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Former Eidos head founds art in tech high school

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Former Eidos president and leading U.K. industry figure Ian Livingstone is looking to open a free secondary school in London that will utilize new methods of teaching to prepare students for the modern workplace, reports Games Industry International.

The Livingstone School will focus on teaching children the core skills of STEM education — that is, fundamentals in science, technology, engineering and math as well as the arts — and "addresses the lack of technological and creative expertise amongst students today." Livingstone's application for the school was submitted to the government today with the hopes that it will open by September 2015.

Livingstone's decision to open a school stems from this belief that, for the video games industry in Britain, production costs have been too high while output has been low — what he describes as "not living up to [English] heritage" in terms of video game quality. He promotes the idea of "fun learning," which he believes is a better way to engage students and teach them more valuable technology skills.

"The school curriculum for ICT (information and communication technologies )had been letting us down as an industry and as a nation — teaching kids how to consume technology but giving them no insight into how to use it creatively — or to create their own technology," he said.

"That world has totally changed now," he added. "We've got high speed broadband, we work in connected environments. The ways in which kids work in particular — they're part of totally connected worlds. You can see by the way they share everything by their smartphones, their activities, knowledge and private details, yet we still ask them to sit quietly in isolation whilst someone at the front talks at them — asking them to note down things which they can always Google at any time!"

According to Livingstone, his school will have no ability range criteria and will be open for all to apply, noting there are "no barriers to entry." According to the official page for the school, which will accommodate students ages 11-18, the school will kick off with a first class of 800 places.​ Livingstone's curriculum will teach students the skills needed to get jobs, such as coding and design, in hopes of producing workplace-ready individuals.

"Well we're certainly going to bring the educational environment closer to the workplace to give kids life skills, because those with As currently aren't necessarily the best students, they just happen to know how to pass exams," he explained. "The disaffected kids with the Cs and Ds, they might be better employees.

"So we've got to make sure that people understand their own value to start off, but to your point we have got a principal designate who is working in a school, is a trained teacher, is assistant head at the moment and will become our head should we get approved," he added. "So clearly we're going to have, in our ambition to have, established, trained teachers and staff, at the time we're going to have strong links with industry to make the learning relevant and applicable to life."