Video games guru calls for art to be part of the EBacc

Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop, tells ed-tech summit that China is seeking to learn from the UK about creativity

Martin George

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One of Britain's leading video games gurus has called for art to be included in the English Baccalaureate because it is an “enabler” of Stem subjects.

Ian Livingstone, the co-founder of the Games Workshop and author of Hacking the Curriculum: Creative Computing and the Power of Play, was speaking at today’s Edtech UK Global Summit in London.

He welcomed proposals in this week’s Budget for 8,000 more computer science teachers to be trained, but raised concerns about the role of creativity in the English curriculum.

He cited a review he wrote for innovation foundation Nesta in 2011 about how to turn the UK into the world’s leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industry.

The report included a recommendation to “include art and computer science in the English Baccalaureate”.

'Art can be marginalised'

This morning Mr Livingstone told the summit: “It really worries me that art can be marginalised, because art is not just for art’s sake, but an enabler of other Stem subjects. It’s also a great way of getting diverse thinking and self-expression.”

Mr Livingstone is working with the Aspirations Academies Trust to open two new free schools in London and Bournemouth, specialising in computing and science.

He told today’s event: “Just do not forget about how important art is. It worries me that the Department for Education is trying to marginalise the arts in our curriculum, and spend more time on testing Stem subjects, because they look to China for best practice in mathematics teaching, at the same time that China is looking to the UK for how they can be more creative, because they want to move away from ‘made in China’ to ‘designed in China’.

"So it seems bizarre to me that China wants to see how they can be more creative but we want to see how we can do more dull and rote-learning mathematics. It is madness.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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