08 December
The winning team from St Kentigern's

The team of S2 pupils Julia, Julia, Akosua, and Elisana from St Kentigern's Academy in Blackburn came first for Scotland in the CyberFirst Girls Competition, run by the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ.

The competition, which is in its seventh year, saw 667 girls in 200 teams from schools across Scotland take part, and saw teams used range of cyber skills to compete in code cracking, decrypting messages and solving coding puzzles.

It aims to encourage girls aged 12-13 to consider pursuing an interest in technology and introduce them the idea of a career in cyber. Currently women make up just 17% of the sector, something the competition aims to change.
Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: "Congratulations to all the teams from across Scotland who took part in this year's CyberFirst Girls Competition, they've shown some incredible talent, teamwork and dedication.

"A special mention to St Kentigern's Academy, whose success is not just a triumph in the competition but a great demonstration of breaking barriers and addressing the need for greater female representation in the cyber security industry.

"I'd like to thank all the teachers, for the incredible effort they put in to inspire their students and our industry partners for their efforts in making the competition so successful."

Head Teacher Andrew Sharkey expressed immense pride in the achievements of the St. Kentigern's Academy team, stating, "We are exceptionally proud of the remarkable first-place finish achieved by the girls in our team at the CyberFirst Girls Competition."

"Securing the top spot for the whole of Scotland underscores the exceptional talent and dedication of our students at St. Kentigern's, and heartfelt thanks go to our dedicated staff here, whose support played a pivotal role in this outstanding accomplishment."

Executive councillor for education Andrew McGuire added: "Congratulations to everyone at St Kentigern's for their fantastic achievement of the top prize in the CyberFirst Girls Competition

"The field of cyber security is a growth area, and it's great to encourage more West Lothian girls to consider this as a career going forward."