From the moment the bell rang at the start of the school day, for Year 6 at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Birmingham it was go, go, go. Focussing on the Enabling Enterprise skills, aiming high and staying positive the challenge was revealed – to create their own political party from scratch and take part in a hustings. This would culminate in an election to find out who would be the winning political party from Our Lady’s.

Quickly the teams set about making decisions regarding their political party team names, and tested themselves to see how they would do in ‘The Politics Quiz’. Points were added to the score board and the competition began.

Time for a Debate

Using footage from the House of Commons, the class came up with their own set of rules for debating (rules that perhaps should have been shared with some of our MPs after watching some videos of real debates in parliament). Then, they conducted themselves most maturely to debate ‘Should Homework be Banned?’. A vote was cast and with a sigh of relief from their class teacher (who had to report the result to the Head!) as it appeared that the majority were in favour of it continuing, at least for a while.

‘I’m so proud of myself for standing up to speak in the debate. I had lots of ideas and listened really carefully.’

Making a Manifesto

By now, the teams were amassing points, working well together, using their imaginations and sharing great ideas in order to tackle the important decisions that had to be made. What would they include on their party manifesto? How would they spend their budget? How would they make a decision?

‘This is tricky, we need to agree where we spend the money. Hands up for £5 billion going to Schools or should it be Hospitals? Or maybe the Environment – we need to think about this again team!’

‘Every idea is a good one – let’s vote.’

Getting Creative

After a short break it was time to make decisions on party colours, logos and memorable slogans. The London Lions opted for ‘a strong, brave and bold’ lion on their promotional materials. The Crown Jewels selected ‘regal gold and purples’ for their campaign materials, while team ‘Big Ben’ used the iconic image and the emotive slogan ‘Time is running out so make your vote count!’

The children negotiated roles and responsibilities to ensure that all tasks were completed by a deadline and the staff noted how great it was to see their young entrepreneurs working so well in these different groups.

‘When I’ve finished this – I’ll come and help you with that. We can get it all done together.’

‘Your mascot is great – I like that idea. Well done.’

Presenting the Pledges

With manifestos set and campaign materials ready, the teams needed to prepare their speeches ready for the Hustings. Tp persuade the audience and panel of judges the teams would have to employ some excellent literacy skills.

‘Remember to use persuasive language and speak clearly- like David Cameron did’.

For some of the pupils, getting ready for the Hustings brought on feelings of nervousness, but when reassured that everyone can get nervous before speaking to an audience and sharing their top tips to over-come this – each political party team said they were ready to do it!

‘Stand up straight and look at the audience – smile. You’ll feel better.’

‘Speak clearly – be brave to be heard and sound excited.’

Happy Hustings

The teams had not only their classmates to persuade to vote for them but also a handful of Governors, their Head Teacher and Sarah Marlow, Senior Associate from Enabling Enterprise as invited guests and judges. With the final bell of the day getting ever closer, each political party presented clearly, confidently and with passion The judges were left with a big decision – who to vote for?

The Election Result

As the votes were counted and points were awarded from the judges, excitement was building as the class reflected on their day.

‘This has been brilliant. It was so much fun. I’m really proud of myself and my team for coming up with all these ideas and presenting to the class and our visitors.’

‘I was so scared about the Hustings – but my team helped each other. I think we did a great job. I’m so happy. Would you like a flag?’

After an inspirational speech from Head teacher Mary Johnson who congratulated the children on their tremendous efforts and enthusiasm for their enterprise challenge, the winner of Our Lady’s A Day in Politics Challenge Day was announced…The London Lions had snatched it. Feeling proud, class teacher Sarah Cahill announced that after such a tremendous day the class could have a week off (it was half term after all) and the smiles couldn’t have been any bigger.

The class will shortly be visiting the Houses of Parliament and without a doubt, they will be able to utilise their learning from their Enabling Enterprise experience there. In fact, a career in politics might even be on the cards for some of the class! Congratulations to all of the politicians from every team, you all did a super job and thank you for the warm welcome from all at Our Lady’s. Politics has never been so interesting!

If you’d like to find out more about how to embed enterprise in your school, or the different challenge days on offer, contact us.

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