Paul Davenport, Key Stage 5 leader at Abbot’s Lea School in Woolton, has been named in the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) top 100 influential people.
The BIMA 100 celebrates the most influential, pioneering and change-making people in the UK’s digital industry.
Selected by an independent panel of industry experts, Paul was named in the Champions for Change category following a year in which his school won the Vodafone challenge as part of BIMA’s Digital Day for 2018.
The day involved digital professionals heading back to school to spend a day inspiring students, giving them insight into the depth and breadth of careers available in digital industry, offering practical advice on getting into that line of work; and providing hands-on experience tackling exciting new challenges.
Abbot’s Lea students designed an app with an aim to make shopping fun by creating a game using augmented reality based around visiting a high street. The app included features to help people with autism experience sounds, lights and crowds – all of which can at times lead to a sensory overload – with a view of helping a person with autism prepare for a real trip into town.
Abbot’s Lea is the first special school in the country, and the first school from Liverpool to win the digital day challenge. Two other entries from the school also made it through to the finals of the competition.
Speaking about his nomination to the BIMA 100 and his special mention as a Champions for Change, Paul said: “It is incredibly humbling to be nominated to the BIMA 100 alongside such illustrious company. I was even more amazed to then be given a special mention by BIMA and I’m still trying to come to terms with it! It is testament to all the hard work from our students and staff and I’m accepting this accolade in their name. ”
“The BIMA 100 is about celebrating the people who are the leading the industry right now,” explained BIMA co-president Nat Gross. “It’s about the people we look up to, the visionary leaders and CEOs that can make our industry a better place. The people with the imagination, technical skill and creativity to take us forward; and the new talent that can keep our sector strong.
“When you look at the people in this year’s 100 – people like Paul – I think we’ve really outdone ourselves.”
Headteacher of Abbot’s Lea School, Ania Hildrey, said: “I am extremely proud that Paul has been honoured with this prestigious recognition. His commitment to improving awareness and career options for our students in digital media supports our overall vision of creating more employment opportunities for young people with autism and other associated learning needs. I am delighted for him and other staff and mega-proud of the young techies in our school which this project has inspired!”