Cryptography: Secrets, Secrets, Secrets. Everyone has them!


The Digital Schoolhouse has teamed up with the Education Department at Bletchley Park to create a lesson that teaches pupils how to use advanced spreadsheet functionality covered at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 in a fun and exciting lesson using secrets and encryption as the focus of the lesson.

Pupils will begin the lesson by looking at the history of encryption and how computing fits into the modern day communication before they develop their own encryption tool to encode and decode messages using a standard spreadsheet application. In creating these simple spreadsheets pupils will learn and use new advanced spreadsheet functions such as lookups, if statements and absolute cell referencing.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please get in touch with the team:

Guidance for teachers

Suitable for: Key stage 2 (KS2), key stage 3 (KS3)

Our resources are created with you and your students in mind. Not only are they outside-the-box, creative and brain-boosting fun, but we always ensure our content stays relevant. Our network of academic masterminds and video games practitioners enable us to keep delivering free content that is aligned to the UK computing curriculum and that is relevant to current industry best practice. We think you're going to love our play-based approach to Computer Science. We've even got the evidence to prove it. 

Download your lesson resources at the bottom of the page. If you're a Lead Teacher of a certified Schoolhouse, you can access the adaptable resources by logging in.

Guidance for parents & carers

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of Cryptography: Secrets, secrets, secrets follow-along workshops below. Please note, these are live recordings. Sit back, relax and supervise or participate as a family.

Part 1 - no technology required!

Suitable for ages 7-14 years. Discover the history of cryptography, then try some techniques out for yourself.

What do you need to take part?

  • Pen or pencil
  • Printed copy of our worksheet of paper (download below)

What do you learn?

  • Some of the history of cryptography 
  • How to create and crack a transposition cypher
  • How to create and crack a substitution cypher

Part 2

Suitable for ages 7-14 years. Following Part 1, complete your cyber school training and then join the team to solve a crime.

What do you need to take part?

  • Spreadsheet software (i.e. MS Excel or Google sheets)
  • PC or laptop
  • Paper
  • Printed or digital copy of your case file or paper
  • Pen or pencil 

What do you learn?

  • How to design and crack a transposition cypher
  • How to design and crack different types of substitution cypher


Cryptography: Secrets, Secrets, Secrets. Everyone has them! Workshop Pack

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Workshop download