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Stamford students secure second at GCHQ workshop

Stamford students secure second at GCHQ workshop

Year 10 students from the Stamford Endowed Schools have achieved second place at a GCHQ Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) event, where they were required to use their language skills to complete a series of complex puzzles and tasks.

Full team at MFL event

Over one hundred students from eight schools gathered at Stamford Endowed Schools for the day long MFL event, coordinated by Business Language Champions, in conjunction with CGHQ.

The event, called ‘The Word is Not Enough’, was facilitated by six members of CGHQ staff, alongside representatives from Business Language Champions, whose workshops and educational speeches exampled the benefits of studying a language.

Workshops with GCHQ

Working on tasks for GCHQ

The day started with a keynote speech from GCHQ, who presented a brief history of the organisation and a question and answer session with the students. Following this, students were split into three groups and given taster sessions in learning Arabic, Chinese or Korean. An introduction to basic cryptology and code breaking set them up for their first task.

The main assignment involved students deciphering codes, working out clues and proceeding through tasks to ‘infiltrate a drug smuggling ring’. In an unexpected twist, the teachers were then ‘captured and held hostage’, requiring the students to complete challenging tasks to come to their rescue!

After the main assignment, student groups presented for four minutes to a panel of business advisors and CGHQ staff in a language that they were studying. Stamford Endowed Schools entered three mixed teams, speaking in the languages of German, Russian and Spanish, who all overcame the challenging task of answering questions in their target language. Stamford’s Spanish team were awarded the second prize position, and presented with copies of a GCHQ puzzle book, which was signed by the Director of GCHQ.

These presentations led to the final task of the day; creating a board game, linked to the theme of GCHQ. Materials to create the game had to be ‘purchased’ from a ‘shop’ using their chosen foreign language. This shop was kindly manned by Stamford Endowed Schools sixth form students, who used their modern foreign language skills to converse with and serve the competitors.

Stamford teams working on GCHQ MFL task

Teams presenting at MFL event

Mrs Caroline Wray, Head of Russian at Stamford School and coordinator of the day, said: “This was an outstanding day, it was challenging, lots of fun and really interesting, with excellent language work by all!

“It was great to hear how important Modern Foreign Languages are in the world today, and discover the opportunities open to our students.

“Some great teamwork between Stamford School and Stamford High School students, who have met up for a few lunchtimes prior to this event, made sure that all the preparation work was complete for the day.”

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