Business competitions

As a new HOD, one of the things I’d like to do is get pupils in the department more involved in national competitions. I became aware of the BASE competition last year, and thought it would be a good way to raise the profile of the department within the school. I’ve finally got offical permission to take a team, and have registered for a local heat. I know nothing about it, so will be quite happy if we manage not to make utter fools of ourselves; thoughts of winning can come in future years when we know the lie of the land!

Two other competitions I’ve been investigating are Tycoon in Schools and Coca-Cola’s Real Business Challenge, both of which focus on start-ups and therefore have some good resources to solve the ‘money’ problem. From the very start of both GCSE and A-level courses, I want to make the distinction between revenue/costs/profit/capital absolutely clear in pupils’ minds, so that they can write accurately from the outset. One of the sides of the A-level SoW starts with the topic of profit, so hopefully an amalgamation of these two resources will give a clear understanding of the differences between different sorts of ‘money’.

The GCSE course starts with enterprise, and it makes logical sense to build profit/capital into this. In previous years I’ve spent a week getting the pupils to write business plans for their own business; last year I used the Real Business Challenge as a structure for this. However, I think Tycoon In Schools might be better for a class in the first two weeks of the course: the resources are a bit more structured and might work better for the teacher who will be taking our Y10 classes next year.

Moving from “what will work for me?” to “what will work for everyone in the department?” is quite odd but I guess it’s just part of the step between class teachers and HOD. One of the things I really value about the department is that we all teach in different ways, which gives lots of variety for pupils. However, it does make it harder to have shared resources. I certainly don’t want to go down the route of having very prescriptive teaching materials, so I hope this ‘money project’ won’t be an intrusion too far into my colleagues’ planning.

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