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BCS Cyber Challenge Competition

This year was the fifth year the Hills Academy has entered this Coding Competition which is run by the Bedford branch of the Chartered Institute for IT, Computing at School and Cranfield University. It engages students interests in Computer programming and STEM.  

The dedication of all the children who enter is amazing each year. This year, I had nine children who decided they wanted to create a resource for the competition.


Year 5 – Andy, Oliver, Zahra, Abigail

Year 6 – Kaighlan, Curtis, Austin, Seth, Vasili

This year was particularly exciting because we had a new group of children from year 5, who had not ever had any experience of entering a competition for coding, so that was really encouraging!

The children met together the first week back after the Easter holidays to find out the requirements of their entry that was needed and what category they were coding a resource for. All children were to use Scratch programming software, and they all decided to work individually.

I would like to commend all the children for their diligence, hard work, and commitment in working on their entries during after school workshops over a 10-week period of time.

The Finals Presentation Afternoon was held on Thursday 6th July, where all nine children were able to attend and the children headed off to Cranfield University, with myself and Mrs Griffin.

This year we had strong competition from Bedford Modern and Mark Rutherford Schools, with they respective teachers present but we say eagerly awaiting the judging results.

Our host, as usual, was Dr Ip-Shing Fan who is leading the Digital MRO and Hangar laboratories in the Cranfield DARTeC Initiative.

The complex is a realistic representation of airport ramp and hangar environment to study the interactions between aircraft, engineers, airport and hangar facilities, ground vehicles and drones. So there is a lot of technology used in this environment which is fascinating for the children to see and hear about. The technology ranges from small robots that can repair small areas deep inside an aeroplane’s wing system to drones that can measure wind speeds, temperatures and angles to a working full size simulation of an aeroplane cockpit used for training purposes.

The children sat waiting for the results of first, second and third in each category (this competition is open for children from years 5 to 10 in Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire).

First came our entrants group Year 5. We watched as a few students demonstrated their games. They were very good, and we held our breath!

Third place came and went. “In second place, the Hills Academy with Zahra’s entry!” Fan announced. We clapped and cheered. Well done, Zahra!

Then we moved onto Year 6. I was very nervous for all the children. Demonstrations of games and resources were held again, then the awards. Third place came and went. Second place came and went. “In first place, the Hills Academy, with Curtis!” announced Fan. Again, we were so happy and clapped and cheered as Curtis went to collect his prize medal and trophies, for himself and the school. Then Fan announced another price for a highly commended award and this time, Vasili was the hard-working recipient. A super result!

After the presentation and watching some fantastic demonstrations of other children’s work using not just Scratch, but Python and Unity, it was time to have a snack and drink then followed by a visit outside to see the Boeing-747 that sat on the tarmac. The children were given an insight into many of the amazing parts of the aeroplane, seeing up close the luggage hold, engines, and cockpit (from the outside) while listening to a lot of technological information.

After that, it was time to leave with our collection of trophies to add to the previous year’s awards, and a lot of happy and excited children. Roll on to next year when we do it all over again so the year 5’s told me!

Mrs Williams