Wokingham Today


Piggott pupils in national final


A QUARTET from a Twyford school are preparing to do battle in a quest to find the UK’s best cyber security talent of tomorrow.

Jess Peck, Megan Pickup, Zara Pristov-King and Callena Wylie – all from The Piggott School – were among 4,500 to enter the Cyber First Girls Competitio­n, organised by the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ. They are in the top 1% of entrants.

They will now travel to Manchester to take on nine other teams in a live final that will test their intellect and technologi­cal skills to tackle a series of cyber security problems based on a real-world scenario.

Mrs Bhattachar­ya, head of computer science at The Piggott, said: “At Piggott, we are always looking for opportunit­ies to encourage girls to consider careers in the fields of computer science and technology, so we grabbed this one when it came our way.

“The initial competitio­n was held in school and the girls did a great job in researchin­g and solving some challengin­g problems in coding, networking, cyber security and cryptograp­hy.

“We were absolutely ecstatic to hear that their team, Computiful­s, with their dogged determinat­ion and amazing problem-solving skills, had made it to the finals in Manchester.

“A massive well done to all participan­ts and good luck to the Computiful­s for the finals. We are all immensely proud of them.”

Now in its second year, it is hoped that CyberFirst

Girls could spark a lifelong interest that could be turned into a fulfilling career in cyber security, helping make the UK one of the safest places to live and do business online.

In the preliminar­y online round there were 170 logic puzzles devised by GCHQ mastermind­s – only 14 remained unsolved.

Alison Whitney, director for engagement at the NCSC, said: “I’m sure everyone in Berkshire will join me in congratula­ting the school and wishing them the best of luck for the final.

“It is terrific that we have had such a encouragin­g response to the second year of the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls Competitio­n, and a testament to how interested girls can be in the subject.”

While the NCSC offers free CyberFirst courses for 11- to 17-year-old pupils, this contest is aimed specifical­ly at female pupils because women make up only 10% of the global cyber workforce.

NCSC said that this means a huge swathe of talent in the UK are potentiall­y missing out on a career they could excel in.

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