Withington Girls’ School team into CyberFirst final

The Withington Year 8 CyberFirst Girls team
The Withington Year 8 CyberFirst Girls team

Four Withington Girls’ School pupils have won through to the final of the CyberFirst Girls Competition.

The national competition is a combination of problem-solving and code-cracking challenges organised by the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, and the Year 8 pupils have been judged in the top ten from more than 3,350 teams. 

The WGS team now goes forward to the final in Edinburgh in March.

Withington’s headmistress, Sarah Haslam, said: “Our pupils love new challenges and we’re delighted that this team has achieved a top-ten finalist position in a national competition that creates awareness of the increasingly vital area of cyber security. We wish them all the very best in the final in March.”

This GCHQ-led competition aims to address gender imbalance in cyber-security and it is bearing fruit with a record 12,000 participants in the 2019 competition. Currently, just 11% of the global cyber workforce are women.

WGS Head of ICT, Andrew Snowden, said: “This is a tremendous achievement. I have been incredibly impressed by the girls’ perseverance in tackling the challenges set by the NCSC.

“Not only are the activities fun and engaging, but they inspire girls to consider cyber security as a career path.”

As an added incentive for all competitors, the NCSC will be offering around 600 free places on specially commissioned four-day CyberFirst Defenders courses in April and May 2019. These courses will be ‘all girls’ and a mix of residential and non-residential at locations across the UK.