West Lothian schoolgirls triumph in cyber security challenge

St Kentigern's Academy pupils won the Scottish regional CyberFirst Girls Competition -Credit:ugc
St Kentigern's Academy pupils won the Scottish regional CyberFirst Girls Competition -Credit:ugc

A group of S2 girls from St Kentigern's Academy in Blackburn are among the best in the UK in the mainly male-dominated world of cyber security.
In a national cyber competition run by the National Cyber Security Centre- part of the top secret GCHQ government communications centre- the team has been named Scottish champions.
They have won prizes and plaudits for the Blackburn secondary- one of the largest schools in the county.
The team of four were among 28 S2 pupils at St Kent's who took part in the competition sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

The girls working in groups of up to four solved a range of coding, logic and encryption puzzles and were competing against schools from all over the UK.
The competition had 3,608 teams from over 750 schools across the UK enter (12,500 girls in total). The St Kent's team of Julia, Elisana, Julia and Akosua won, becoming Scottish Champions.

They described the event at a meeting of the Education Policy Development and Scrutiny panel this week.
Councillor Pauline Stafford congratulated the girls saying: "You are role models not just for West Lothian schools but for the rest of the country."
Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick invited the team to pay a visit to the National Robotarium within Heriot -Watt University as the guests of the council as part of the city region which the council chairs this year.

As Scottish Champions they were invited to Oxford to attend the CyberFirst winners' event. The girls met with winners from each of the four nations, explored Oxford University and attended an awards ceremony and gala dinner.

Also, in recognition of all the good work undertaken at St Kentigern's, the school was awarded a CyberFirst Silver Award as one of the UK's leading Cyber Schools.

Executive councillor for education, Andrew McGuire said: "Thank you very much to the team for coming along to speak at committee. It was a huge honour to hear from them following their success at a national level. I hope the pupils continue to explore the world of cyber security and I hope their outstanding achievement inspires their peers to look in into the subject as a potential career."

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