A school featuring a virtual reality headset, laptops for all pupils and lessons on coding has finally opened.

Livingstone Academy has finally opened in Bournemouth town centre in a complicated move to its campus in Madeira Road, formerly the site of the town’s magistrates’ and coroner’s courts.

Pupils aged between four and 18-years-old will eventually attend the school, but for now only a few years have started this academic year as the school eases into its new life.

The school celebrated its grand opening on Friday, September 22 with an interactive tour of facilities designed especially for 21st century education in a digitalised world.

ICT suite (Image: Daily Echo)

Local dignitaries, officials from the Department for Education, games designers and university academics were among the invited guests.

Mark Norris, operations director for Kier Construction London & Southern who led the build, said: “The Livingstone Academy was designed to support STEAM learning and to provide its students with a state-of-the-art campus to learn about the digital world. 

“We combined our expertise in refurbishment and new build construction to deliver this, and we are pleased to have handed over high-quality facilities where students can enjoy learning.”

The new buildings feature a library, science labs, performing arts facilities, a games design studio and ‘making spaces’ where students will learn how to code, design video games, and create digital art.

Sir Ian Livingstone (Image: Daily Echo)

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities such as robotics, e-sports, and entrepreneurship.

Sir Ian Livingstone, who the academy was named after, said:

“This is a school that will inspire children to learn and to use their creativity to change the world. 

“I have long thought it would be great to bring some of the principles of games-based learning and the methodology of making games to the school curriculum.”

Cllr Vikki Slade, leader of BCP Council, said: “‘The opening of a new school in the centre of Bournemouth is a wonderful opportunity to reimagine how we all think about communities, and the introduction of a school that is dedicated to modern ways of learning and equipping young people for the future is refreshing.”

Images: Daily Echo

Full article by Matt Simpson, Daily Echo reporter, can be read here.


Watch the opening ceremony video by ITV:

A new high tech academy which is blending the old with the new and also taking a different approach at how the curriculum is taught. The Academy is a state school which will soon have 1500 pupils. The school building is cutting edge architectural design which has had to incorporate the Grade 2 listed former Magistrates Court.

Sir Ian Livingstone said:

“All children love learning and often hate school. So the way they collaborate and consume knowledge themselves is really at odds with the way traditional education is delivered to them. So it shouldn’t just be knowledge for knowledge sake and recall.  It should be the application of knowledge and to be able to operate in a world that’s being transformed by technology.”

Natasha Ullah, Executive Principal, said:

“We understand that knowledge is important and empowering but it’s about using skills such as creativity, problem solving and leadership and of having the combination of both knowledge and skills.”


Full article by Richard Slee, ITV Meridian reporter, can be read here.