UPDATE (March 24th): This tournament has unfortunately been cancelled due to COVID-19. We hope to rearrange it for later in the year.
February 27th: The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organisation set up to support grassroots esports in the UK, has teamed up with Fierce PC and Stone Group to bring its growing Rocket League Championship back to Alternative Provision (AP) Schools.
The tournament first began life as a pilot in 2019 and, following strong demand, is now returning for 2020.
The number of participating teams has increased from 8 to 12, with reigning champions The Green Room (pictured) hoping to retain their title. And since last year, two of the schools have decided to purchase their own equipment for permanent use.
This six-week Rocket League tournament for AP schools demonstrates how esports can be used to motivate and engage young people and facilitate positive character development. Last year’s competition found students had increased behaviour, concentration and attendance levels after taking part, while Mrs Lou West, deputy head and team leader at Millside School (part of Haybrook College), spoke about how it brought about a positive change in students.
Fixtures began in the week beginning February 24th and will conclude in the week beginning March 30th. There will be two groups of six operating in a round robin format, with online finals taking place in the last week.
In terms of prizing, British Esports will arrange some prizes for the winners to be announced at a later date.
The AP Schools taking part represent a full range of provision for young people with additional needs, including Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH), Special Education Need (SEND), Speech Language Communication Needs (SLCN), Autistic Spectrum (ASC), Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD), Complex & Severe Needs and Emotional & Behavioural Needs (EBD).
The inclusive AP Schools Championship will run alongside the separate British Esports Championships Spring 2020 Season, which is for secondary schools and further education colleges, and also includes Overwatch and League of Legends as well as Rocket League.
The full list of AP Schools competing is as follows:
- The Gateway (Haybrook College)
- Millside School (Haybrook College)
- Shenstone Lodge School – Brades Lodge Site (fielding two teams)
- Glebe School
- The Green Room School
- North West Surrey Short Stay School
- Knowle DGE Learning Centre
- Notten House
- St Vincent College
- Peak Academy
Both Fierce PC and Stone Group will be providing schools with equipment for the tournament.
Gaming-focused system builder Fierce PC has loaned out 12 Lumina systems, along with 12 Fierce PC Draconis gaming keyboard and mouse bundles, while education specialist Stone Group has also supplied 12 Stone Midi Tower systems and Acer Predator monitors and peripherals.
Both providers have worked with schools in the British Esports Championships in the past. Stone helped kit out a gaming room at Gower College in Swansea and Fierce PC has a full e-suite available for schools to view at its HQ in Haslingden.
“The AP Championship is a great opportunity for us and our friends to share esports with alternative provision education,” said Tom Dore, head of education at the British Esports Association.
“There were some encouraging findings made from last year’s tournament and we can’t wait to see how the teams get on this time. We’re sure the teachers and students involved will discover further benefits from participating in esports.”
Jon Carter, Fierce PC managing director, added: “We’re very happy that Fierce PC was given the opportunity to support the British Esports Association on this amazing project for the second year running.
“The impact the project had on pupils last year was fantastic, with schools involved clearly seeing an uplift in students’ concentration, as well as attendance both during and after taking part. It is great that we can play our part in demonstrating the positive results gaming can achieve.”
Dionne Barlow, head of marketing, ecommerce & vendor alliances at Stone Group, commented: “Here at Stone, we’re dedicated to grassroots and educational esports in the UK and delighted to be part of this project. This follows on from a collaboration with the British Esports Association at WorldSkills UK and an exciting partnership between Stone’s Dino brand and Gower College who are currently taking part in the British Esports Championships.
“We are loaning a total of 12 PC gaming rigs to Shenstone Lodge School, Knowledge Learning Centre and Peak Academy as part of our commitment to improve learning outcomes for students across the UK, using technology. Each of the devices will arrive pre-installed with Steam and Rocket League, meaning that the schools won’t incur any costs when taking part in the Championships.”
Ashley Sheehan, head of skills-based qualification the Edge and teacher of the arts at The Green Room School in Windsor, commented: “We are very excited to get back into the Rocket League AP Championship this year. Last season’s tournament was hard-fought and we were lucky to come away on top of it. The team has had to make some adjustments, having lost a few key players from last year but they’ve found time to practice and are ready for the new challenges this season will bring.
“We hope to continue on with our winning ways but ultimately look to promote teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship – not just within our team and school but across the whole tournament. The Green Room wishes everyone involved the best of luck.”
About the British Esports Association
The British Esports Association is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 to support and promote esports in the UK.
As a national body, its aims are to foster future British talent, increase the awareness of esports and provide expertise and advice. It’s focused on the grassroots level of esports and is not a governing body.
The Association helps educate the masses – including parents, teachers, media and government – around what esports is and what its benefits are. Its three goals are to Promote, Improve and Inspire.
About Stone Group
Stone Group was established in 1991 and has assisted thousands of organisations in adapting and thriving in a continually changing technology landscape. They are an OEM and VAR, who also deliver personalised services, reliable IT support and an IT Asset Disposal service.
Stone manufactures its own branded desktops, notebooks and other IT devices at its Staffordshire based HQ, where it also configures and deploy technology from global brands. It also operates its own purpose built, fully secure ITAD and recycling facility.
Stone has become a leading UK supplier of technology to education and the public sector, as well as being a highly regarded, dependable provider to private sector organisations. Stone also owns the gaming system builder brand DinoPC.
About Fierce PC
Fierce PC offers everything you need to create a fully customisable and bespoke home office, home theatre or gaming sanctuary.
It prides itself on being able to offer the best advice when it comes to choosing the right equipment for your personal needs.
The team has decades of experience working in the PC industry and is always on hand to offer advice on everything from buying pre-built gaming PC bundles to choosing the right components and upgrades for an existing system. It works exclusively with world-renowned brands including ASUS, Intel, AMD, Seagate, Gigabyte and many more.
For press enquiries or for more information please contact the British Esports Association at email@example.com
Dominic Sacco, content director