Secondary school aims to plug gaps in maths and science education

Ian Livingstone opening free school in London

Former Eidos life president Ian Livingstone is opening a new school in London Hammersmith.

The Livingstone School will cater for students aged 11 to 18, and will focus on STEAM subjects science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

It is hoped the free school will offer up to 800 places, with 120 students in Year 7 and 200 in the Sixth Form.

The educational institution is being set up by The Livingstone Foundation Academies Trust, which has received sponsorship from the Department of Education to open in the area.

Secondary schools in Hammersmith are said to suffer from over-subscription, with 60 per cent of children educated outside of the borough.

Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Livingstone said the school has been set up in response to a lack of mathematics and science skills in the UK, which has greatly affected the amount of talent entering the UK game industry, an issue highlighted in the Livingstone-Hope report.

"For seven years I’ve been chair of Skillset Computer Games Skills Forum, and we mapped out all the university courses that had games in their title – there were 144, I think," he said.

"We’d only accredited ten after five years, there’s more now accredited. But a lot of them were not fit for purpose. They were offering soft skills like the social relevance of games and some basic design stuff, but the hard skills that the industry required – coding, art and animation – were simply not a part of the course.

"They’re doing these students a great disservice, saddling them with debt, thinking they’re going to get a job when they weren’t. Not particularly good for the industry because we weren’t getting work ready students to apply for jobs. And not particularly good for the nation either, because it doesn’t really help the economy.

"Industry is really welcoming the free school proposal, but obviously it’s going to take some years before they’ll see the benefit of that. But you’ve got to start somewhere, like we did with Next Gen Review. We had to start somewhere and managed in the end to help convince Michael Gove to disapply the ICT curriculum and put into place the new computing curriculum, which comes into force in September this year. That could be transformational over time."

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