The Mill Academy

Referencing: Schools, Primary, Games Days, Family Workshops, Engagement

Gaming Tuesdays at The Mill are fantastic... an incredible success with the staff, the parents and the pupils

Gaming Tuesdays at The Mill are fantastic

We were first in touch with Imagination Gaming through a joint gaming event with another school within the St Marys Academy Trust

Following on from our initial meeting with the Imagination Gaming team I arranged a meeting with Nigel Scarfe in school. This gave me a great insight into how the company worked with the children and how the work can be personally tailored to the needs of the school.

Following on from this we quickly moved onto an 8 week programme for one day a week for our KS2 classes. This has been an incredible success with the staff, the parents and the pupils. Our main foci for the sessions were problem solving, stamina and communication. Nigel has worked closely with the staff and adapted each week according to the needs of the children. The whole school has been enthused by this work and all the teachers have spoken very highly about the way that the children are motivated to problem solve and work as a team both within these sessions and in their maths lessons. The school has decided to buy our own set of games to continue to this marvellous work and has already enquired about a similar programme of gaming days for KS1

Parents have engaged with this work, parent engagement was an area we were trying to improve across school and now both breakfast and afterschool clubs are very busy with pupils and parents which is an incredible outcome for us. What is beneficial for school is the level of communication that Nigel offers us via regular emails but also a  debrief at the end of every day to share the success and next steps for the following week.

Our children ask every week if Nigel is coming to school and the attitudes and behaviour in his session are very positive. We love our links with Imagination Gaming and hope it continues to develop.

Tamara Gulliver


The Mill Academy, Barnsley

St Marys Academy Trust.


Leeds Schools and Intervention

Referencing: Schools, Transactional Activities, Summer Schools, SEN, Primary, Secondary

The level of both student and staff engagement with these games was tremendous

For four years from 2012, in my previous capacity as Assistant Principal (Support for Learning) at David Young Community Academy in Leeds, I employed Imagination Gaming to deliver a number of interventions designed to better engage young people in learning.

Summer Schools 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015: Each year, Imagination Gaming delivered a range of different board games to students transferring from primary to secondary education. These games facilitated team building between students and with staff and, at the same time supported the development of communication, mathematics and problem solving skills. The level of both student and staff engagement with these games was tremendous, to the extent some would go back to game playing during the lunch breaks between activities.

Alternative Provision for disengaged young people: Imagination Gaming became an integral part of an experimental alternative provision programme I ran with Yr8 and Yr9 students in 2014 -2015. This intervention, again, highlighted the value of Imagination Gaming’s approach in relationship building, team work and raising aspirations. One of the students came up with an idea for a new board game based on healthy eating – Nigel pursued this with games manufacturers internationally and provided an opportunity to develop the idea to fruition. Another student was provided with work experience at his Huddersfield shop as a confidence building exercise to break down the barriers of the student’s negative perceptions of his own abilities. Another student helped Nigel to set up and run a lunch-time school club. This became popular with students of all ages, from Yr7 through to 6th Form, engaging them in a mutually supportive positive activity.

Care leavers: Confidence building, communication skills and team work were also the focus of Imagination Gaming interventions during exercises with young adults leaving care. Again the approach proved successful – helping pull together a disparate group of young people with very different personal issues into a coherent work group.

International inclusion: The concept of using Imagination Gaming for inclusion was positively received at a pan-European event I attended with Nigel in 2015. He has now been been invited to present Imagination Gaming at an Inclusion Workshop in Latvia in April 2016.

I have no hesitation in recommending Imagination Gaming to you.

Alan Bolton

AB Consultancy (Goldsborough) Ltd



Sheffield City Council and the Children's University

Referencing: Children's University, Primary School, Secondary School, SEN, Tournaments,

We have found Imagination Gaming to be inventive and flexible.. a reliable and high quality service...

As an Assistant Service Manager for Enrichment and Learning role my involves managing the Children’s University team in Sheffield and supporting enrichment and youth work projects in the city.

Sheffield Children’s University, part of Sheffield City Council, has worked with Imagination Gaming for several years as one of our accredited Learning Destinations. Some of the work they have done for Sheffield Children’s University includes:

  • The development of an educational games box at 3 key stages, including an explanatory booklet and work towards an extensive inter-school games tournament, which was very well received by our participating primary schools. Games were carefully selected to promote numeracy, literacy and social skills.
  • A Games Tournament tailored to the needs of a local special school
  • Regular open access games workshops in local libraries and the Winter Gardens for children and families to enjoy together.
  • A dedicated gaming day pulling together various different gaming retail outlets from across the city to showcase their specialisms and allow families to try new games out.

Nigel and Chris have provided a reliable and high quality service to young people in the city using modern board and card games to both educate and entertain and we have found Imagination Gaming to be inventive and flexible in their approach to supporting young people from a range of different backgrounds and abilities.

Helen Nicholls

Assistant Service Manager, Enrichment and  Learning

Sheffield City Council


Greenfield Primary School

Referencing: Primary School, Games Days, Tournaments, Maths, Literacy, Engagement

They learn well and think hard...all with smiles and 100% engagement!... Recommended without reservation.

I first met Nigel after he blagged his way past the office staff to have a chat about using games as a vehicle to improve thinking skills, self esteem, engagement and attainment.  I expected the usual flannel and then the price tag.  However, I was very surprised when he produced several of the games and explained them and within a couple of minutes we were playing one.  I was immediately 'sold' then and remain so now.  

Imagination Gaming has worked with the school for the last several years providing gaming events at the school for classes, groups, after school parents events...even inter-school tournaments!  He is able to craft the sessions to suit a variety of school needs, for example a maths or English focus, but also does events based around problem solving in different contexts such as a science theme. 

The sessions are always very well received by the children and teachers because the games are quick and easy to engage with, yet present endless challenge and opportunities to explore deep thinking, strategy and tactics in a wide range of areas.  There are gains to be had for all children regardless of ability- this is not just one for G+T kids.  The concentration, attitudes, social learning and collaborative skills are developed not to forget the positive effect on self esteem and learning to win and lose with good grace.

Nigel's expertise is clearly demonstrated in the way he adapts the games and makes ongoing adjustments and suggestions to the children while they play.  They learn well and think hard...all with smiles and 100% engagement!

Recommended without reservation.

Andrew Ralph


Greenfield Primary School, Barnsley


Aston Family of Schools

Referencing: Primary School, Family Workshops, Games Days, Tournaments

 I suggest they give Imagination Gaming a try as the results are amazing!

I have used Imagination Gaming many times in the past few years. Both in the role of extended services and within the school framework.

These workshops were aimed at encouraging young people to play together and improve communication through a range of unusual board games that they may not have met before. They focus on the social and educational benefits of playing new and traditional games.

The comments from our young people both as extended activity days during the holidays or as sessions run within term time were excellent and the communication between students and families have improved throughout the days.

During our most recent project, Nigel supported 4 classes over 2 days breaking the days into literacy and numeracy sessions during the morning sessions and focusing on a extending and bringing writing to life during the afternoon. He really has the knack of hooking the child with enthusiasm and bringing it to life to achieve great things!

All our learners especially the lower level cohort excelled within these activity days and Nigel suggested further games to encourage their learning further.

Many schools don’t see the value in games as a learning tool but I suggest they give Imagination Gaming a try as the results are amazing.

Lisa Rawlin

Family Support & Community Development Officer

Aston Lodge Primary School, Sheffield


Parent’s Thoughts:

The following are a selection of comments from parents at just one of our projects!

“Fantastic morning playing various number games. I have learnt how to make the games fun as well as helping my child with his numeracy at home. Thank you. One of the best lessons I have attended.”

“Thanks for the opportunity to get involved in my child’s school life. Felt worn out by the end, but in a good way!”

“Excellent workshop. Very stimulating, great way of working with numbers and to make you think.”

“Really enjoyed the games, fun & easy to play. Excellent to play with all my family. Will definitely buy the card games for use at home.”

“An excellent morning, full of fun and games, literally. Both myself and my daughter really enjoyed the morning. All of those games were excellent and a fantastic way of making math’s fun. Brilliant morning overall.”

“I didn’t know what to expect when I came and was surprised it was so much fun and it stretched my brain.”

“The games and sessions would help a lot for those that struggle with numbers.”

“I am a parent to 3 children and these activities would be appreciated in the home.”

“I had no idea what the session was about but enjoyed getting creative with the children. It got the children and me thinking outside the box. Great!”

“Really fun even if a bit stressful at first!”

“Yes, this would help with maths, listening and waiting for their turns. Interacting with each other makes learning fun. Very good!”

“I had lots of fun and I found the games more challenging than I expected but really enjoyable.”

“I have learned to think about things before going ahead and that math’s games can be fun.”

“The sessions were great fun and gave me a really valuable chance to interact with my child in her school environment.”

“I thought the session was brilliant. I think all the children really got in to it. I couldn’t believe how eager Lewis was to get his ideas on paper. He is never normally that enthusiastic about writing. He even moaned there wasn’t enough space to write in!!!”

“It was much more interactive and fun than I expected. Already make use of the Story Cubes at home, a great resource for encouraging creativity.”

“Fantastic. Most fun I’ve had in ages. The kids were really involved and so good. Well done.”

“I learned that learning is not just all about being sat at a desk.”

“I felt that it taught the children to engage and listen, also about working together and using tactics. The story writing was good too, using dice helped them to structure the story and helped with ideas for the content.”

“I have found out that if the kids find something really exciting to them, even the children with the least concentration, will focus for something they enjoy.”

“The games are a really great way to teach math’s to the children. I am sure it will be very helpful, encouraging quick thinking and logical thinking. Taking this approach to math’s is a great idea.”

“Very thought provoking. Really enjoyed each game. Lots of strategy needed but fun as well.”

“Great fun and totally different from my expectations.”

“Kept my brain thinking throughout the whole session. A full morning!”

“I enjoyed every minute of it and am pleased I took part in it.”

“Yes it’s been great fun and very rewarding seeing the presentations at the end. Would be very good adapted for adult team working days.”

“Excellent math’s morning well led by Nigel. A great idea to involve parents. All children, and parents, were on task throughout the session, 2 ½ hours. The children were very quickly developing strategies to improve on each of the games. They were discussing their learning with each other and adults and many were able to explain the games to others. Super to hear they verbalize their strategies to each other and to see their learning move forward so quickly. Thank you.”