The day we were so cool we took over a whole school

School Takeover

OK, it’s not often you get the chance to live out a childhood fantasy and take over a school for the day, but that’s exactly what we did on December 15th 2015.

We were given the keys (metaphorically) to Tech City College, an aspirations academy in Old Street, east London, to teach 16-18 year olds how to code, use social media effectively, the key points of cyber security and prototyping an app from scratch.

Held thanks to continued support from Barclays, we were thrown in at the deep end in front of 120 pupils, all initially unsure what to expect and whether we’d be worth listening to.

Thanks to the efforts of our inspirational trainers Lewie and Marta, it wasn’t long until they realised having Freeformers in charge would be fun and instructive. The prizes on offer of an Apple TV and selfie sticks certainly helped captured their attention too.

It was an amazing event and should be used in all schools — Crystal, 17

The attendees broke down as 36% 16s, 54% 17s and 10% 18s with a 54%/46% Male to Female ratio.

We initially discovered that 82% planned to go to university with just 3% keen to start their own company and be more entrepreneurial. The other 15% were looking towards Apprenticeships.

So our aim was to inspire the pupils with the possibilities of learning the skills needed to go on to carve out a career in the digital economy.

The day proved an A-grade success with feedback from the group proving extremely positive. Many said they had been inspired to find out more and all admitted to learning something from the sessions.

Wim, 16, said: “After today, I will be more aware and have a proper target goal for myself as well as go over the target.”

Kelly, 17, added: “It has changed my view towards opportunities. Instead of walking away from a good opportunity, I’ll take it.”

Jun Hao, 16, enthused: “It has inspired me. The security has scared me a little so I will be making my password more secure using the Freeformers Password Checker.”

And Ridwana, 17, promised to: “Get myself more involved in the tech world.”

Our first-ever school takeover was a positive experience for all who took part, including the Freeformers trainers, many of whom were left uninspired by their IT lessons at school.

“If I’d been given this opportunity in school I would have jumped at it”, said our trainer Lewie Allen,“and it was really cool that TechCity college were so keen on having us.”

But we’re not done there. We’re actively looking for another educational establishment to tear up their lesson plans and hand over the digital whiteboard to us.




26th February 2016