Cybersecurity, the new £50 and #The Turing Challenge

In October last year we highlighted the useful resources produced by the National Cyber Security Centre. It’s critical that schools review the measures they have in place regularly with their service providers or in-house support – two alerts have been issued recently by the NCSC on 23 March and, specifically for early years practitioners, on 16 March.

Secure digital platforms and technical infrastructure are an absolute prerequisite for remote and blended learning and teaching, as well as for schools’ internal and external facing processes and systems (and that, of course, includes equipment used at home as well as in school, whether by staff or students and their families).

Children’s rights in the digital world

Leaping from a local to an international level, children’s rights in the digital world have now been recognised by the UN (with an international celebration event yesterday that included such influential speakers as Professor Shoshana Zuboff, Professor Sonia Livingstone and Baronesses Beeban Kidron and Helena Kennedy). 

As the 5Rights poster celebrating this achievement puts it “Digital services should not take our personal information and use it in ways that are unfair or unjust, or allow others to use your information in ways that don’t benefit you”, and “Digital services must not target you with advertising, selling your information or allowing others to do so. You must be protected from violence of all sorts”. Find out more, including how children and young people have been intrinsic to the UN Committee on the rights of the child recognition, on 5Rights here.

The Turing £50

The need for this protection is not new (as we talk about in our year 5 Codebreakers workshops, with examples back to Roman times, as well as mention of Bletchley Park and Enigma).  The value of data and information and the need to protect it as well as to gain access to it in the interests of national security when under threat of war is in the spotlight today with the design of the new £50 note being revealed by the Bank of England. This celebrates the codebreaking and computing pioneer Alan Turing. 

According to the Bank of England:

The polymer £50 note contains advanced security features, completing our most secure set of Bank of England polymer banknotes yet. The note, like the £20, incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit. There is also a hologram image which changes between the words ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’ when tilting the note from side to side.  

 The #TuringChallenge

Today the Bank of England, in collaboration with GCHQ, also launches The Turing Challenge for all aspiring codebreakers and puzzle solvers: 

 The #TuringChallenge requires you to solve a string of puzzles which get increasingly difficult. Crack the answers to the first 11 puzzles which should give you 11 single words or names which you’ll need your very own Enigma simulator to decode!

In contrast to Turing’s experience in the past, GCHQ currently recognises the need to embrace diversity “where problem solving and a diverse mix of minds are at the heart of its work to help protect the UK from increasingly complex threats”.

Primary maths competition

Alongside the Turing Challenge, in collaboration with the Maths department of the University of Sheffield, the Bank of England has also just launched a primary competition. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this, which combines maths, algorithms and decoding, nature, history and patterns for Y5/6 – what’s not to like!

Cybersecurity tips

Returning to schools’ need to ensure they are taking sensible steps a good starting point is the NCSC 10 tips to cybersecurity and the sector-specific resources for schools.

Finally, the relatively new (September 2020) e-learning package Stay safe online: Top tips for staff is a short ask for colleagues to complete. For early years practitioners there is a new pdf overview.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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