The man behind the new Livingstone Academy, set to open in 2021, has revealed the idea stemmed from seeing the wonderment and learning in interactive gaming.

Ian Livingstone, co-founder of games company Games Workshop, has collaborated with Aspirations Academies Trust to create the Livingstone Academy in Madeira and Stafford roads, which will open to reception and year 7 pupils in September 2021. Limited places are now available.

Mr Livingstone told the Daily Echo: “My own education was not that enjoyable, and I didn’t go to university and I ended up doing well despite my education, not because of it.

“Throughout my career I have seen how learning is actually a very enjoyable experience but what’s on offer in a lot of schools is not particularly enjoyable.

“Having seen the power of playing, not just in terms of entertainment but for children being able to learn given the empowerment through interactive gaming in particular I thought wouldn’t it be great to use some of the principles of games-based learning, using some of the methodology in playing and making games to apply to a curriculum.

“This has really stemmed from the early days launching Games Workshop in the 70s, Dungeons and Dragons and seeing the wonderment and enjoyment and the learning in games like Dungeons and Dragons.”

The school will still serve the national curriculum, but Mr Livingstone hoped it will be in a more engaging way.

“For a child to be a true citizen of the 21st century they need to be in the driver’s seat, rather than the passenger seat of technology,” he added.

The school will have a focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths.

And Mr Livingstone said this will help students build a portfolio.

He said: “Every assessment of children seems to revolve around the written test and there must be better ways to assess people’s ability.

“As an employer myself, whilst I would always want to see how well children have done in their exams, the deciding factor for me would be what your portfolio tells me.

“It’s important we promote skills as well as qualifications.

“We wouldn’t want you to think we are using children as guinea pigs to try out our new way of enabling children to learn, it’s adding this layer of being work ready and world ready.”

Steve Kenning, CEO of Aspirations Academy with Paula Kenning, said: “Many employers don’t think young people have the skills to cope in their world. The idea is not only to get good qualifications, but to get the good qualifications through teaching differently.

“We are going to do it in a transdisciplinary way. The idea where we take the knowledge we learn but apply it to real problems.”

Paula added: “One of the unique features of the school is that it’s all-through, so we’ll have children from aged four to 18.

“If you consider that’s 14 years’ worth of learning, we’re completely convinced that we can enable young people to achieve high-level qualifications which undoubtedly they need, but also equip them with all those critical skills.”

A second virtual information evening about Livingstone Academy will be held with Mr Livingstone and Steve and Paula Kenning at 5pm on Thursday September 24, email office@livingstone-aspirations.org to register your interest. To apply for a place email Caroline Barringer: office@livingstone-aspirations.org

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