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UK's biggest schools esports tournament returns to the London Games Festival

Tournament capitalising on success of previous year by demonstrating the power of games in building confidence, team work, and communication skills

04 October 2017 - London, United Kingdom - The second Digital Schoolhouse powered by PlayStation national schools esports tournament is announced after a successful inaugural event as part of the London Games Festival celebration of games.

Games trade body Ukie today announced that the National Schools Esports Tournament, part of the Digital Schoolhouse powered by PlayStation programme, returns for a second year with more than 1,000 school pupils across the UK expected to take part.

The tournament, the biggest of its kind in the UK, launches at the end of 2017 with regional heats and the grand final taking place in London as part of the London Games Festival which returns to the city across 10 days between 5-10 April 2018.

The competition builds on the success of the inaugural tournament which ran from January to April 2017, culminating in a glitzy finale hosted at the Gfinity Esports Arena, with support from PlayStation, 505 Games, SEGA and the National University Esports League. More than 460 pupil players trained and honed their skills in Rocket League, competing to represent their schools.

The tournament demonstrated the power of games and competitive play in building confidence, team work, communication skills and perseverance.

Participating schools also reported a rise in interest in games and esports-related careers during the competition, with 87% of participating pupils reporting a greater interest in studying computing and tech-related qualifications, and 75% of students reporting significantly increased interest in a career in the video games industry.

School leaders and teachers said pupil attendance rose during the heats and the competition improved staff perceptions of the games industry. Many of the participating schools continue to run regular esports clubs and some plan to trial tournaments with local primary schools to engage more teachers and students with computing.

The regional quarter finals will see schools from Northern Ireland, Warwickshire, Southern England, the Midlands and Northern England competing for a place in the final. Each school will be paired with an industry coach to offer careers advice and gameplay tips. Each quarter final will also feature industry speakers who will talk to participating schools about the opportunities esports offers from careers in event production to game development. Pupils who don't choose to enter the tournament as part of a team will be encouraged to take up other roles such as shoutcasting (commentating), event production, team management, social media and marketing.

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist OBE said "We are delighted to be bringing the tournament back again. Esports is a growth sector as part of the games and interactive entertainment industry and we want the next generation to experience it not just watch it. Playing in and producing esports tournaments develops so many different skills as well as a sense of pride, and is a career pathway that can be hugely rewarding. But the schools tournament is also a fantastic way to inspire and give confidence to young people, showing them that if they study the right creative and technology subjects, they will have valuable transferable skills needed by digital creative businesses in the UK now and in the future."

The 2018 game title for the tournament and details of the Final will be announced at a later date. If you are interested in being involved with the 2018 tournament as a coach or partner, please contact Head of Education Shahneila Saeed.

For more information about the Digital Schoolhouse programme.

For more information about the London Games Festival