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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Cyber girls

The cyber industry is a huge growth industry and will require the efforts of our brightest and best, to protect our interests and industries in future years. Two years ago the school started the GCSE in computer science and as a result, students studying the subject have taken part in various external programmes that identify talent and develop skills to find our future cyber warriors.

In July Izzy (Year 11) was selected to take part in a prestigious work experience programme organised by the BAE Systems Early Talent programme. During the week, she participated in a mini project, working in with a team to solve problems and develop solutions while engaging with a number of professionals in the field.

Milly and Anoushka (Year 11) completed a series of online tests and challenges to win places on a week - long cyber skills course. The event was sponsored by GCHQ and the courses were held at Warwick University and Royal Holloway. Here they were taught a wide range of skills used by security experts to analyse and prevent cyber-crime. Other students have attended cyber recruitment fairs and investigated university sponsorship.

We also have three teams of Year 10 students taking part in the annual Cyber-Centurion Challenge. This is a cyber-security competition for school children from the age of 12, run in the United Kingdom by Cyber Security Challenge UK. Each team must play a series of online qualifying rounds, which will challenge them to learn about networking, defence and cyber security. The challenges cover a range of operating systems and are very testing. The highest scoring teams will be invited to take part in the final in March 2019.  

Emily (Year 11) also attended a cyber recruitment fair and investigated university sponsorship.

Future competitions include CyberFirst, which is aimed specifically at Year 8 pupils and the Alan Turing Cryptography Challenge – two teams took part in this last year and finished in the top ten out of 1000 teams. One team also won a spot prize for the first to complete one of the puzzles!

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