Exclusive: New students get a Minecraft tour of school

School recreated in computer game to help Year 6 pupils who are unable to attend transition days this year

John Roberts

Coronavirus: A headteacher has recreated his school in the computer game Minecraft so that new students can have a look around

A headteacher has found a way of showing new students around his school during the lockdown by recreating it brick for brick on the game Minecraft.

The coronavirus outbreak has prevented schools from being able to hold the usual open days and transition days for students joining in the next academic year.

But Steve Brice, the principal of the Co-op Academy Manchester, discovered a way around this.

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He said: "We have been thinking about transition and have created a website to help pupils who would otherwise have been able to come on open days and transition days. And we have put a series of activities on there.

"When we were thinking about touring the school and what we could do, we looked at doing a video, but that is not the same as exploring a place for yourself."

But one of his daughters' favourite computer games inspired a solution.

Coronavirus: School tours using Minecraft

Mr Brice said: "My two daughters, Holly and Ella, play the game Minecraft and, as a throwaway comment one evening, I suggested they make the academy on there.

"At the end of the first evening, I could see the foundations were going down and I realised just how much work would be involved."

Using the actual architects' design for the school, they have now recreated every room in the academy – one building brick at a time – over more than three weeks and using many thousands of Minecraft blocks.

Mr Brice said: "What started as a day became two days, and then a week and then several weeks. It became a real family effort. The more time we spent on it, the more determined we were to get it absolutely right."

Now prospective students can tour the finished school on the game.

The map is complete with classrooms, theatre, climbing wall, dining hall and sports hall.

Mr Brice said: "As someone who knows the school really well, I'd say it is uncanny how realistic it is. You can really go from any room to any office in the school.

"We haven't left anything out. The Minecraft map of the school is available on our transition website and we have already had some really nice comments from visitors and existing pupils who have downloaded on to their PCs, ipads or phones."

The Minecraft version of the Co-op Academy Manchester can be downloaded from the school's website. 

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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