THE man who describes himself as gaming hero Lara Croft’s ‘father’ is hoping to set up a free school in Hammersmith focusing on computer skills.
Ian Livingstone, one of the founding fathers of the gaming industry, plans to set up a school called The Livingstone School, where children will be taught about computer programming and coding.
Having set up Games Workshop, which opened its first store in Dalling Road, Hammersmith, in 1978, the 63-year-old went on to become the boss of video game publisher, Eidos, and also co-created Fighting Fantasy, a series of single-player roleplay gamebooks.
He intends the secondary school, which will hopefully be near the original Games Workshop, to have a broad curriculum encompassing subjects ranging from technology and maths to art and more creative subjects, all taught on the basis of problem-solving and communication skills.
Mr Livingstone is adamant pupils will not learn by rote to boost exam results, but will be equipped with tangible skills which translate into the real world to help them get good jobs.
The father of four teenage and younger children has campaigned for pupils to be taught code to help them understand and operate in the digital world we live in.
“Children need to be making the programmes, not just using them,” he said. “This is the world we live in and currently, schools teach children how to use computers but not how to create the programmes they use, I want to push that forward so children have the best opportunity possible when they leave school.”
The fervent gamer, who has a degree in education, was so passionate about the subject he went to Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, communications and creative industries.
He commissioned Mr Livingstone and Alex Hope, co-founder of Double Negative Ltd, the UK’s largest film-only visual effects company, to write the Next Gen review in 2011, which explored transforming the UK into the world’s leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industries.
Next Gen played a major role in convincing Michael Gove to replace the current ICT curriculum with a new one starting next year.
Mr Livingstone said: “We don’t want to be about league tables, it should be about learning. Our teachers will use real-life situations which pupils can relate to and won’t forget the minute they’ve done an exam.
“There’ll be an emphasis on games-based learning. When you play a game you’re solving a puzzle, using your initiative, working your hand-eye co-ordination and working in a team – all skills needed in life which is why I think it’s a very important way to teach. I promise kids won’t be playing games all day in class.
“The school will not be a business, it’s more of a movement and will hopefully be the first of many.”
He will submit the application for his school to the Department for Education in January and hopes for confirmation by February, before opening in September 2015.
- Visit www.livingstoneschoolhammersmith.com to find more information about the school and sign a petition.