A quiet reading area, a free play space and a giant canvas for an artistic creation… these are just some of the ideas given by students at Topcliffe Primary School in Birmingham for how their school could make use of a full scale canal boat. The Year 6 class was joined by the Enabling Enterprise Team on the 12th of September for the first session of ‘Operation Canal Boat’ – an ambitious project to find, purchase, transport and install a real canal boat in the playground, with students driving every part of the project.

Working with Topcliffe staff, we designed a set of sessions helping students to boost their enterprise skills as they embark on this exciting journey. Over the autumn term, Topcliffe students will develop and scrutinise ideas for how the boat should be used. They will create a coherent project plan and refine their presentation skills before visiting a major business in London to put their skills to the test in front of experienced judges.

Following a snappy game of Zip Zap Boing and a quiz about enterprise skills and behaviours, the first challenge for students was to work in teams to create a prototype canal boat from a limited choice of resources. Having led the first session with Topcliffe students, our director Tom said: “It’s been a great pleasure to visit a school with so many innovative approaches to learning and fresh ideas”. All were agreed – Year 6 were great and we look forward to seeing them in London!

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