Edtech charity LGfL and the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) reveal an urgent need for more cyber security training within schools

In a growing and sophisticated threat landscape, 2019 Cyber Security Schools Audit reveals only 35% of schools provide non-IT staff with cyber security training.

Edtech charity LGfL is highlighting the need for more cyber security training in schools, following the publication of its Cyber Security Schools Audit. Working in partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, 430 schools across the UK were surveyed to gain a better understanding of future technology and training needs within the education sector.

The report revealed that only 35% of schools train non-IT staff in cyber security. In light of the fact that 83% of schools have experienced at least one cyber security incident, schools should take this revelation seriously to meet the challenge of a growing and increasingly sophisticated threat landscape

Further key findings:

  • Nearly all schools (97%) said that losing access to network-connected IT services would cause considerable disruption
  • Less than half of schools (49%) were confident that they were adequately prepared in the event of a cyber-attack
  • 85% of schools had a cyber security policy or plan, but only 45% included core IT services in their risk register and only 41% had a business continuity plan
  • Schools were aware of data breaches in only 3% of cases

Breakdown of cyber security incidents:

  • 69% of schools had suffered a phishing attack (fraudulent emails sent to staff or staff directed to fraudulent websites)
  • 35% had experienced periods with no access to important information
  • 30% had suffered malware infection, including virus or ransomware
  • 20% reported spoofing attacks (where a malicious party poses as a member of  staff)
  • 11% had suffered attempted attacks to take down a website or online services
  • 21% had documented unauthorised pupil use of computers, networks or servers
  • 11% reported unauthorised staff use of computers, networks or servers

Preparation and defence:

  • 8% of schools had been significantly disrupted by a cyber-attack or incident
  • 99% of schools had firewalls in place and 98% had antivirus protection
  • 17% escaped all cyber security incidents listed in the survey


  • 92% of schools would welcome more cyber security awareness training for staff.

Commenting on the results Mark Bentley Safeguarding and Cyber Security Manager at LGfL DigiSafe said, “The Cyber Security Audit provides an invaluable insight into current protection available in schools and the realities of online threats. With ever-increasing accountability, squeezed budgets and a demanding curriculum, cyber security preparedness can sometimes fall to the bottom of the school agenda.  It’s vitally important that schools offer cyber security training to their staff and have basic technical protections in place.”

Sarah Lyons, Deputy Director for Economy and Society at the NCSC, said, “Schools should seek access to the right types of information to help them protect their networks against the cyber threats they face. We work closely with the education sector to raise cyber security awareness across schools, whilst signposting clear actionable advice to help schools mitigate against common cyber incidents. It’s never been more important for schools to be aware of the cyber risks and know that free resources are available to help them prepare and respond to a cyber incident.”

To download a full copy of the report and view LGfL’s further analysis of the findings and recommendations for next steps – Top of the Class? A Report into Cyber Security Maturity in UK Schools – please visit securityaudit.lgfl.net.