The School: St Mary’s and St John’s

St Mary’s and St John’s (SMSJ) in Hendon are an all-through school who are now working with Enabling Enterprise across Years 3 to 9. Previously, students have successfully put their enterprise skills to the test by participating in the Crime Scene and Greetings Card Double-Challenge Day. On this occasion, students from Year 7 were ready to develop these skills – particularly Presenting and Working in a Team – even further in the ministerial offices at Westminster.

The Business: Department for Work and Pensions, London

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. As the UK’s biggest public service department, it administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability and ill health benefits to over 22 million claimants and customers.

The Challenge: Spread the Word

The children enjoyed a fantastic tour of the Department, where they got to visit Ministers’ offices, speak to the departmental staff and find out more about the importance of press officers in the central Government. They were also introduced to the ministers’ red briefcases and learnt that the importance of the documents it often contained meant that the cases have been lined with lead, to avoid examination from x-ray machines!

Inspired by the volunteers and speakers from around the DWP, the teams set to their task. Working in a Team, they thought hard about what issues the DWP tackle and were great at Being Creative to design a mascot for the Department. By Presenting their ideas, they looked at each other’s designs and demonstrated excellent Listening and Understanding skills before deciding on their team’s mascot. A lot of creative effort went into the mascots’ appearance, name and message and teams were Aiming High to get their message across in the most effective and engaging way. The students then ended the day by presenting their ideas to a judging panel in a series of fantastic news reports, which included special guests and some tremendous acting skills!

The Results:

The five judges from the Department for Work and Pensions were suitably impressed with the students’ creative ideas, teamwork and confidence in presenting their ideas. The teams had thought carefully about how the DWP help to support members of our community in different ways and this came through in their knowledgeable news reports and inventive mascot messages.

What they said:

  • “I loved the tour and I loved the volunteers! This has been a real confidence-building exercise which has developed their skills through interactive activities. It has also opened the children’s eyes to a different work environment.” – Teacher, St Mary’s and St John’s
  • “I really enjoyed it… it was very well-organised and the children certainly picked up on the enthusiasm in the room for the importance of developing these skills. They were given clear roles and responsibilities and rose to the challenge every time.” – Volunteer, DWP
  • “It has been an influential and inspiring day. The challenge made enterprise really enjoyable and I have been inspired to work in a job where I can help people in society.” – Student, St Mary’s and St John’s

Thanks to the Department for Work and Pensions for such a great trip, and to the students from St Mary’s and St John’s for coming along and making the day so enjoyable.

Enabling Enterprise are working in partnership with schools and businesses to support students to build enterprise skills and aspirations. Find out more by contacting us or visiting

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