Free School to Teach Using Gaming Principles

Veteran of British games industry, Ian Livingstone, has officially applied to open a free school with the lessons being built using video gaming. Mr Livingstone is most famous for being known as the man behind epic gaming franchises of Tomb Raider and Warhammer. If the application is successful, the school could open in 2016, would be based in Hammersmith, west London, England.

Mr Livingstone has informed the BBC that he wanted to use games-based education other than relying upon “relentless testing”. Livingstone said, “I’m passionate about children who have been born into the Internet. I think they learn in a different way.”

The application was submitted this week to the Department for Education. It was backed by Mr Livingstone’s numerous trustees including two educators, Barnaby Lenon, a former headmaster at Harrow, and Marion Gibbs, the head at James Allen School for Girls in East Dulwich, London. Also on the board is David Cramer, who owns international rights for the puzzle, Rubik’s Cube.

Ian Livingstone

Mr Livingstone argued that by bringing gaming fundamentals into the education process, students would discover how to problem-solve rather than just how to pass exams.

Speaking to the BBC about the plans, Mr Livingstone said he wanted to bring the interactive element of the Fighting Fantasy books into the principles to schooling, but he stressed the school would offer knowledge across all core subjects.

“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 computer science to have hopefully a deeper understanding of the subjects that you’re learning,” said Livingstone.

He continued, “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…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.”

Free schools are a major part of the government’s plan to find more school spaces around the country. In London, 90,000 more spaces are to be needed by 2016. However, some are in opposition to the growth of free schools, saying it makes it more difficult to launch state-funded schools.


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