A team of four Year 8 students from RMS has been selected as one of just 10 teams from 3389 who entered the competition to compete in the National Final the National Cyber Security Centre's “CyberFirst” Competition.
The initial stage of the competition, in which 11,802 girls (3389 teams) from 840 schools took part, involved a week of online challenges in the following categories: Networking, Logic and Coding, Cyber Security and Cryptography. Each challenge is derived from skills used by cyber security professionals and all could be solved using techniques available on the internet. Participants had to try to answer as many questions as possibly during the week across all four categories, earning badges along the way. Each category had different levels of difficulty, and as the girls progressed, more challenges were “unlocked”.
RMS for Girls Headmaster, Kevin Carson, said "I am delighted for and exceptionally proud of these four fantastic students. To have achieved such a high standard in a national competition shows the academic excellence of the pupils at RMS. The commitment they have shown, working in their own time, outside the curriculum is indicative of all that we are about at RMS. To have done so in the area of computing and cyber-security challenges the misconception that computing is just for boys. We all look forward to hearing how the girls get on in the national final next month"
Head of Computer Science at RMS, Nick Lilley said "I am so incredibly proud of the girls and the effort they have put in to achieve this. It is a huge accolade both for the girls and for the School to have got through to the final"
The four team members share their thoughts here:
Alexa: "The best challenges were the ones where we worked together to pool what we knew and help each other find the answers. If we couldn't work things out straight away, we did extra research and sometimes had to try several different approaches to find the solutions"
Laura "Taking part in this competition taught us so many new skills, and we are all very proud to be in the top ten.”
Angelina said "I am so proud to have made it through to the finals – we worked so hard, persevering even when we felt completely stuck. I speak for all the team when I say that we can’t wait for the next set of challenges.”
Hattie added “It was lots of fun and lots of hard work and when we were told that we were through to the final I couldn’t believe it – I don’t think it has sunk in yet and I don’t think it will until we get there. I feel that we are a strong group but we still have more to learn. On behalf of all of us I would like to say thank you to Mr Lilley for giving us this opportunity.”
Congratulations to the team, and we wish them lots of luck in the Finals next month.
The CyberFirst Girls’ Competition is run by the NCSC, (National Cyber Security Centre), part of GCHQ. As the UK Government’s lead technical authority on cyber security, the NCSC is committed to developing a talent pipeline to nurture the next generation of skilled cybersecurity professionals.
Women currently make up only 11% of the global cyber security workforce, and the NSCS is committed to playing their part in changing this. It is hoped that the CyberFirst Girls’ Competition will spark a life-long interest in girls, that could be turned into a fulfilling career in cyber security, helping to make the UK one of the safest places to live and do business online.