Last Saturday, Shift4, a team of four Year 8 pupils from Farnborough Hill, competed in the CyberFirst Girls competition semi-final held in Southampton.
CyberFirst is a girls’ cyber security competition run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, a branch of GCHQ). It was conceived to get more girls interested in a career in cyber security and over 12,000 girls in the country entered the competition this year.
Shift4, comprised of pupils Tabitha, Leah, Izzy and Ella, went head to head with eight other teams in the Southampton venue, while also competing remotely with a further 19 teams across the South region. The positions of each team were relayed live to a big screen, and Shift4 watched with glee as their hard work round after round saw them steadily climb the leader board.
Mrs Susan Batt, Teacher of ICT, accompanied the girls and said, ‘The competition was very intense! The girls had two sessions of ‘Game Play’, where they had to solve as many challenges as possible. The challenges were grouped into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced and involved categories including Login/Coding, Cryptography and Networking. There was a lunch break between the two sessions of Game Play where we talked tactics and decided to push for the Advanced challenges to get the most points. From very early on we were on the leader board moving between fifth and third out of the 28 schools. In the final half hour we pushed forward to second and the other schools in our venue began cheering us on and chanting ‘Come on Farnborough Hill’ as they realised they could not win the South but we could. In the end we were pipped to the post and finished in second place. It was an exhilarating day where the girls proved that Computing at Farnborough Hill is a force to be reckoned with!’
Tabitha, Leah, Izzy and Ella added, ‘We all had an amazing time in at NATS in Southampton and really enjoyed the whole experience – it was fantastic to have made it to the semi-finals, being just four of over 12,000 girls throughout the UK. The competition was fierce, and we were up against some of the best schools in the South of England. We all immensely enjoyed ourselves and are privileged to have had this opportunity to test ourselves in the world of cyber security.’