Year 5 GCHQ!

Year 5 were lucky enough to welcome two real life spies, who work at GCHQ in Cheltenham, to the classroom this week so they could deliver a code breaking workshop as part of their outreach work. We were told we could call them ‘David’ and ‘Ellen’ but our visitors were not allowed to be photographed in order to help protect their anonymity. All of this made for a very exciting visit which was hugely interesting and gave the children a really interesting perspective on job opportunities when they grow up.

We were shown lots of genuine World War 2 artefacts from Bletchley Park and told the history of code breaking in Britain. The children took part in both creating and decrypting secret codes using a range of ciphers, including pig pen, Caesar cypher and rail codes.

We had a great day and enjoyed the Q and A opportunity where we learnt that inside the doughnut building there is the country’s busiest Greggs bakery, among many other secretive nuggets of information!

Enjoy the photos and do speak to your child(ren) about it.


two children reading a book of codes child reading a book of codes children reading code books two girls showing a book to camera code breaking machine code machine, a book and paper information inside plastic artefact wallets child writing or cracking codes on paper paper artefacts in plastic sleeves from GCHQ two children, one showing a piece of paper to the other two girls cracking codes and writing on paper girl showing code on a piece of paper to the camera. Other children in the background two children showing rolled up code sheet to the camera someone holding a strip of paper with code two children showing rolled tube with wrapped codes to the camera child measuring the length of a tube children cracking codes on paper sat at desks