of code-breaking and historical enquiry. 

Highlights from the day included the workshop, where they learnt about the German World War II Enigma Code, and each pupil got to press a key on one of the few remaining working Enigma machines. Pupils took on the role of a new recruit at Bletchley Park, signed the ‘Official Secrets Act’, and had a crash-course in Morse Code, which they then put through a cipher to decode German messages about Allied deceptions prior to D Day. 

“I was amazed how talented the code breakers were to decipher German codes so quickly with only six months of training.” Ava, Stephen Perse Cambridge, Junior School

“It was amazing to hear the fact that if you painted a single grain of sand red and hid it somewhere amongst all the sand on Earth, that red piece of sand would be easier and more likely to find than to solve the Enigma Code.” Alex, Dame Bradbury’s.

It was great to see history come to life when touring the mansion and huts at Bletchley Park. The guided tour gave pupils a vivid sense of what life would have been like for the wartime cryptologists who worked there. It was a particular privilege to see Alan Turing’s office and the ‘Bombe’ machine he helped to develop to decipher German codes, a forerunner of the modern digital computer.

The pupils themselves showed computational thinking in abundance, when cracking codes, and were inspired by the incredible level of creative thinking deployed by the Bletchley code-breakers to solve the problem of Enigma, with its mind-blowing number of permutations!