Durrington High School is always eager to provide new and exciting opportunities for students of all ages. Giving students a chance to develop their understanding of the world of work, and how a business is run in ‘real life’, is something about which the school feels passionately. Recently, the school was fortunate enough to be contacted by a local businessman, John Harris, who wanted to give young people the opportunity to design or create a business idea.
John Harris commented “I would like young people to have the same opportunities in life that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy – opportunities created by themselves for themselves; to use their imagination to pursue their own paths rather than necessarily following the well-trodden ones of others and to build their own future, built on their own initiative, resolve and fortitude.” Sue Marooney, Headteacher, said that John very generously supported the competition with a beautifully engraved trophy which will be awarded annually to the winning team along with £500 seed capital with which to support the design and implementation of the winning idea. The initiative was set up and run with Year 8 students to develop their understanding of how to run a business effectively and what an entrepreneur would need to think about when deciding this. It gave students an insight into how difficult it can be to come up with a unique selling point and a product or service which potential customers would be interested in buying.
Miss Wheal, Director of Business, ICT and Computing explained that the students were given time to decide on an idea that they would like to set up and to design a presentation explaining their idea. This could have been a business idea creating a new product or adapting something that already existed. Teams across the year group entered the competition and the entries were very impressive in terms of quality and variety.
Ms Marooney and Miss Wheal met to assess the entries and shortlisted the groups to go through to the final. The finalists then had to come up with a pitch to ‘sell’ their idea to the judging panel. During a 30 minute interview with the judges, students explained their idea and explained why they felt it was an important initiative, as well as how they felt it could make a profit. Students had to consider who their target audience would be and how they would promote their idea.
The winning group created a business plan to create an ‘app’ for students in school to link with a system that is already in place so that students are able to access information easily (such as their homework tasks, map of the school and the rewards system) on mobile devices. The 3 finalists were Drew Bevan, Ellie Lossing-Smith and Grace Noakes who were delighted to be crowned the winners of this competition and to receive the funding from Mr Harris to set the initiative up.
The three students have been involved in meetings with a software developer to set the app up ready to launch in September and they were presented with their certificates and trophy at the Key stage 3 presentation evening on Monday. Further details regarding the launch of the app will be available in September.
Ms Marooney added “We greatly appreciate John giving our students this fabulous opportunity. At Durrington we value highly these enriching experiences outside of the usual curriculum, of which this is a great example. We look forward to seeing the ‘app’ in operation. We were really impressed by the ideas put forward and the way in which the students presented them in such a very professional manner.“