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I spy finalists of NCSC's CyberFirst Girls competition

Finalists announced with record numbers of teams participating in the 2019 competition.

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  • Nearly 12,000 young women participate in National Cyber Security Centre’s, a part of GCHQ, competition
  • Top 10 teams move forward to final of CyberFirst Girls in Edinburgh in March as over 3,350 teams participate
  • On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, efforts to address gender imbalance in cyber-security continue as just 11% of global cyber workforce are women

Young women are answering the call for cyber security experts of the future as efforts to address the present gender imbalance bear fruit with record number of participants in GCHQ led competition.

To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has today announced in excess of a 110% increase in the number of schools taking part in their CyberFirst Girls competition.

Following the recent announcement that girls only courses will be launched this summer, 11,802 schoolgirls aged between 12-13 have participated in this year’s competition – a 162% increase compared to last year’s edition.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth, said:

“Throughout the three editions of the CyberFirst Girls competition we have seen how positively the teams react to the challenges we set them and really engage with the competition.

“The increase in participants is fantastic to see and we’re looking forward to crowning our winners in Edinburgh.”

With increased entries from across the length and breadth of the UK, the Top 10 teams who will be moving forward to Edinburgh’s face-to-face final in March will be:

  • Watford Grammar School for Girls
  • Beverley High school, East Riding, Yorkshire
  • Oxford High School GDST
  • Denmark Road High School, Gloucester
  • Chelmsford High School for Girls, Essex
  • The Tiffin Girls School, London
  • St Catherine’s School, Armagh
  • Withington Girls' School, Manchester
  • The Queen's School, Chester
  • Royal Masonic School for Girls, Hertfordshire

Digital and Creative Industries Minister Margot James said:

“It’s great to see that so many young women are keen to get into the cyber industry with record numbers applying to the CyberFirst Girls competition.

“Through our initial cyber security skills strategy we are not only improving our capability in cyber but also boosting the skills of young people and creating a more diverse workforce.”

As an added incentive for all competitors, the NCSC is 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.

Over the past three years, over 24,000 girls in schools across the UK have participated in the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls competition of problem-solving and code cracking challenges to crown the UK’s most cyber-capable young women. 

“CCHS year 8 girls are delighted to have been selected as part of the top ten teams to reach the Grand Final of the CyberFirst Girls Competition 2019; they are looking forward to competition day, meeting inspirational woman in cyber and have thoroughly enjoyed completing the online cyber security challenges. “ Chelmsford County High School for Girls, Essex

Further information regarding the CyberFirst Girls competition can be found here:

Notes to Editors


  • Led and inspired by the National Cyber Security Centre (a part of GCHQ), CyberFirst is a programme of opportunities and support helping young people explore their passion for computers and technology and introducing them to the fascinating and critical world of cyber security.
  • The CyberFirst Girls competition is a high profile intervention by the NCSC to allow 12/13yrs old girls the opportunity to explore cyber related challenges first hand.
  • The 2018 CyberFirst Girls Final can be viewed here:

National Cyber Security Centre

  • The UK Government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and address the cyber skills gap to develop and grow talent. The NCSC was created as part of the five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) announced in 2016, supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.
  • The NCSC provides a single, central body for cyber security at a national level and is the UK’s technical authority on cyber. It manages national cyber security incidents, carries out real-time threat analysis and provides tailored sectoral advice.
  • GCHQ is the parent body for the NCSC, meaning that it can draw on the organisation’s world-class skills and sensitive capabilities.


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