Pupils don’t need to be an A* student to be enterprising.
In this blog, we look at how enterprise can engage pupils regardless of academic ability, attitudes and behaviours and provide opportunities to develop key employability skills.
Last week, I designed our annual Dragon’s Den competition and this year over 70, Year 10 pupils entered. And whilst this increased number is really encouraging, the most rewarding aspect for me as an educator is to witness the types of pupils who have stepped up for the challenge.
Standing in front of the ‘Dragons’ were pupils of all abilities, some with challenging behaviours and some with SEN. This underpins my reason for encouraging enterprise in schools as the evidence in front of me demonstrated young people don’t need to be an A* student to be enterprising.
Money is a great motivator and an Enterprise challenge which provides young people with an opportunity to make money for themselves.
It can provide the engagement and motivation some young people struggle with when working their way through the traditional school curriculum.
My pupils were surprised when I announced any profit they made would be money in their own pocket. “We actually get to keep the money Miss?” was the question asked by the majority of pupils, and boy did it motivate them!
Suddenly the following skills were being demonstrated by these 14-year-old pupils: creativity, organisation, teamwork, financial awareness, time-keeping, planning, presentation skills and most important for me, motivation.
So this is why on Tuesday we headed into Windsor Town Centre to set up our stalls, and the pupils sold their range of products and services by pitching. All went well and by the time they had all finished their day, they had money in their pockets and an experience they will always remember!
Some struggled along the way as learning to accept rejection from passers-by who don’t want to buy their products is not easy. At times, their heads dropped, but this is a life lesson in itself.
Experience has shown me that with encouragement and some tips on selling enables almost anyone to preserve and continue, therefore developing another key skill of resilience.
It requires effort to provide enterprise opportunities in school, but the rewards are definitely worth the effort.
The first stage is to introduce the concept of enterprise and Barclays Life Skills provide some excellent resources with detailed lesson plans and activities.
The next stage is to engage with local businesses and I have found they are very receptive when approached to support a Dragon’s Den challenge, providing a ‘Dragon’ and the cash to invest in the business ideas.
It is a ‘win, win’ situation as positive PR provided by sponsoring an enterprise initiative is generated through sharing the story through the school newsletter which reaches 1,000s of parents and the local newspaper are often receptive to receiving a press release about enterprise activities in schools.
If you would like further information or ideas please do not hesitate to get in touch through the Opogo platform.
About our Community Expert
Head of Careers at The Windsor Boys' School
Combining her business experience with an ability to engage KS4&5 pupils in the classroom has enabled Jo to specialise in delivering learning experiences linked to the ‘real world’.
An advocate of apprenticeships as an alternative to the traditional university route, Jo states her greatest job satisfaction has come from helping pupils into apprenticeship roles and seeing them thrive.