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Games Britannia aims to rule computing education


David Crookes
Friday 20 January 2012 17:10 GMT

Britain is set to host its biggest ever videogame education festival this Summer.

The Games Britannia festival has been launched by Andy Payne, the chairman of UK Interactive Entertainment which has campaigned to change the way computing is taught in schools.

It will take place between July 2 and 8 at the MAGNA Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham and it also coincides with a Yorkshire-wide competition for schools to redesign the classic gaming character Monty Mole.

As well as being aimed at the education sector, there will be a weekend open to the general public.

It comes as education Secretary Michael Gove recently proposed a shake-up of computing education, scrapping lessons in Information and Communications Technology from the start of the new school year.

Should the consultation go as planned, it will be replaced by computer science, which will be made compulsory for all pupils. The 2011 Livingstone-Hope report identified a skills shortage in the Uk which was said to be hampering the industry.

Speaking at the launch of Games Britannia, Mr Payne said: "We're thrilled to be able to announce the launch of Games Britannia hot on the heels of the games industry's recent success in lobbying for a new computer science curriculum to replace ICT in schools.

"It's vital to our future economy that the next generation become creators of technology and software, not just consumers of it."

Games Britannia is being run by a number of official bodies including the local council, Sheffield Hallam University, Brinsworth Comprehensive School Academy Trust, Replay Events and UKIE.

It is backed by industry companies including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Monty Mole, a game big in the 1980s for 8-bit home computers, will be resurrected as part of the Gremlin Game Jam, named after the Sheffield-based company which produced the character.

Ian Stewart, founder of Gremlin Graphics, said "It's fantastic to see an initiative to rekindle the passion for programming at a young age."

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