BCS (Bedford Branch) School Challenge 2016

Since 2013, the BCS Bedford Branch has been running a coding competition for Schools to cultivate young computing leaders. The competition is open to all schools in the four local education authorities and independent schools in the Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire areas.

A main working group is championed by the CAS Bedford Hub, and involves of computing leaders and teachers in our local schools. The work receives sponsorship support from Bedfordshire Police, Cranfield University and Open University.

  • Schools are invited to introduce the competition to Year 7 and 8 students
  • Schools to hold their own competition in school and then enter one team per school for the annual Bedford BCS Challenge Finals

In 2016, Year 7 has to create education resources about Online Safety and Year 8 has to create a game about Identity Theft. Participation teams could use Alice, Scratch or a suitable programming language.

Students have been judged on their creativity; how they selected, used, combined and presented images and text; the appropriate choice and use of programming instructions and software; the clarity of the finished presentation in demonstrating the topic.

Over 200 students of Year 7 and 8 students took part. Students from participating schools gathered at Cranfield University on Thursday 23 June and students from Almeda Middle, Castle Newnham, Leighton Middle, Mark Rutherford and St Thomas More Catholic schools were presented prizes by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, Bedfordshire Police.

Dr Ip-Shing Fan, Chair of the BCS Bedford Branch, said: "The aim of the competition is to help get schoolchildren interested in computer science and encourage them to use computers creatively. The response had been great and we’ve had some absolutely superb entries. It’s fantastic to be working with local schools and potentially inspiring students to consider careers in the IT profession."

Chief Constable Boutcher said: "Initiatives like this are absolutely vital to educating young people about computer science and not only the risks, but also the positive benefits, associated with the growing cyber world. At Bedfordshire Police we already work very closely with schools to share knowledge and understanding about the threats posed by cyber-crime so that they can use technology in positive ways, such as those devised by the competition winners today. This kind of work could well inspire the police digital investigators of the future."

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