Ciphers and challenges for mathematicians

It has been a busy couple of weeks for our Mathematics students. The Sixth Form Maths Society met to discuss a perennial favourite: code-breaking. The students’ contributions were erudite and impressive as ever, and between mince pies we discussed substitution and transposition ciphers, the Vigenère cipher and the classic pig-pen cipher. The meeting was timely because Bedales has several teams of students taking part in the National Cipher Challenge. As we approach the half-way mark, two of our teams are still in contention and battling it out at the top of the leader board. The week before last also saw our Sixth Form mathematicians enter the annual UK Senior Maths Challenge. 40 Bedalians took part – our highest ever entry in the competition – and 24 won certificates of achievement. Very well done all round and particular congratulations to Elliot Robson (6.2), who came away with the coveted best in school certificate.

By Michael Truss, Head of Mathematics and Head of Academic Enrichment


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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