In November 2018, 42 of our GCSE Computer Science pupils were enrolled in HM Government’s Cyber Discovery Programme. This programme is an excellent additional course, which boys can undertake as part of their digital learning. Pupils tackle everything from Linux to programming, providing them with the context of the day-to-day activities of a cyber security professional and introducing them to a wide range of specialisms. 22 of the pupils who enrolled in the course were invited to take part in stages two and three of the program.

Remove Former James Moffat, succeeded in reaching the ‘Elite Phase’, where only a handful of the top-performing pupils in the country got the opportunity to work with experts in the cyber security field. James was invited by HM Government to participate in a day in the life of a cyber security expert. The day provided an excellent opportunity to further enhance his skills and to meet other like-minded, talented young people who have excelled in the UK Government’s Cyber Schools programme.

James told us that the Elite Phase involved him spending the day participating in activities that a Cyber Security professional would typically do, such as hacking into a (fictitious) conversation on Yahoo Messenger by monitoring Wi-Fi. This also led to logging into the fictitious person’s Facebook account after their password was easily worked out. James also worked with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and together they looked at ways in which the government can encourage young people to consider a career in cyber security.

James, who will be sitting his GCSE exams next academic year, would like to further his studies in Computer Science, and hopes to eventually go into Penetration Testing (a role which legally hacks into computer systems), or perhaps work for MI5 or the Government Communications Headquarters.

The Cyber Discovery programme has become an important part of the digital learning offering at Bedford School, and although this academic year’s programme is now closed, all pupils in the Upper School will have the opportunity to become involved again in November. Pupils who have previously engaged with the programme will also be able to pick up where they left off.

Pupils who successfully completed phases 1, 2 and 3 have received a certificate from the HM Government’s Cyber Schools Director and we congratulate them on their achievements.

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