FOUR codebreaking students from a Yorkshire independent school beat more than 6,500 other girls to compete in the finals of a national cybersecurity competition.

Bradford Grammar School Year 8 students Ruqaiyah Ali, of Bradford, Eliza Street, of Ilkley, Eloise Baker, of Gilstead, and Fiona Luo, of Eldwick, won through to the CyberFirst Girls final as North of England champions following the fast-paced semi-finals.

The girls worked hard all day solving online puzzles about logic and coding, networking, cybersecurity and cryptography.

Christine Harvey, the school’s head of computer science, said: “BGS had entered this competition for the past three years and had never got to the semi-finals, so the girls did amazingly well.

“The semis were fun but challenging, with the top place on the leader board changing several times in the last few minutes.

“It was very exciting to win the semi-final and to represent the North of England at the national final. On finals day, we just missed out on a top position despite the girl’s teamwork and determination.”

The competition was run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ.

Now in its fifth year, the competition aims to inspire girls to pursue their interests in technology and consider a career in cybersecurity.

Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for cyber growth, said: “It’s inspiring to see girls up and down the country engaging in the competition with such enthusiasm and skill, and we hope many will consider taking their interest in cybersecurity further.”