Introducing Mark and Siân - welcome to the team!

Author: Laura Martin, Comms & Programme Manager | Mark Ward, Community Outreach Officer | Siân Mayhall-Purvis, Education Programme Coordinator

As Digital Schoolhouse continues to grow, so does our team. Here's a big warm welcome to Mark and Siân who've recently joined us. 

Left to right: Siân Mayhall-Purvis, education programme coordinator and Mark Ward, community outreach officer
Left to right: Siân Mayhall-Purvis, education programme coordinator and Mark Ward, community outreach officer

Mark Ward, community outreach officer at Digital Schoolhouse ✉️ Follow Mark 🐦   

I've joined Digital Schoolhouse as the new Community Outreach Officer and it is my responsibility to lead on the next exciting phase of the Digital Schoolhouse expansion, working in collaboration with Arts Council England to bring playful computing workshops to a wider community audience through libraries.

I've been a teacher of IT and Computer Science for over 20 years. I have had experience delivering a plethora of KS3-KS5 courses and qualifications to students from a varied range of social and economic backgrounds. I have 15 years of middle leadership experience and I have led on whole school initiatives based on my subject specialist knowledge and wider educational pedagogy.

I have been part of the Digital Schoolhouse family (yes, that might sound a little corny and cliched, but it really does feel that way!) for almost 6 years, during which time I have delivered creative, play-based workshops and INSET to hundreds of students and their teachers.  This was - and still remains to be - integral in the decision for me, and my school to become a Digital Schoolhouse; developing the computational thinking skills of youngsters and empowering colleagues to deliver a computing curriculum with confidence - all under the umbrella of ‘playful computing’. 

On top of this, being a Digital Schoolhouse Lead Teacher has enabled me to work with some incredible people, from the world of education and much further afield.  I have been given the opportunity to develop working relationships with figures from the tech and gaming industries which have proven invaluable to help ensure the next generation are getting access to the right skills and opportunities to make a difference in these areas.

In my new role, starting off with a small number of ‘community schoolhouses’ in library clusters across England, I aim to ensure the same enthusiasm, passion and impact (along with LOTS of fun!) seen in any Digital Schoolhouse across the UK is extended to help libraries support their local communities in ensuring they have the skills to succeed in an increasingly tech-reliant society.

Siân Mayhall-Purvis, education programme coordinator at Ukie ✉️ Follow Siân 🐦 

I’ve joined Ukie in the new position of Education Programme Coordinator. I will be working across all education and training initiatives, including Digital Schoolhouse, Video Games Ambassadors and the Student Membership Programme.

I'm entering the world of video games after working in the theatre industry for over 10 years. I’ve worked with leading organisations within the sector, including theatre publisher Nick Hern Books, National Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Hampstead Theatre, Southwark Playhouse and National Youth Theatre, and I am Chair of the Board of Trustees at By Jove Theatre Company.

I loved drama as a kid because I got to play in class. I had so much fun spending lessons up on my feet, getting creative, and learning in a playful and collaborative way with my friends. My most recent job at Nick Hern Books involved working closely with schools and youth theatre groups. This reconnected me with how I fell in love with drama, and it introduced me to both the importance of industry collaborating with education, and to the impact of playful learning.

As the lead events and projects manager at the company, I was involved in delivering a range of initiatives that provided young people with opportunities for creativity and self-expression, as well as connecting teachers with the classroom resources that Nick Hern Books publish. One of my favourite parts of the job was seeing all the fantastic and funny photos of theatre productions and projects we'd facilitated in schools across the UK and beyond.

I have loved video games since the day in 1997 when my mum brought home a second-hand PlayStation and a copy of Crash Bandicoot, a game I came to both adore and hate with a rage-quitting passion.

In recent years my enjoyment of games has become a more serious interest. I was so happy to see that Ukie were looking for an Education Programme Coordinator. The role combines my experience in events and project delivery, my interest in promoting playful learning and engaging young people with industry, and my love of video games! I’m so excited to get stuck in.