The CyberFirst Schools initiative, from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)  – a part of GCHQ – is a scheme established to support young people who have an interest in cyber.

A consortium of cyber security organisations with a local presence were awarded the pilot contract for delivering the CyberFirst Schools initiative in the South West of England – including our TechSPARK Bristol & Bath Cyber team! Applications to take part have now closed and we’re so pleased to announce over 25 schools in the area have applied to part.

The CyberFirst Schools programme officially recognises schools and colleges that demonstrate first-rate cyber security education. If they are all successful in their applications, this will more than double the number of   CyberFirst schools and colleges in the South West looking to bolster their computer science curriculums, teaching and student experiences. Successful schools will also enjoy continuous professional development for teachers, as well as a series of bespoke activities for students tailored to each school’s needs – created by industry partners and supported by a team of CyberFirst ambassadors.

The group, which comprises of TechSPARk, Raytheon, The South West Cyber Security Cluster and CyNam, attended the Festival of Computer Science in Plymouth and set up industry and schools engagement events in Bristol and Gloucestershire to collect Expressions of Interest from schools and industry partners in the region.

CyberFirst to support learning

Following an initial pilot in Gloucestershire, the CyberFirst Schools initiative was launched by the NCSC in 2020 to encourage collaboration between local schools, the NCSC, national and local companies and organisations who share the aim of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in everyday technology.

In 2021 it was further extended to include secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, the South West of England (Dorset, Cornwall Devon, Somerset & Wiltshire) and the North East of England (Durham, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland).

On behalf of the NCSC, they will manage the assessment and evaluation of CyberFirst School applications; the growth of the CyberFirst Schools community in the area, and help facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region to enable e-mentoring and work experience.