PLAYING video games is now part of the curriculum at a south Essex school bidding to bridge the gap between education and the gaming industry. 

Chase High School, in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, has been granted ‘digital schoolhouse’ status, with the scheme using “play-based learning” to engage children with the computing curriculum. 

After submitting a video showcasing the school’s computer department and being interviewed by the programme director, Chase was successful in its application.

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The Digital Schoolhouse scheme provides teachers with access to resources and free training, as well as direct links to the UK video games industry to support games development students.

Students play competitive digital games, including Rocket League and Overwatch 2, in the eSports lab to compete to join the Chase eSports team and compete in national competitions.

Melanie Hall, subject leader for computing, is hoping this will help students gain opportunities within the digital games and IT industry.

She said: “As well as benefitting from the fantastic resources provided by Digital Schoolhouse, our students also gain exciting opportunities from the connections made with major organisations in the digital games and IT industry.  

“We are incredibly proud to be a forerunner in the efforts to bridge the gap between education and this fast-growing industry.”

The programme adds to the school’s existing eSports lab and eSports tournament, as well as the opportunity for games development students to compete in a Game Jam event.

The Game Jam, a regular event in the video game industry among developers, is held at Chase to give sixth form games development and IT students the opportunity to design and create a digital game on a set theme.

Workshop are sponsored by PlayStation and SEGA and aim to bridge the gap between education and industry.

Year 10 and 11 games development students play the games and vote for their favourite, with the winning team winning a trophy.

Melanie Hall added: “We are so excited to also be able to provide fantastic computing workshops to Year 5 and 6 pupils from neighbouring primary schools, as well as offering a unique opportunity to experience competitive gaming in an established eSports lab.”