Barclays IT Girls Allowed Event


For the second year running, The Academy of St Nicholas have been invited to take a small group of year 8 and 9 female students to Barclays Technology Centre, Radbrooke to participate in their ‘I.T Girls Allowed’ Event.

The event has been designed by Barclays to demonstrate that IT and technology careers are accessible to girls, and to inspire them to consider Computer Science and ICT as a subject choice at GCSE. 

The day began with an inspiration talk from employees, including a young female apprentice, who is undertaking a Higher Apprenticeship at Barclays. Altogether, there was 10 schools in attendance, including ourselves and The Academy of St Francis of AssissiThe 10 schools were split into three groups, with each group undertaking different activites in turn during the day. 

Following the introduction, then the girls headed off to start the first activity of the day, which was ‘s’.

The objective of the activity was to program a small robot to navigate around a course. The robot contained an Ardunio, which is a small computer that can be programmed using commands such as ‘forward’, rightspinleftspin, etc. Once the program had been wrote, this was loaded onto the robot and the programmers could instantly assess whether their code was right or not.

The first challenge, was to program the robot to make a square, triangle and circle. The girls were split into pairs, and supported by Barclays employees, they successfully completed all three challenges.

Next up, the challenge was to include a series of conditions within their programs to make the robot navigate around a course. The girls quickly picked up the logic, and it was great to see them working together to work out a solution. The atmosphere in the room was ‘electric’, and once the first pair had successfully programmed their robot, the others quickly followed.

To bring this session to an end, a program was loaded onto the robots, and the session leader instructed the girls to turn on their robots all at the same time, and this lead to all the robots in the session ‘dancing the ballet’. It was a perfect end to a fantastic activity!

Lunch followed, then came the second activity ‘Design the future’. Having received a brief from the Barclays team, that was to design a product, that would use technology to aid their life in the future; it could be a car that could drive itself or a hair dryer that automatically knew that hair was wet. 

The girls had some fantastic ideas including an ‘Allergy alert’ – wearable technology that would monitor blood levels and would alert the wearer if they were having an allergic reaction, and contact lenses that would record memories, that the wearer could replay these at a later date

It was fantastic to see the imagination and proposals that the girls had designed with their future in mind, who knowsthis day may have has inspired the next ‘Grace Hopper!’

This then followed onto the final activity of the day – Cryptography! Two female employees from Barclays Cryptography team gave a great introduction and the girls’ next task was to decode a variety of worksheets using different types of encryption. Using cipher wheels to decipher questions, we are pleased to report that the girls came first in this challenge!

This brought the day to a close on a high! Each of the girls received a goody bag. 

Mr Sibbald, Head of department reflects on the day, ‘…….

‘It is always a rewarding experience observing student’s take part in extra-curricular activities. Students were well behaved on the day and I was pleased with how they performed in the activities. Both St Nicholas teams finishing in the top two places in the cryptography was particularly pleasing.’

Year 8 students, Naomi Binns and Faith C who attended the event, said, ‘

‘It was a brilliant day and I can’t wait to do something similar in the future’


To see the clips from this event click the links below





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Email: lancasterd@theacademyofstnicholas.org.uk

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