Ysgol Greenhill School

Introducing The Importance Of Cybersecurity 

How Ysgol Greenhill School introduces the importance of Cybersecurity to their year 9 students in order to support their future careers. 

Ysgol Greenhill School

Is a secondary school in the costal town of Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

Size: 900 Students

Website: ysgolgreenhillschool.co.uk




Introducing Cybersecurity to Year 9

For Ysgol Greenhill School, teaching the importance of Cybersecurity to its students is paramount. To achieve this, this school introduced the topic to all 120 of its year 9 students, in order to prepare them for the ever-changing IT-driven future. 


The school also found that introducing Cybersecurity in this way gives students a base of knowledge and understanding that helps them prepare for their GCSE choices. Students who choose to go into IT-related GCSEs are well-prepared due to the course's links to the UK’s National Curriculum.


The Teacher's Challenge

It's a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape for anyone, let alone a teacher with limited time.  As a teacher, it is essential to understand the breadth of the technology landscape to provide better teaching and student understanding. However, as IT evolves so does the curriculum.


After understanding the topic, convincing students about the importance of having strong foundational digital skills and how they can stand out from other students in future applications is a further challenge. Whilst some students are naturally not as interested, there are students who are keen and strive to be future specialists.


“NetAcad is great for me as a teacher because it allows me to upskill within the limited time that I have spare... The material is presented in a way that encourages discussion rather than just individual learning.” 

Vicki Price, Head of Computing. 

Introducing Cybersecurity to the Students

There are many ways to teach, and many ways to present the NetAcad content. Vicki shares that “while planning my lessons, I take the resources on NetAcad and adapt the terminology to suit the class level. From there, the material is presented in a way that encourages discussion rather than individual learning. Towards the end of the term, the classes complete the online assessments to understand where they are and to gain the badges and certificates.”.


Convincing students of the importance of having strong foundational digital skills is a challenge. Yet, at that age, many students are motivated by grades. This is where the final assessments are so impactful, as not only will students who meet the criteria get certificates and badges, but they will be motivated to do more and achieve further certifications.


Working with University Wales Trinity St David's (UWTSD)

Vicki started off her Cisco Academy 10 years ago, after attending a promotional event held at the University Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD). UWTSD are Cisco’s largest Academy and only Academy Support Centre and Instructor Training Centre in Wales. Following the event, Vicki worked closely with the team at UWTSD to start her academy. At the time she was at a different school supporting sixth formers embarking on their Networking and Cybersecurity journey. 


In late 2019, Vicki moved to Ysgol Greenhill School. With the support of UWTSD, she was able to transfer her existing Cisco Networking Academy account and set up the new classes quickly. As the pandemic hit, students were encouraged to complete courses alongside their homework and a few parents enjoyed supporting their children, deciding to complete courses too.

Results and Future Prospects

As outlined above, many students are driven by grades. This is shown with Vicki’s Year 9 students who started the year averaging 60% and after revising and continuing learning in class, 86% earned their Cisco certificates at the end of the academic year. Three of the year 9 students achieved 100% in their assessments. 


Once past GCSEs and into sixth form learners are encouraged to undertake further certifications to develop their skills in areas like IoT and to evidence their independent learning. This is a really valuable addition to their Personal Statements when applying for university. Several students have gone on to pursue technology-related apprenticeships in a variety of sectors including Cybersecurity and Banking and others have gone on to study IT-related subjects at university.

Here’s what some of the students at Ysgol Greenhill School had to say:

Left, Rhys Williams "I am very glad that I have learned the definitions of many new cyber security topics that may help me in the future".

Middle, Iestyn Barrellie "Knowing how to keep safe online is important and this course is the best way to do this. I hope I can do more courses with Cisco!"

Right, Felix Blythe "Cisco really helped me learn more about cyber security and I’m very grateful to have this certificate to remember the lessons and experiences"