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Four Highgate pupils from Y8 have been crowned cyber security champions after winning in the finals of the 2023 Cyberfirst Girls competition.

Alexandra, Zoya, Anna and Sofia – also known as ‘Call of Hooty’ – took the top spot in the Independent Schools category of this nationwide contest, run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. The Highgate team also took home the award for the highest scoring team across the 13 UK finals.

M.Eleonora Fontanesi, Teacher of Computer Science at Highgate, said: “I am so proud of the girls, they worked really hard to get to the final and once there, I was so impressed by how calm they were. It has been a pleasure to accompany them on this journey and I hope, when time is right, they will consider Computer Science GCSE.”

The competition aims to inspire girls aged 12 and 13 to pursue their interests in technology and follow a career in cyber security, where women make up just 22% of the workforce.

This year’s contest saw pupils tackle challenges covering topics from cryptography and logic to artificial intelligence and networking.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “It’s heartening to see so many young people engage with cyber security, and I hope that many of you will pursue a career within the industry and protect the UK from future online threats.”