Many teachers have long been aware of the need to make learning relevant to ‘real life’ and when it comes to making learning ‘real’, enterprise education championed by Enabling Enterprise has a head start.

At Enabling Enterprise we believe meaningful real life links for learning and enterprise skill development and are best rooted in Project-Based Learning (PBL). This approach engages, motivates and inspires students both in the classroom and the world beyond. It is made explicit that what they are learning in the classroom, both knowledge and skills, are transferable. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s guide, ‘Work That Matters’, suggests that one key to successful project based learning is ‘exhibition,’ which is certainly something that Oasis Academy Woodview took on from the start.

The School

Oasis Academy Woodview have worked with Enabling Enterprise for 3 years. All students from Year 1 to 6 will again this year be experiencing a lesson time project, building on a very successful Challenge Day and visits to businesses from different sectors which highlight the importance of employability skills and learning for ‘real life’. Education Associate, Alison Gale, who has worked with the school during the last year, providing support to teachers and students, was delighted to receive an invitation back in July from the Year 3 students who were celebrating the opening of their ‘Kids’ Kitchen’ – an initiative inspired by their Enabling Enterprise Project.

The Project

Back in Spring, Alison had led a ‘launch assembly’ to introduce the children to the idea that by using their enterprise skills they would bring about a positive change for their school community. Year 3 Teacher, Caroline Reid, decided from the outset that the ‘tangible outcome’ was going to be a real change for the school and the celebration would reflect the hard work of her students. “The lesson time project scheme of work and plans were all clear –and I wanted the project to have a real impact on the children’s learning – so I challenged them to bring about real change!” One of the students admitted, “When we started the project I didn’t really believe we would manage to do it for real! I thought Mrs Reid was talking about a fantasy – but it’s actually happened. We decided what needed to be changed and we did it!”

The Challenge

Through the Enabling Enterprise lesson time project ‘School of Design’, the class set about forming their own teams, working together to find out what could be ‘changed’ for the better for the school. The students quickly identified that an old staffroom would be their focus area – and a change was needed. Research was carried out, ideas shared and decisions were made to transform the space into a kitchen area that the children could access – for lessons and clubs – for real!

The Solution

The students, guided by Caroline, set about finding out what they would need to include in their kitchen designs, and sought to solve the problems, including the lack of budget! Utilising their literacy skills the children approached businesses, writing persuasive letters, with a real purpose, to request sponsorship. The response was over whelming: B&Q, Tescos, The Co-op and others offered materials, funding and time to ensure that the children’s plans came to fruition. One of the students reflected, “The thing I’m most proud of is that we managed to persuade so many people from different businesses to help us.”

The Celebration

Advocates of the project based learning approach believe that projects should ‘end with a bang, not a whimper’ and so Caroline and her year 3’s planned that the opening of ‘The Kids Kitchen’ should indeed be a special celebration in school. Guests from the supporting businesses were invited to attend, along with teachers, parents and The Lord Mayor of Birmingham. He congratulated the 7 and 8 year olds on their super enthusiasm and team work throughout the project. A special song, written for the occasion and performed by the class, thanking sponsors for their input, was well received. By the time The Lord Mayor cut the red ribbon to ‘The Kids’ Kitchen’, the pride felt by all of the students was clear to see and hear as they excitedly chatted about what their next enterprise project might be. “I’ve enjoyed the whole project. I love being enterprising with my friends. What will our enterprise project be in Year 4?”

What Next?

As The Lord Mayor left the celebrations at the end of the afternoon and the proud young entrepreneurs finished off the buffet provided by one of their sponsors, Alison took time to speak to some of the parents who had been keen to come along and share in the celebration. “I’ve never known my son be so excited about his school work,” one mother explained, “he really cared about this. He has come home and told us all about his learning and how the businesses had read the letters the class had written and how they were willing to help them to build the kitchen. He’s so pleased it all worked out. I hope he stays this enthusiastic!” Caroline added, “This has been such a positive experience for the class and I’ve enjoyed it as much as they have! They have learned that if they work together, solving problems that crop up and aiming high to do a good job, great things can be achieved. I’m very proud of them and the Kids’ Kitchen… I’ve already got ideas some ideas to share with my new class for their Enabling Enterprise Project!”

Congratulations to Year 3 (now Year 4!) at Oasis Academy Woodview and Mrs Reid for a very successful Lesson Time Project and celebration. Enabling Enterprise cannot wait to see you being enterprising again!

You can find out more about our Primary programmes here.

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