The British Esports Championships for schools and colleges gets underway from October 2018, with the finals set to take place in spring 2019.
But what are the full details? Here in this FAQ guide we aim to answer all your frequently asked questions.
Before you begin
Please visit the following sections as you may find answers to a lot of your questions there:
- British Esports Championships: Handbook for teachers and participants
- British Esports Championships info hub
- Keep following British Esports on Twitter and sign up to our weekly newsletter (on the top right of our homepage) to stay up to date with future developments
Q: I missed the sign-up deadline for Season 1. Can I still take part?
Q: What are the benefits of esports? Are there positives for students taking part in this sort of activity?
A: Absolutely. Esports engages a wide demographic of young people and is intrinsically a fun, team-building activity that promotes leadership, communication and social skills.
Esports has more than 300m viewers across the world, and in the UK it’s now the second most popular sporting activity for boys to watch on screen – behind only football.
Esports can improve confidence, strategic thinking, problem solving abilities, reading comprehension and phonic skills and focus on the development of digital and cyber skills. Skills can be transferred across into physical sports and schoolwork.
It can also boost attendance levels in schools.
- Download British Esports’ Benefits of Esports PDF here
- See our schools pilot report for more info
- British Esports’ library club pilot also found how esports can be a beneficial activity for children
Q: How can I sign up to take part in the Championships?
A: Team sign-ups for Season 2 are currently open and will close the week ending January 11th 2019. Visit the dedicated Championships sign-up site here to sign up or read more information.
You must be a registered student at the school or college aged 12-19 to take part, or if you were 19 before the Champs began, we are happy to include or review those on a case-by-case basis.
If you’re a student, you must find a member of staff who will organise/run the esports club at your school or college. Only adult members of staff can register your team(s) and school/college for the Championships. Try your IT/computing teachers or other members of staff who you know are into gaming. Or how about a senior member of staff who organises all the different clubs and extracurricular activities? More info for students can be found here.
Once registered, you will soon be sent an operational handbook that contains detailed logistics about what you need to set up in your school or college.
Q: What costs are involved?
A: The cost to enter the Championships is £25 for the academic year 2018-19, plus £5 per team, per game, per season.
Teams that already took part in Season 1 will not need to pay the central £25 entry fee again for Season 2.
Your school may want to purchase the games and create generic accounts for safeguarding reasons. League of Legends is free, Overwatch costs £29.99 and Rocket League costs £14.99. Alternatively, schools may allow pupils to play on their own accounts.
Additionally, your school may need to purchase new hardware to be able to run the games. A new PC capable of running all three games would cost around £600 (see more on acquiring funding in one of the questions below and read our Championships info deck for teachers for more info).
Q: Can I get help paying for game keys?
A: All schools and colleges signing up for Season 2 will receive 6 free copies of Overwatch and/or hopefully other games (TBC). These game keys must be used to create generic accounts owned by each school or college and aren’t for individuals’ personal accounts. More details on this to follow.
Q: When and where will the grand finals take place?
A: The finals will take place at Insomnia Gaming Festival (64) at the Birmingham NEC on Friday April 19th 2019. More details on this to be revealed at a later date.
Q: Can participants practice at home?
A: Teachers and parents can encourage students to practice at home in moderation.
We suggest teachers allow students practice time at lunch or after school once or twice a week, if possible, to allow them to develop strategies and bond as a team outside of the main matches.
Q: I’ve registered my team but haven’t received a confirmation email. What are the next steps?
A: Don’t worry. For Season 1 not all entrants received a confirmation email. But for Season 2, after you’ve registered here, our partners epic.LAN will send you a confirmation email.
You will eventually receive an email with login instructions and a handbook to each leader.
When the time comes and Season 2 starts, the leader then logs into the tournament system and sets up teams using a team name, student username and student in-game names.
Q: Can students take part in more than one game?
A: Unfortunately not, as the games are all taking place at similar times, so students will need to choose one to focus on. Schools or colleges can field multiple teams, they just have to consist of different players.
Q: Can sixth forms take part?
A: Yes. Those attached to schools will take part in the schools tournament and those a part of colleges will take part in our colleges tournament.
Q: Can we use anonymous accounts rather than our own gamertags/nicknames? What if someone finds out who I am, as a player?
A: No. You can’t obtain personal info of a player through their gamertag/account name, unless they share it freely or publicly on their own social media account, for example.
For Season 1 we were unable to obtain large quantities of game keys, and we don’t think it’s fair for schools to cover the cost and pay hundreds of pounds for game keys and accounts. So, we are allowing players to use their own personal accounts in the Championships, if they can’t afford to or don’t want to pay for anonymous accounts.
The names of students associated with IGNs (in-game names) will only known by British Esports staff, and used if there is a problem with rulebreaking and we need to quickly identify which student was playing on a specific account.
Q: Which format do the Championships run on?
A: The British Esports Championships are on PC only at this time, that includes Overwatch, Rocket League and League of Legends.
Q: Why should we as a school or college or Alternative Provision (AP) school seek finance for computers/parts?
A: Any upgrade to PCs will support other academic subjects. Esports can be the hook or the motivator, but the fact esports can be played on the PCs is secondary to the additional support that upgraded machines can give subjects like computer science, tech, art, design, photography etc.
Q: How can we gain funding as a school or college?
A: One of the colleges in our pilot applied for and received £10,000 from the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP)which they used to upgrade the processors and graphics cards in one of their PC suites.
The NCOP aims to increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education. It brings together 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners to deliver outreach programmes to young people aged 13-18. Their work is focused on local areas where higher education participation is lower than expected, given GCSE results of the young people who live there.
We believe this could be an opportunity for schools/colleges to apply for funding to upgrade their PCs.The focus of any application for funding should not be esports, but the additional support to academic subjects that having upgraded PCs will give eg: Computer Science, Games Design, Graphics & Design, Art etc. Esports can then be used as the hook to motivate/engage young people.
There’s also the possibility of seeking a sponsor to cover the sign-up/game license costs, in exchange for promotion in your IT room or Twitch channel for example, or on your team jerseys.
Q: What about if we’re an Alternative Provision (AP) school?
A: One supplier is working with the British Esports Association to help supply systems to AP schools, allowing them to take part in the Championships. AP schools teach young people who, for a variety of possible reasons, are not in mainstream education. This could be for socio-emotional or mental health reasons, physical or mental disabilities or through behaviour which has led to permanent exclusion.
More details on a separate AP schools tournament coming soon.
Contact us for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Do you have any case studies on acquiring funding?
A: Yes. For more detailed information on acquiring funding, check out this case study from Sunderland College:
As an example of generating investment to use for esports equipment and hosting events, Sunderland College held a Vocational Skills Competition Day earlier this year, allowing pupils to compete with one another with the event judged, results celebrated and prizes awarded.
These events have typically been in areas such as construction, hair and beauty, catering and more in the past. They can refresh the spirit of the lecturers as well as the students and provide great show-casing opportunities to leverage governors and other stakeholders.
Sunderland College received up to £2,000 from recruitment and HR agency Protocol to run an event focused on esports competition, covering expenses and travel costs and prizes etc.
Mike Jaques, the college’s curriculum leader for digital design, said the skills competition money went towards purchasing mechanical keyboards, gaming mice, headsets graphics cards, gaming chairs, software and other equipment.
The first tournament was held on the weekend on February 24th and 25th 2018, and raised almost £866 for the SpecialEffect gaming charity as part of the Gameblast 18 donation push. Sunderland plans to make this an annual activity.
“The esports tournament enabled our students to complete the ‘Organising an Esports Tournament’ component of a pilot qualification we are running with Aim Awards,” Mike said.
“The ‘skills competition’ element of the event featured esports tournaments for Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Smite and Project Cars 2. The competition also helped us to identify players for the newly formed Sunderland College esports team. This team then represented the college in the pilot British Esports Championships for schools and colleges.”
The skills competition also enabled 150 students to provide evidence required for them to achieve the pilot “Level 3 Esports Business and Industry” qualification. Sunderland College is working with ESL, Ukie, Aim Awards and British Esports to deliver the UK’s first Level 3 Esports qualification.
“We are the only college involved in the pilot qualification and expect 150 Level 3 Games, Animation & VFX students to complete the qualification this academic year,” Mike added. “The qualification focuses on developing the skills students would require to work within esports. It focuses on the industry, job roles, the legal aspects, promotion and marketing, and tournament planning and running.
“If it wasn’t for this additional funding we would have had to scale back the competition and restrict the number of students who could be involved in both the tournament and the qualification.”
Q: I have some concerns around ‘gaming addiction’ and the World Health Organisation’s recognition of ‘gaming disorder’ in an upcoming International Classification of Diseases publication.
A: We welcome the announcement because it allows the very small minority with addiction issues to hopefully better access the support they need.
However, it also gives us the chance to be very clear about how esports and the British Esports Championships is different from ‘normal’ video gaming. Esports is team based, human vs human, competitive play, not solitary, in-bedroom-on-own, playing against a computer video gaming.
The British Esports Championships will be played in a safe, secure, supervised, team environment from school. It allows students to gain all the character development traits from playing in a team whilst being done in moderation and allowing the kids to have great fun and enjoy something they really want to do.
Esports, when played in moderation, has many benefits.
Fighting or shooting games don’t seem appropriate for schools?
This will be a choice for each school. We offer a range of age-appropriate games in the Championships including 5v5 League of Legends which is a fantasy action strategy game and has a PEGI age rating of 12. There’s also games like 3v3 Rocket League – football with cars – which has a PEGI 3 rating and 6v6 cartoon shooter Overwatch which has a PEGI 12 rating.
As participants are 12-19 years old, the games are safe to play and require no parental approval.
Q: I have concerns around safeguarding, safety and security including online security.
A: All games are played in a safe, secure, access-only platform. Only registered schools are able to log in and use it.
Staff are present to supervise at all times.
Our job is to provide education about the do’s and don’ts online and how students can keep themselves safe, including what is/isn’t appropriate behaviour. Our aim at British Esports is to help provide this education, advice, guidance and provide safe and secure ways in which we can harness the passion, interest and excitement of our young people for esports and channel it in a positive way that is supported by, and works for, all stakeholders.
Q: What do students think of the Championships?
A: You can view a video of some of the students who took part in our pilot and their views on the Championships here:
You can also see some more feedback in our pilot doc here.
Q: I’m a caster and am interested in casting the Championships. Can I get involved?
A: Thanks for your interest! However we’re not doing our own broadcast of the Championships so aren’t looking for casters at the moment.
For our first year, we want to focus on player experience and engagement before expanding into broadcast. Instead, we’re encouraging individual schools/colleges to pick up broadcasting and stream their own games with help from the Twitch Student Program.
Q: How many schools or colleges are taking part?
A: In our pilot at the start of 2018, there were four schools, four alternative provision schools and eight further education colleges that took part.
More than 70 teams took part in Season 1.
Q: I’m thinking of streaming games or hosting a live event in my school/college. What should I know about music licensing laws and what music could we use?
For the use of non-royalty free songs, we asked music licence organisation PPL PRS for a statement to answer this question in greater detail. The statement is as follows:
“PPL PRS licenses the extra-curricular use of live and recorded music in schools and colleges.
“Due to the nature of the venue however, these licences are usually issued to schools by the Centre for Education & Finance Management (CEFM) on behalf of PPL PRS’ parent companies – PPL and PRS for Music. Although, some independent schools and colleges may be licensed directly by PPL PRS.
“In general, the licences held by the school will cover events, such as esports events that use recorded music and therefore no further licence is required. This is providing that those events are run by the school and/or any profit or benefit goes entirely to the schools. If this is not the case, an additional licence may be required. Visit www.pplprs.co.uk or contact PPL PRS for more information.
“If esports events are being held in different types of venues, such as village halls, you should check that the venue has the music licence in place to allow them to hold these events. The licence generally required in these cases is known as TheMusicLicence and this is issues by PPL PRS.”
Q: How large/popular is esports?
A: Revenues are set to reach $900m this year, according to Newzoo, while the global esports audience will grow to 380m this year. Bear in mind these are general figures, and popularity will depend on each game and tournament. The bigger pro tournaments will of course attract many more viewers than grassroots tournaments.
You can read more on what esports is in our PDF here.
Q: How can I get my question answered?
A: If you’re taking part in the Championships, please ask an admin in the Championships Discord channel.