| Head's Blog

This term has seen a new initiative at the top end of the school, as our Year 5 and Year 6 children have entered the tricky world of commerce. As part of our Business Enterprise Week, could they design, manufacture and sell a product and make a profit?

Having been given an initial loan to cover start-up costs, the children sorted themselves into teams, taking into account their different strengths and personalities, and how these would translate into successful entrepreneurial enterprises. The children found that this task in itself, required tremendous tact and diplomacy. Product selection, and the practicalities of manufacture to ensure quality and delivery on time, followed hard on the heels of these problems, together with discussions regarding pricing and profit margins, concepts which many children found exciting, but challenging. The hard work eventually done, goods were temptingly displayed, and the art of persuading customers to part with their hard-earned money, began in earnest! The Year 5s and 6s more than rose to the occasion, and a very healthy profit was achieved by both year groups!

But apart from the huge enjoyment, and the financial success, why encourage primary children to enter the world of ‘Dragons’ Den’? The world of work is changing rapidly, and many of the jobs our children will do are either yet to be created, or are in their early infancy. In addition, children will almost certainly have several different jobs during their working life. In order to best prepare our children for this, our curriculum must offer, alongside the acquisition of knowledge, opportunities to stimulate curiosity and develop innovation and creativity; learning must also be active and collaborative.

During the enterprise initiative, the children practised and developed a wide range of skills. Maths was applied when working out unit costs and profit margins, in addition to practical money-handling skills at point of sale. English, in the form of speaking and listening skills, planning and recording, came to the fore when getting across points of view, and forming and negotiating tactics. Creativity was uppermost in choosing and designing products, and how they could best be packaged and marketed. At each stage, the children were also challenged to think outside the box and be collaborative, to take the initiative, assess risk and find solutions to problems, all essential life skills for the future.

The concluding element for the children has been to evaluate their successes and to identify where a different approach or decision could have been taken, together with its impact. The final task of all now remains; how to spend the income. However, as one Year 6 entrepreneur commented, this could only possibly be considered once the initial loan had been duly repaid.

Thank you to our Year 5 and 6 parents for their support of this work, and to the staff and children for their huge enthusiasm. Finally, look out Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones – a whole new team of dragons is waiting in the wings at Sherborne House!

Heather Hopson-Hill, Head Teacher