Fourteen schools and colleges across the U.K. have received gold, silver or bronze awards for outstanding cybersecurity teaching.
The institutions have been recognized for showing excellence in cybersecurity education, as part of the CyberFirst Schools initiative run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ: six in Wales, five in Northern Ireland, and three in England.
The program recognizes schools and colleges that can show their dedication to inspiring the next generation of cybersecurity experts and addressing the U.K.’s cyber skills gap.
The successful schools demonstrated a range of work aimed at engaging pupils, including offering lunchtime coding clubs, sessions where pupils could pitch Internet of Things concepts, and running projects linking computing to medical sciences.
Now, more cyber-savvy schools across the country are being encouraged to join the initiative, as a new call for recognition opened on February 15.
The CyberFirst Schools program was launched last year, with thirteen schools and colleges receiving certification in September in the first round of applications.
The newly recognized CyberFirst Schools and Colleges across the UK are:
- Cardiff High School, Cardiff – Gold
- Cardiff and Vale College, Cardiff – Gold
- Coleg Cambria, North East Wales – Gold
- Saint Ronan’s College, Lurgan – Gold
- Corpus Christi Catholic High School, Cardiff – Silver
- Denmark Road High School, Gloucester – Silver
- North East Futures UTC, Newcastle Upon Tyne – Silver
- Royal Grammar School Newcastle – Silver
- Rougemont School, Newport – Silver
- South Eastern Regional College, Co. Down – Silver
- St Joseph’s RC High School, Newport – Silver
- St Patrick’s College Dungannon – Silver
- Dalriada School, Ballymoney – Bronze
- Knockevin Special School, Downpatrick – Bronze
Examples of first-rate cybersecurity education opportunities offered by schools included: offering coding clubs to Years 7 and 8 at Corpus Christi Catholic High School; Saint Ronan’s College working with CyberFirst associate member PwC to run sessions where pupils pitched Internet of Things concepts and North East Futures UTC setting up projects to find links between computer science and medicine science.
The next call for recognition is now open for secondary schools and further education colleges interested in gaining CyberFirst Schools certification. It closes on June 18.
Schools in the North East, Northern Ireland and Wales can apply, as well as those across the South West for the first time; in addition to Gloucestershire, applications are now open in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.
For schools and colleges in Wales considering an application, the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) has pledged to offer extra support, saying it wants “as many Welsh schools and colleges to benefit from this brilliant scheme”.