Tech-savvy TIGHS pupils could be next generation of cyber security experts

Pupils at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS) could become the next generation of cyber security experts after taking part in an innovative course aimed at encouraging young people to consider studying the right subjects at GCSE in order to pursue a future career in cyber security.

CyberFirst Adventurers, inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and delivered by QA, has been developed to introduce young people aged 11-14 to the fascinating world of cyber security.

CyberFirst is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme to identify and develop the next generation of cyber security experts to bridge the skills gap. With the UK economy becoming increasingly digital, there is a need to increase the number of professionals to ensure the UK is a safe place to live and work online.

It is hoped the CyberFirst course will help inform the TIGHS pupils’ GCSE subject choices and enthuse and inspire them to study computer science and related STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects that could enhance their future career prospects and become role models for their local communities.

As a leadership specialism school, the TIGHS’ pupils gained a positive experience developing team building and decision making skills from an expert team from the National Cyber Security Centre. The course also reinforced the school’s teaching on online safety, with students learning about how to act safely, legally and ethically and how to keep themselves safe online.

The practical one-day hands-on course for Year 8 pupils at the Blackburn school, consisted of four themed interactive modules to showcase the varied roles and jobs in the cyber security industry.

The four modules were:

  • Patient Zero – In this demo students were provided with a dataset which was obtained in a recent NHS breach and distributed via the dark web. Students explored the dataset to discover how easy it is to obtain personal information from supposedly anonymous data.
  • Creative Web Design – HTML is the language used to create and display web content. While at first glance it may look difficult to understand, with a few small changes, students saw how quickly they can create an interesting and good looking webpage. Students also explored different tools to see just how easy it is to obtain the HTML code for any website, raising questions about intellectual property and copyright on the internet.
  • Quidditch Manager – There has been an explosion in the amount of data that we create and store, not least in sport. Fitness trackers record routes and speed, Hawkeye and goal line technology can make accurate decisions quicker than a human referee and performance data can help players and teams better. Students explored a dataset to pick a fictional Quidditch team. As a group we discussed missing and erroneous data and the psychological aspects of their decisions, which the data cannot always predict.
  • TEAM – Working in a technical environment requires more than just technical skills. In the modern workplace every employee must also possess interpersonal skills such as leadership, communication and team work. In this demo the students were split into small teams and worked across teams to solve a number of computing related technical puzzles.

Asia Ali, Assistant Principal of TIGHS, said:

“We were delighted to work in conjunction with the NCSC to bring this short course to our bright and engaged young students. Organisations must continue to defend themselves against cyber criminals and hackers, so the demand for more skilled people to enter the field is increasing.

“Women are very underrepresented in the global cyber industry – but, here at TIGHS, we have exceptionally talented girls who can help make our country the safest place to live and do business online.    Let’s get them excited about computing early.”

TIGHS will also be entering teams of Year 8 students into the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Girls competition. The teams will be competing against schools from across the country in problem-solving and code cracking challenges to crown the UK’s most cyber-capable young women.  Schools can register their teams from 10th December 2018 at

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Skills and Growth at the National Cyber Security Centre, said:

“Providing younger students from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to experience computer education is helping to increase the awareness of how beneficial cyber skills can be and developing a talent pipeline that will meet the UK’s future needs.

“The CyberFirst programme is an integral part of our strategy to engage and inform students across the country of the options that are available to them.”

Added By: Tauheedul Girls | Date Added: 17th Dec 2018 | Posted In:

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