For the second year in a row The Queen’s School in Chester has made it through to the top 1% of talent at the national Cyberfirst competition.
This intense competition aims to find the UK’s best female cyber security talent of tomorrow using puzzles and logic problems set by GCHQ and NCSC masterminds.
Not only are Queen’s in the top ten teams in the UK but they are the only team representing the north of England.
4,500 girls aged 12-13 from around the UK used ingenuity and teamwork to complete challenges in the online round. Of the 170 logic puzzles only 14 remained unsolved.
Team Enigmatic along with girls representing nine other schools will travel to Manchester on Monday (March 19) to take part in a live final that will test their intellect and technological skills to tackle a series of cyber security problems based on a real-world scenario.
Damian McKeown, head of computing, said: “The pupils are absolutely delighted that their hard work and perseverance paid off and they are excited about the prospect of competing against the other top teams in the country at the final.
“The challenges provided them with a stiff test of their ingenuity and their ability to stretch their understanding of the cyber security related topics. This competition has helped them to work together as a team and they really enjoyed the feeling of cracking a code, or solving a puzzle. They cannot wait for the final to come around!”
Alison Whitney, director for engagement at the NCSC, said: “Cyber security is a thrilling choice of study and career, and one that I recommend to any young woman who wants to make a positive impact in a cutting-edge environment.”
The competition has seen a highly positive take up on its return, with a 52% rise in the number of schools who registered teams to compete.
While the NCSC offers free CyberFirst courses for 11 to 17-year-old males and females, this contest is aimed specifically at female pupils because women make up only 10 per cent of the global cyber workforce. This means a huge swathe of talent in the UK are potentially missing out on a career they could excel in.
Youngsters interested in learning more about cyber security should keep an eye on the New Talent webpage for opportunities to attend free CyberFirst courses in the summer.