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Five NI schools leading the way in cyber security teaching


Five local schools and colleges have been given special recognition for their high standard of cyber security teaching for the first time, including Dalriada School, Ballymoney.


Schools and colleges, including a special school, have received CyberFirst Schools and Colleges Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in a scheme supported by the NI Cyber Security Centre within the Department of Finance.


Congratulating the schools and colleges, Finance Minister Conor Murphy said:


The cyber world is very much part of our everyday lives and it is great to see that local schools and colleges are leading the way when it comes to developing digital skills and cyber security education.


“This recognition is well deserved and I am particularly pleased to see that one of our local special schools is the first to receive an award too.


“Congratulations to everyone involved and I look forward to hearing about more schools receiving this award in the future.”


Education Minister Peter Weir added:


“I want to congratulate all of the schools that received awards and have been recognised for the quality of their cyber security teaching. We all know that the internet is a rich source of information and entertainment, however, it is vital that young people are aware of the potential dangers and are protected and educated on appropriate and responsible usage.


“Teachers and parents play a crucial role in supporting children to identify the risks and make the most of technology. Teachers can give pupils opportunities to use and create positive online content and at the same time give them the confidence and the skills to seek help should they encounter problems online. Parents can help by encouraging them to talk about their online experiences.”


Sara Liddell, Principal at Knockevin Special School, Downpatrick, said:


“Knockevin are delighted to be the first special school to achieve the prestigious bronze CyberFirst status. We firmly believe in the rights of all young people to access high quality cyber security education, regardless of disability. We aim to ensure that we develop and adapt our cyber programmes to be meaningful and meet the needs of all pupils in our school. We are delighted to be part of the CyberFirst Scheme as we continue on our journey towards delivering excellence in cyber security education.”


The CyberFirst Schools programme recognises secondary schools and further education colleges that can demonstrate their passion for inspiring the next generation of cyber security experts and addressing the cyber skills gap.


The five schools to receive the award were:


• Saint Ronan’s College, Lurgan - Gold

• South Eastern Regional College, Co. Down - Silver

• St Patrick’s College Dungannon - Silver

• Dalriada School, Ballymoney - Bronze

• Knockevin Special School, Downpatrick – Bronze


More information about the CyberFirst Schools programme, including details about how to apply, can be found on the NCSC website. Applications are open from now until Friday 18th June 2021.



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