Gaming pioneer Ian Livingstone is to open two free schools concentrating on computer science, technology, and the arts, the Department for Education has revealed today.
Known for table-top gaming company Games Workshop, the Fighting Fantasy series of choose-your-own adventure books, and computer gaming pioneer Eidos, Ian Livingstone is taking a stab at education with the plan to open and run a pair of Livingstone Academies in Bournemouth and London. In total, he aims to educate 3,000 children in science, technology, engineering, art, and maths (STEAM) subjects.
'The arts and sciences should no longer be a question of either/or, and to further this I'm delighted to be opening two free schools to embed digital creativity in future generations of our society,' said Livingstone at the announcement. 'It is the combination of computer programming skills and creativity by which today’s world-changing companies are built. I encourage other digital entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity offered by the free schools programme in helping to give children an authentic education for the jobs and opportunities of the digital world.'
'Free schools are offering a rigorous education in communities which have never before had the opportunity of a good local school. Parents are flocking to them in their droves, and today’s announcement means that over 18,000 more children can benefit from a place in a free school,' claimed education secretary Nicky Morgan at the announcement. 'With leading entrepreneur Ian Livingstone stepping up to open two schools, the free schools programme is proving to be a vital outlet for our society’s most creative and innovative people to spread their excellence to future generations.'
The government's Free Schools programme has come under fire in recent years, with the National Union of Teachers claiming that it diverts money away from existing schools and can 'fuel social segregation and undermine local democracy.' The government has been accused of sweeping reports of poor educational achievement at Free Schools under the rug, with a leaked document released in April 2014 warning that 'political ramifications of any more free schools being judged inadequate are very high and speedy intervention is essential' to avoid further damage to public opinion.