Students at a girls' school have placed in the top 50 of 840 schools in a competition to find the next generation of female cyber security experts.

Eden Girls' School in Waltham Forest entered three teams, each consisting of four year eight students, and were awarded a join

Two other schools, North London Collegiate Independent Day School and Tiffin Girls Grammar School ranked in the top 50 of the competition.

The CyberFirst Girls Competition is a part of Government Communications Headquarters, which runs initiatives to nurture young talent to explore their passion for computers and technology.

It involved solving online problem sets and code-cracking challenges split into four categories: cryptography, cyber security, logic, coding and networking.

Year eight pupil Alisha Nasir said: "I can’t believe that my teammates and I did so well in the competition and I’m really excited that we came in the top 50, especially as we’ve never really done anything similar before. I’ve never really thought about a career in cyber security but after taking part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition and learning about the opportunities that are available out there, I am keen to find out more about cyber security."

The competition is part of a campaign to bring more females into the cyber security industry, which is an 89% male workforce globally.

Principal of the Blackhorse Lane school Shahina Ahmad said: "We are extremely proud of our girls – they have done marvellously to place so highly in the school’s very first year of entering the competition. This has been a great start to use as a springboard and, hopefully, next year we will come even higher.

"Women are very underrepresented in the global cyber industry – but, here at Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, we have exceptionally talented girls who can help make our country a safer place to live and do business online. Let’s get them excited about computing early."

The competition was run by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, an organisation that provides advice and support for the public and private sector in how to avoid computer security threats.

Chris Ensor deputy director for skills and growth at the National Cyber Security Centre said: "Providing younger students from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to experience computing and cyber security is helping to increase the awareness of how beneficial cyber skills can be and developing a talent pipeline that will meet the UK’s future needs. The CyberFirst programme is an integral part of our strategy to engage and inform students across the country of the options that are available to them."