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Royal Masonic School for Girls crowned winners of biggest cyber competition to date

The winners of the 2019 CyberFirst Girls competition have been crowned.

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  • Nearly 12,000 young women participate in GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre’s competition
  • Royal Masonic School For Girls crowned National Champion in Edinburgh after 3,350 teams participate
  • HRH The Duke of York, KG to invite finalists to Windsor Castle
  • Young women are answering the call to meet the demand for cyber security professionals

Four girls from Hertfordshire have beaten competition from all over the UK to be crowned winners of a GCHQ contest to address gender imbalances in cyber security.

The winning team saved the day of a fictitious company; coming out on top after 12,000 girls took part in head-scratching challenges of ‘CyberFirst Girls’, which is organised by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

After 3,350 teams entered the top 10 teams met in a face-to-face final in Edinburgh where they applied a series of the skills and techniques including coding and cryptography to respond to cyber attacks against a fictitious company.

The Duke of York has shown his continued support for the competition as, for the second year in succession, he will host all the finalists for a celebration of their achievements. Each of the top 10 teams will be travelling to Windsor Castle for tea with His Royal Highness in May, 2019.

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

“Congratulations to all our finalists and in particular Royal Masonic School For Girls who performed impressively throughout the final.

“The increase in participants is fantastic to see and there was a real spread from across the country.

“Young people are playing an increasingly vital role in sharing knowledge about protecting ourselves online and the more who are engaged the better position we will all be in.”

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.

Digital and Creative Industries Minister Margot James yesterday said: 

"The talent of the all the young women competing in the Cyber First Girls finals this week has been impressive and I hope the competition will have inspired many of them to consider future careers in the UK's growing cyber sector. 

"The competition is not only improving our capability in cyber, which is vital for our booming digital economy, but also boosting the skills of young people and creating a more diverse workforce. Our winners today have proven they have the talent to be the cyber experts of tomorrow."

The Top 10 finalists enjoyed an exclusive dinner at Edinburgh Castle on the eve of the competition were:

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

Further information regarding the Girls competition can be found at the CyberFirst website.


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