Ian Livingstone applies to launch interactive ‘gaming’ school

Ian Livingstone, the man behind a number of successful game franchises including Tomb Raider and Warhammer, wants to launch a free school focusing on games-based learning.

Livingstone, who has sent his application to the Department of Education this week, believes a new approach to education is required for "children who have been born into the Internet."

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The proposal could see the school open in 2016 and already has the backing of several trustees such as Barnaby Lenon, the former headmaster at Harrow School.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that assessing school applications is a lengthy process, but that all proposals were welcomed.

"Free schools are giving parents real choice and children of all backgrounds the chance to achieve excellence. We welcome all innovative and exciting free school proposals."

Before becoming CEO of video game company Eidos, Mr Livingstone made his name as the author of several roleplay gamebooks in the Fighting Fantasy series. During an interview with the BBC, Mr Livingstone said he wanted to bring similar interactive elements to his school curriculum, without neglecting the core subjects.

"We're not trying to be radical in any sense," he said. "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."

Mr Livingstone also criticised schools' emphasis on test results and knowledge at the expense of problem solving, adding that the trial-and-error nature of games provides a better model for learning.

"For my mind, failure is just success work-in-progress," he said. "Look at any game studio and the way they iterate. Angry Birds was Rovio's 51st game. You're allowed to fail."

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Free schools are increasingly being viewed as the primary method for reducing the UK's school shortage. London alone needs another 90,000 spaces by 2016, but some have criticised the free school model as a barrier to launching state-funded community schools.