The School: Southern Road Primary School

Southern Road Primary in Newham have been developing eight core enterprise skills for the past 4 years with Enabling Enterprise. Not only have they done so via several Challenge Days as a whole school, but also through numerous employer visits to top businesses across London to put those skills to the test in the world of work. Today, a combination of Year 4 and 5 students who had demonstrated excellence in enterprise work throughout the year were invited to visit an inspiring venue in the City of London.

The Business: McGuire Woods, London

McGuire Woods is an international law firm who have been established for over 175 years. They work in 19 offices across the world and have considerable experience in international and, domestic corporate law. The volunteers today worked in a range of roles throughout the firm and were able to support the students in understanding how many different people collaborate to ensure law is practiced fairly and to a high standard.

The Challenge: Ace Advocates

Students began the day researching law and how McGuire Woods operates. This included an interview with staff members, special talks from partners in the firm and a barrister who visited in complete dress from robe to wig!

Then, they were set the challenge of taking on the roles of solicitors advocating on behalf of their client in each of the following disputes. The first case involved the company ‘Top Trains’ who want to construct a railway line between London and Manchester, but which would destroy much of the habitat where the ‘Wigglestock Birdwatchers’ protect some rare birds. In the second case a local Shopkeepers’ Association opposed a giant chain ‘Safe Supermarkets’, who were planning to build a nearby superstore. It was going to be an interesting negotiation!

The Results:

After gathering evidence from each case file, the aspiring lawyers took turns to present their strongest arguments and compromises. They then entered the negotiation to advocate on behalf of their clients. With a clear focus on Listening Carefully and Sharing Ideas throughout the day, the teams excelled at using these communication skills to plan and deliver some very persuasive presentations to the judges. Two of the teams were Aiming High when they negotiated effectively to reach a compromise after some fast-paced discussions. For the teams who did not reach a final compromise, it was impressive to see their Staying Positive skills in action throughout the process. A fantastic achievement by all teams!

What they said:

  • “So many aspects of today were completely inspiring. The stories the staff and volunteers brought were so interesting and really accessible for the kids.” – Teacher, Southern Road
  • “I have been impressed by the amount they have understood and how they have linked the skills in today’s challenge to some of the things they are learning in school.” – Volunteer, McGuire Woods
  • “The tour was really enjoyable and I wanted to wear Vivian’s wig! Maybe I will have my own office one day.” – Student, Southern Road

Thanks to McGuire Woods for such a great trip day, and to Years 4 and 5 from Southern Road Primary for coming along.

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 enablingenterprise.org

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