National Cyber Security Centre
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Going for gold! Tech-savvy schools recognised for putting cyber skills first

Thirteen schools certified under the CyberFirst Schools initiative which rewards excellence in cyber security education.

Representatives of Cleeve School & Sixth Form with Chris Ensor receiving their CyberFirst Schools Gold award.

  • Thirteen schools in Gloucestershire and Wales recognised for first-rate approach to cyber security teaching
  • Schools are first in the country to achieve gold, silver or bronze status in the new ‘CyberFirst Schools’ initiative from the National Cyber Security Centre
  • More schools across the country will shortly be given the chance to go for gold

TRAILBLAZING schools have proved themselves champions of cyber security by becoming the first in the country to officially receive gold, silver or bronze status.

Thirteen tech-savvy schools in Gloucestershire and Wales have been awarded CyberFirst Schools status by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – as part of a new initiative which recognises excellence in cyber security education.

The CyberFirst Schools programme recognises schools and colleges that share the NCSC’s passion to address the cyber skills gap and inspire young people from all backgrounds to pursue a career in the field.

Schools in Gloucestershire and Wales that applied in this first round of the programme demonstrated work ranging from an all-female competition to develop a gaming computer to a ‘Mars rover’ being built and sent into near space.

The schools and colleges are now being sent their plaques and applications will shortly be opened up to schools in other parts of the country.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, yesterday said:

“I congratulate these schools on achieving CyberFirst Schools status – they are the first to do so and their award is thoroughly merited.

“It was great to see the innovative work going on in these schools and we look forward to inviting more to take part and go for gold.

“The CyberFirst Schools programme will help us set a consistent standard for cyber security education as we continue to develop a diverse and talented next generation of cyber experts.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman yesterday said:

“These trailblazing schools in Gloucestershire and Wales are being recognised for their first-rate approach to teaching cyber skills.

”It is so important that we inspire the next generation to consider a career in cyber security and become the cyber defenders of tomorrow. Through CyberFirst we're continuing to build a strong pipeline of diverse talent to protect people and businesses in the years to come.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb yesterday said:

“This country is a world-leader in computing education, introducing computing to the national curriculum and giving children and young people access to innovative and important programmes such as the CyberFirst Schools initiative.

“The National Cyber Security Centre is inspiring more young people to take up a career in a discipline that is essential for our country’s safety and it is inspiring to see our schools leading the way in cyber education.”

The CyberFirst Schools programme follows the successful Cyber Schools Hub pilot in Gloucestershire and Wales, which saw more than 40 schools collaborate with local and international companies to offer cyber opportunities to more than a thousand students.

The 13 successful schools and colleges in Gloucestershire and Wales were: 

  • Bridgend College, Bridgend – Gold
  • Cleeve School and 6th Form Centre of Excellence, Cheltenham – Gold
  • Coleg Gwent, Newport – Gold
  • Newent Community School and 6th Form College, Newent – Gold
  • Wyedean School and 6th Form Centre, Sedbury – Gold
  • Cirencester College, Cirencester – Silver
  • The Dean Academy, Lydney – Silver
  • Gloucestershire College, Gloucester – Silver
  • Ribston Hall High School, Gloucester – Silver
  • Stroud High School, Stroud – Silver
  • SGS Berkeley Green UTC, Berkeley – Silver
  • All Saints’ Academy, Cheltenham – Bronze
  • Winchcombe School, Cheltenham – Bronze

Examples of first-rate cyber activities included Ribston Hall High School in Gloucester running a competition for its female pupils to develop a high-end gaming computer, Coleg Gwent in Newport working with local companies to help learners gain qualifications certified by Microsoft and Amazon, and Cleeve School in Cheltenham organising a club which saw pupils build a ‘Mars rover’ and send it into near space.

Alwyn Richards, Executive Head of Cleeve School, yesterday said:

"I'm delighted Cleeve School is to become one of the first CyberFirst Gold Schools in the United Kingdom. Having been involved from the beginning of the Cyber Schools Hub project, our school has developed priceless connections with the NCSC and many industrial partners, giving our learners a deep insight into cyber.

“Our students not only benefit from a much wider understanding of cyber risks, but also understand the wide range of career opportunities the subject offers. CyberFirst Gold is a welcome recognition of the work done by Cleeve School staff and students."

Simon Pirotte, Principal of Bridgend College, yesterday said:

“We are delighted to have received the CyberFirst College Gold Award and this accreditation represents our ongoing commitment to providing an innovative and extraordinary curriculum for our learners.

“This programme complements our exciting new Cyber College Cymru partnership and will provide us with further opportunities to enable our learners to progress to meaningful, sustainable employment in an ever-changing job market. We look forward to working closely with the NCSC on the next stages of this opportunity."

When applications re-open in the next phase, schools in Gloucestershire and Wales can still apply for CyberFirst Schools certification – including those which applied before but were unsuccessful, or did not receive a Gold or Silver certification.

More information about the CyberFirst Schools programme can be found on the NCSC website.


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