7-8 Lecture: Codes & Ciphers



‘Codes & Ciphers’ is the second in a new series of events which we have introduced this year. Our intention is that ‘ISSP 7-8’ is a termly event for years 7 & 8 running from 7 to 8pm where high profile speakers will enthuse and inspire children through a 1 hour lecture. We are delighted that Thomas Briggs from Bletchley Park is coming to lead a talk for us called ‘Codes and Ciphers’.

This will be a session offering a whistle stop tour of encryption methods used throughout history, beginning with simple encryption techniques, dipping into some of the mathematics behind making ciphers more secure, and ending with a hands-on demonstration of a real, working Enigma machine.


Students will try some codebreaking of their own.
Parents are welcome to come, but don’t have to, but will be seated separately.

Date: Monday 27 March

Time: 7.00pm – 8.00pm

Place: Bootham School Hall

If your child in year 7 or 8 is interested in this event please do get in touch: york.issp@gmail.com

Masterclasses 2017 – Now Full

Our masterclass programme, running annually since 2008, has consistently been rated very highly by the young people and has been oversubscribed each year. This year’s masterclass programme is again designed to push and challenge York’s most able and interested students.

All masterclasses are now full and applications are closed.  Confirmations have been sent to all participants together with details for the first day, Saturday 11 March.

Yr 7 Breakthrough Event

What’s the greatest breakthrough in human history?
Young students inspired by York’s nationally recognised school partnership

What’s the greatest breakthrough in human history? was the exciting question posed to Year 7 pupils from across York’s secondary schools. Was the greatest breakthrough fire or the invention of numbers? Could it have been the Enigma Code or planting the first seed? Was it the printing press or developing aqueducts? In a high energy afternoon, presenters gave their pitches to persuade Year 7 students that their breakthrough was the greatest. The pupils then worked in teams with further evidence and trainee teacher mentors to debate the question. Just as they thought they had the answer, they were challenged to think differently about what we mean by human progress. ‘I liked being able to debate with other students from different schools, it was fun,’ was a comment from one student as he left. ‘We really had a good time and this has made us think about getting involved in future things like this’ was another comment.

This Year 7 Breakthrough event is designed to enable York’s new secondary age pupils to find out how much serious learning fun the ISSP has to offer. Chair of the ISSP Heads’ Steering Group Trevor Burton said: ‘This was an excellent event where it was really good to see students and staff from different schools working together.’

Renowned Classicist Peter Jones to visit St Peter’s, York

‘Quid Pro Quo’ – Peter Jones

Monday 17 October, 7pm – All Welcome!

Renowned classicist Peter Jones, from the University of Newcastle, will speak on what the Romans’ life and culture really gave the English and our language. He will take us on a fascinating journey along the highways and byways of Roman life and culture, telling the amazing stories behind the original Latin meanings and uses of hundreds of our everyday words.

Public Lecture Tickets are FREE & can be booked through Eventbrite. Google: Eventbrite St Peters School York

Please either print off your ticket or display it to us on your smartphone or tablet on the evening.

Students & teachers from schools across Yorkshire and members of the public are very welcome!

If you have any access requirements, are hard of hearing or would like to request a reserved row for your group please get in touch with Mrs Sue Jenks (01904 527322) events@stpetersyork.org.uk

The school is on the A19 in Clifton, just north of the city walls, with plenty of parking. (YO30 6AB)

Refreshments will be served after the lecture & there will be an opportunity to buy Peter Jones’ latest book and meet him.

Why ISSP? A York student on what ISSP means for her.

When I was asked to write about my experiences with ISSP, the first prompt question I was given was: “Why do you keep coming back?” As I read it, I really hoped that it was asked with a tone of intrigue, rather than with the subtext of ‘why can’t we get rid of her?’, because in all honesty I’m not sure they can. I attended my first summer school when I was 11, I turn 21 this September, and I’m still hanging around. What have I done in those 10 years? I hear you ask. I have attended 2 summer schools, helped at 4, spent a term learning Chinese (I can still say hello, how are you, and sing an off key version of Happy Birthday) and got to spend a few weekends drawing dead pheasants.

So, why do I keep coming back? ISSP masterclasses have offered me opportunities to learn things I wouldn’t have even thought about approaching on my own, and give me access to people, resources and places I wouldn’t have otherwise. In the art masterclass I took in year 11, we were allowed into St. Peter’s art studios, which meant I got to use print making equipment and have my work shown in a space that my own school simply couldn’t have provided me with. Although the things you learn in an ISSP masterclass aren’t going to be things you’re tested on in end of year exams, they really do end up being useful. Lessons I learnt about negative space in the art course I took in that first summer school have continued to inform my choices in illustrations to this day. At last year’s summer school I got to be a part of a course on ‘The Gothic in Literature’, which although it was aimed at a group of students a little younger than myself, actually served to give me a tentative base for an essay written only last term. More importantly, however, more than a few times a year I get to whip out a multicultural version of Happy Birthday.

I’m now going to have to get a bit sentimental with you, so apologies, I promise it’ll be brief. Firstly, the one word that lurks around the sell of all group situations, especially for young people, and that’s friendship. 10 years later, I’m still friends with people I met in my first summer school, I even see some of them around at uni, which is great as I’m a bit of a social recluse. Secondly, we have the warm fuzzies factor. It’s really pretty awesome seeing new groups of young people getting to the things I loved when I was their age, and getting to be a part of making that experience is even better. Although, you do have to overcome the occasional demoralising moment of ‘wow, these kids are so much smarter than I was at (insert age here)’.

On a more serious note, it can be difficult being labelled ‘clever’ in school. You end up with a bizarre complex about failing (because you don’t know how to and no one ever expects you to), the honour of being a pseudo-human-google for your friends, and occasionally a real talent for thumb twiddling. But, however daft it may sound, ISSP masterclasses, workshops and summer schools offer you a place to be ‘clever’ without the baggage. They’re all about finding what drives you to keep working at a subject and then giving you the resources and the push to build yourself into a better vehicle for that knowledge.

That said, I think if you asked me “Why do you keep coming back?” in person, the answer would probably just be “because it’s fun”.