Clayesmore’s mathematical masterminds

Well done to C3 – the Clayesmore Code Crackers – for completing the National Cipher Challenge. The results are in and our pupils did brilliantly, finishing joint first in Part A, and in the trickier Part B a respectable 72nd out of 350 teams: only just outside of the top 20% nationally. This was the first time we have entered the Challenge, which is a nationwide, online code-breaking competition run by the University of Southampton’s Mathematics Department from October to January. The competition is structured as a series of encrypted messages making up one whole story. This year’s quest was to decipher the enigma related to the death of a young scientist working in the hottest topic in mathematical physics, gravitational waves.

Substantial success was in store also in the UK Mathematics Trust’s Senior Maths Challenge for seventeen of our Sixth Formers. Amelia in Y12 achieved the dual honour of a gold certificate and the best in school. Silver certificates were awarded to Alice A., Arran, Ash and Matthew C. Bronze certificates went to Bridget, Jago, Philippe and Theo in Year 12, as well as to Egor, Emilia, Ethan, Hanna, Ilya, Jack D, Leonie and Ross in Year 13. Our Senior School team also came 6th out of 23 in the regional heat of the Challenge.

This term our maths minds will see action in two national challenges:

The countdown has begun to the Alan Turing Cryptography Challenge run by Manchester University, and we have not one, but two teams representing Clayesmore. This Challenge is for secondary school pupils up to Year 11 and is made up of six chapters, the first of which kicks off on Monday (23 January). This year’s competition follows the story of two young cryptographers, as they get embroiled in a decoding adventure ‘The Tale of the Mediæval Manuscript’. Every week or two a new chapter of the story is released with a complex code to decipher. 

In addition, Prep School mathematicians get involved too, as we have a combined Year 8 and 9 team preparing to compete in the Team Maths Challenge in March. Also organised by the UK Mathematics Trust, this competition gives pupils the opportunity to tackle a variety of engaging mathematical activities while developing teamwork and communication skills.

Says Miss Rhead, Teacher of Maths and Further Maths: “There is certainly a buzz about Maths at Clayesmore, as every Friday thirteen Prep School pupils come along for i2. Last term we had just one code-breaking team, but this term there are several and they will also be competing against each other. All of these activities involve students doing Maths, in their own time, for fun!”