Stella Neal (Head of Business and Enterprise) – Desborough College

We first spoke to TNEC in October 2016 when they told me that a local company was interested in sponsoring a school to run a whole year group enterprise challenge. I was impressed that they had already secured funding and we signed up within the hour; we can’t afford to turn down offers like that.

Having a task set by Alton Towers gave the boys a meaningful work-related learning experience, which is vital. On the day, which ran with the whole of Year 8 (140 students) TNEC brought out the best in the students through first class facilitation from programme leaders who clearly enjoyed working with children. The boys who won gained in confidence and from preparing for Telford, through to talking about what we would do differently next time, there was a continued thread of realism.

The key to the success of the National Enterprise Challenge is that, when I briefed the organisers, I told them that I didn’t want 6 winners and 130 losers on the challenge day. Every child had to come out with something. And they did. They had a fair chance to compete; reluctant students were skilfully engaged; they enjoyed the variety of activities and they all achieved something and went away thinking about what they could have done to win.

The uptake of Business GCSE rose by around 20% this year such that now, almost 70% of Year 9 are studying business. We have more A level students than ever for both Business and Economics, and the local business that TNEC introduced us to has proven to be a real champion for our school, even to the point of hosting a factory visit for our Year 10’s and 11’s to complement the curriculum.