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Government to fund cyber security lessons in schools

14/02/17
Government to fund cyber security lessons in schools

School children in England are set to be offered lessons in cyber security with a programme of extra-curricular clubs, designed around their normal studies. Backed with £20 million worth of government funding, the aim is to train the next generation of security experts and defend the UK from cyber-attacks.

Available from September, the “Cyber Schools Programme” will include classroom and online teaching with hands-on activities and real-world challenges. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, who are funding the programme, hope to train up at least 5,700 teenagers by 2021.

Participants on the course will begin at 14 years old and will attend four hours per week over a period of four years. Older students who have already have a knowledge of the skills covered earlier in the curriculum will be able to join the course later in the programme.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, called the programme “forward-thinking” and said it will give an opportunity to “thousands of the best and brightest young minds” to learn “cutting-edge cyber security skills” while continuing their secondary school studies.

He added: “We are determined to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future and these extra-curricular clubs will help identify and inspire future talent.” Training cyber security experts of the future is already high on the Government’s agenda with university funding and work placements provided for promising students.

An apprenticeship scheme for people aged 16 or over has also begun to support employers in the sector. It is part of an ongoing strategy which has been underpinned with huge investment to ensure that the UK is kept safe from potential cyber-attacks, both now and in the future.

Her Majesty the Queen also opened the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in central London on 14 February. Part of intelligence agency GCHQ, the NCSC has already successfully foiled 188 attacks in the past three months.

The centre is part of a £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy announced by the Government last November.

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