Industry veteran Ian Livingstone wants kids to learn how to solve problems, not just pass exams

Livingstone School will focus on ‘games-based learning’

The application for The Livingstone School has been formally submitted and proposes to centre the school around games-based learning.

Proposed by industry veteran Ian Livingstone earlier this year, the institute will cater for 11 to 18-year-old students and focus on the core STEAM subjects: science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. 

It follows Livingstone’s work on the Next Gen Skills review, which recommended the skills needed for games design and other digital creative industries. The new curriculum introduced last month, which includes a focus on coding, is the first step towards meeting these recommendations.

Speaking to the BBC, Livingstone said he wants his school to be focused on games-style learning rather than "relentless testing". The idea is that by introducing gaming elements into the way lessons are structured and delivered, students will learn how to solve problems, not just pass exams.

"I’m passionate about children who have been born into the internet," said Livingstone. "I think they learn in a different way.

"We’re not trying to be radical in any sense. Of course, you have to have a broad and balanced curriculum and make sure there’s rigour in all subjects. But it’s using a discipline like compuster science to have hopefully a deeper understanding of the subjects that you’re learning."

Livingstone stressed that his school will still cover all core subjects, not just those that lay the foundation for a career in games development. He also criticised other schools for putting such a heavy focus on exams, claiming these assess the school more than they do the students.

"There needs to be a shift in the pedagogy of learning in classrooms because there’s still an awful lot of testing and conformity instead of diversity," he said. "I’m not saying knowledge is bad – I’m just trying to get a bit more know-how into the curriculum.

"For my mind, failure is just success work-in-progress. Look at any game studio and the way they iterate. Angry Birds was Rovio’s 51st game. You’re allowed to fail. Games-based learning allows you to fail in a safe environment."

The Livingstone School will be based in Hammersmith and, if approved, could open in 2016.

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