As a school, we decided that our approach to Stepping Into Business would be to adapt the project as one of our contexts for learning. Our aim was to teach all our our curriculum skills through the project in order to enrich the learning experiences for our pupils.

Stepping Into Business Snapshots

We initially decided to run the project during Spring term 2, envisioning that the project would take approximately 6 weeks.

However (!) we soon realised that in order to devote the time we needed to get the outcomes we wanted, and the enriched learning experience the children needed, we had to extend the project. Due to the time impact of National testing, swimming lessons and end of key stage we ended up concluding the project at the end of June!

Although the process has been long, we are pleased that we gave as much curriculum time as we did towards the project, and the outcomes have been beyond our expectations.

Establishing the business teams

We began the project by establishing four mixed ability businesses within each class.

Each of the children created a front cover for their Stepping Into Business portfolios using Pic Collage to create, and Documents to save via cloud technology.

Once each team was established they began to develop their understanding of business.

Planning a VIP visit to our school.
Hot seating business 'icons'

Each team then had to choose an initial business name and create a team chant.

As part of their teamwork, each team had to develop a team contract. This was vitally important for each of the teams throughout the project as they referred back to their agreed contract in times of dispute. We found this to be a useful task in encouraging the children's personal and social skills.

We were really excited to secure the involvement of our wonderful 'Dragons'. We wanted a diverse mix of vocations, characters and business experience in order to encourage our children to aspire towards potential career choices.

During our initial #TedTalk meeting with the 'Dragons' we invited:

  • Mark Watson (Principal Associate at Eversheds Sutherland law firm)
  • Jade Denton (Senior Buyer at Hello Starling ad agency)
  • Andrew Morgan (school estates manager with wide experience of working as electrician/ plumber etc.)
Getting to know some of our dragons and learning from their experiences.
Our children even received insight on what it's like to be a working mum from Jade- a positive role model for our girls in particular!

The 'Dragons' were far more nervous than the children!

Although we received the start up money from Stepping Into Business, we decided that with eight businesses we need further capital to ensure that each business had a reasonable amount of seed money. As a result the children decided to write letters to businesses (big and small) to ask for investment or items that could be raffled.

Whilst the investment letters were largely unsuccessful, it gave the children the opportunity to understand the purpose of investment and apply their persuasive letter writing skills.

Moving on to innovation- in order to understand what innovation meant, we set the business groups the challenge of using Popplet to generate as many innovated product ideas as they could.

Of the 15 or so innovated ideas that the groups generated, they selected 6 that they believed could become a reality.

The six ideas then became 3, which the children then brought into their market research.

We began our marketing unit by inviting another 'Dragon' to share their experiences with us: Dr Amy Yau from Cardiff University Business school. Dr Yau specialises in marketing, as well as being the owner of a small business.

Dr Yau emphasised the importance of good market research to inform the businesses of what customers actually want.

The children used the Survey Monkey app to create a variety of questions in order to generate a range of data for their products.

They then needed to consider their data and use it to inform their product ideas.

Analyzing the market research data in detail.

Following our market research each group moved onto developing their branding by creating a logo/slogan for their business.

Each group then had to create a short advert using iMovie to begin marketing their products to the rest of the school. These adverts would then be developed later on in the project...

Our final 'Dragon' Dr Carolyn Strong from Cardiff University also visited us to speak about marketing and share examples of how her University students used Survey Monkey to compile market research.

Dr Strong also invited us for a tour of Cardiff Business school. We were able to visit a real lecture theatre, look around the building and have a Q & A session with Professor Kitchner, the Dean of the school!

Having a nosy of the Business school ICT suite.
Enjoying sitting in the main lecture theatre!
Q & A with Prof Kitchener
He stayed for an hour, even though it was only supposed to be 5 minutes!
Enjoying a complimentary lunch!
Dr Strong 'lecturing' on product packaging.

Our trip to Cardiff Business school was important for a number of reasons. Firstly it strengthened our links to the university and helped us plan for possibilities in the future. Secondly it served as a wonderful aspiration tool for our pupils, many of whom have no understanding of university or role models within their family who have accessed higher education. All the children were engaged, excited and motivated to think about their futures.

Having decided upon their selected product, the children then needed to calculate their financial details in preparation for #PitchDay.

Applying maths skills to calculate projected profit.
Using the 'Buns r us' challenge to help break down the cost of items and work out costings, unit profit, total profit and break even amounts.

Finally the day we had all been waiting for! #PitchDay was a chance for each of the businesses to share their product ideas with the 'Dragons' and receive constructive feedback to move their plans forward.

Each business had to prepare themselves by creating a stall/board with all their relevant product information.

They each had to make a prototype product, including packaging, to show to the 'Dragons'.

Team TRT
Super Unique
Team Smileys
Funky Photography #picturethemoment
Bead Tastic 'Explode With Jewellery'
Cakey Bakey 'Sweet Treats Make Happy People'
Emoji Frenzy 'Feels Great!'

Exhaustive scripts and powerpoint presentations were created to give each member of the business a structured part to play.

#PitchDay was incredible. The children overcame their nerves to deliver fantastic pitches to the 'Dragons'. They dressed smartly, used excellent body language and were grilled by the 'Dragons' on their product viability. The children knew their products well enough to answer knowledgeably and confidently.

The feedback that the 'Dragons' gave was very encouraging, praising the pupils for their ideas whilst also offering ideas for ways forward.

"The qualities of these pitches were equal to, or better than, the pitches from my University students." Dr Yau

Following #PitchDay the children moved forward with their product ideas, taking on board any constructive criticism they had received. Each group created a project plan so that they could organise tasks that needed to be completed.

Each group ensured that roles were shared out according to the skills and comfort levels of each individual.

Each of the businesses were given a week to produce their products, marketing material and stalls for #MarketDay.

We devised a success criteria for the businesses to follow. They had to design and create a stall/display, produce and package their products, prepare order forms for customized products and design and produce marketing materials.

All the children worked well together, despite the heatwave we were encountering at the time! All the groups had to problem solve a variety of issues from melting icing to running out of materials mid-production #thinkoutsidethebox

The big day arrived and everyone was incredibly excited, and more than a little apprehensive. We held #MarketDay in our New hall/courtyard in order to encourage as much business as possible from both the school, and the wider community (PCSO's, Cardiff University, governors etc.) whom we invited.

The week before #MarketDay we embarked on a multimedia marketing campaign to promote the event. An explanatory letter, written by our pupil governor, was sent home to all families in the school.

We used twitter to build up 'viral' marketing.

Using a GIF to capture attention.
Leaving digital clues around the school.
Teasing products.
Digital invitations.

#MarketDay was one of the hottest days of the year but all the children delivered their products, stalls and marketing. They engaged brilliantly with customers and the hall was full to the brim with eager punters!

By the end of Market Day, each business had made a good profit, and in total the groups earnt £1070.56p!

To conclude our Stepping Into business project all of the children wrote a thoughtful evaluation considering what they had learnt from the project, the skills they had acquired and the lessons they would look to apply in the future.

Using Adobe Spark Video to create interactive evaluations.
Dr Mr Andrews, I have to tell you have TOTALLY impressed I was today. Every one of the teams had a great offering and you must be very, very proud of your students.
I am sorry I cannot attend the awards on Friday. If I were there I would say well done to all and WOW to several of your amazing students.
My all round winning group would be the t-shirts. Great team work, great logo and presentation stand. Marzooq in particular was an amazing young man, leading the team. My second team would be the bracelets, lead by a young lady who was very professional, when I left she shook my hand and said thank you for coming.
My third would the the most persuasive team: the photo group. They made me have my photo taken about five minutes before I left ... I had refused for an hour as I really truly look bad in all photos !
Amy and I both loved our sock puppets too. We have them on our desks to show to students
I cannot stop praising your wonderful children. From the brother who looked for his sister's lost bag at the University, to Kai who has such a huge respect for his teacher ( the one who did not go to Llangrannog !).
Thank you of allowing me to get involved in your wonderful school. Kind Regards, Dr Carolyn Strong, Cardiff Business School.

Using Stepping Into Business to teach curriculum skills

From the outset our intention was to treat Stepping Into Business as a Context For Learning and teach/ apply NC/PoS/LNF/DCF skills throughout.

This included

Board room themed Macbeth innovations
Website design to market products
  • adverts combining music/ICT
  • data handling combining maths/ICT
  • Persuasive writing
  • CV writing
  • art and design combining traditional art skills with digital
  • and much more!

Moving forward: we will be seeking to run Stepping Into Business as a context for learning next year in years 5 and 6 again, learning from some of our lessons from this year. We are looking forward to undertaking the context during the Spring term, cascading relevant aspects of the project throughout the rest of the school and developing a closer partnership with Cardiff University, including using undergraduate students as mentors.

An excellent and worthwhile project that we are looking forward to developing next year!

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