New centre for learning opens at Eton College 

An innovative centre which aims to improve learning outcomes for young people through the use of research, the latest technology and best teaching practice, is opened at Eton College. 

New technological innovations coupled with advances in neuroscience are set to transform the world of education and learning. The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning aims to act as a nerve centre to investigate these new developments and introduce the most valuable into the classroom.  

Central to The Tony Little Centre is collaboration, with plans to work with others to exchange knowledge and research outcomes. These will include our local partnership schools and others around the UK and overseas. The facility will also allow Eton to partner with universities, providing opportunities for researchers to work within the school and allowing boys to see first-hand how leading research is conducted.  It is a part of Eton’s commitment to excellence that this specially designed centre will allow teachers to build upon their skills still further, through the use of observation rooms and interactive learning spaces. 

“This is an incredibly exciting time for education. The way we teach and our pupils learn could look very different in just a few years’ time and we need to make sure that UK education takes a leading role in these developments,” said centre Director, Jonnie Noakes. “Great strides forward are being made in neuroscience, and new apps and technologies are being created all the time. The Tony Little Centre will play an important role in analysing the latest information and providing the transition between theory and the classroom for the best innovations, for the benefit of pupils at Eton and world-wide.”  

The new amenity is the vision of the current Head Master, Tony Little, after whom it is named. While its core purpose is to improve learning skills for young people aged 11-21, it should also provide valuable insights into lifelong learning. 

It was officially opened by Sir David Bell, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading. The Tony Little Centre is already working with the university on a number of proposed research projects. 

“The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning will draw upon the latest thinking in neuroscience and psychology, as well as the best educational practice nationally and internationally,” said Sir David. “Through the observation rooms and interactive labs, teachers will understand more about how young people learn. In doing so, they will learn from their peers, test out ideas, and generate new knowledge.  This will help to bridge the gap that often exists between classroom practice and academic research.” 

Bill Lucas, Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester said: “Eton's commitment to enquiry and research is exemplary. The Tony Little Centre will enable Eton teachers and students to innovate and explore new ways of teaching and learning and, at the same time, forge new relationships with universities, and with schools across the world which are interested in using and creating research.”

A set of Edwardian school buildings was transformed by Lewandowski Architects Ltd and Beard Construction to create the modern, vibrant new centre. The cost of converting the site has been met by generous donations from Old Etonians and parents. 

May 2015