Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weekly Theme 27: School Partnerships

Hi Everyone!

In the past few days, we have been busy matching schools that applied for a School Partnership. This week’s blog will tell you more about the School Partnership programme and why it’s such an awesome opportunity for students AND teachers!

So what is a School Partnership?

As most partnerships should be, a School Partnership is all about communicating, learning from each other and having fun!Partnerships are built on trustTo understand how a School Enterprise Challenge partnership works, we thought it would be a great idea to interview a teacher that had already been part of one. So we spoke to Morag Oldham, a teacher at Carlogie Primary School in Scotland, about her school’s partnership with The Birches pre-primary school in South Africa last year…

Why did you decide to apply? What made you want a partner school?

It was an opportunity to let the children interact with other children from overseas and to make them aware of another culture.

How did the partnership start? What activities did you do?

To start with we swapped business plans and eventually we actually traded the products from our business. The South African school were selling bracelets, so they sent us £250 worth of bracelets that fitted in well with the café enterprise we were running. This then led to the children looking at international trade and other things – it was really involving for the kids.

Carlogie partnershipAbove: Students at Carlogie Primary School with a flag and bracelets from their partner school; The Birches Pre-Primary School in South Africa.

How did you communicate? Did you manage to keep in regular contact?

We exchanged contact about every 2 or 3 weeks by email.

How did the partnership benefit the students?

It made everything more real. They were not only able to see each other’s business plans but also the cultural differences between our schools and countries. They were able to see how each school was benefiting in different ways. For example; the funds from The Birches Pre-Primary School’s business was helping to pay for their teachers.

And what did you feel you got out of it? What was your favourite aspect?

All in all, it was a great opportunity for two different schools in two different countries to communicate and learn about each other. For me, as a teacher, it was great to see how a school the other side of the world in another culture works. Speaking with the other teachers was a real eye-opener and a great experience.

We’d like to say a big thank you to Morag for her time. This year we have the most diverse range of countries participating in the School Enterprise Challenge, so we’re really excited to hear about how our School Partnerships develop. If you have any comments or thoughts to add about a partnership you have been a part of in previous years, please leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

School Enterprise Challenge Blogger,

Hamish

Weekly Theme 26: Mentoring

mentor-cartoon

With the recent launch of our School Enterprise Challenge Mentoring Programme, we’ve been thinking a lot about mentoring and how to get the best out of a mentoring experience. So we decided to do make it the focus of this week’s blog!

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is guiding, advising and encouraging people so that they can develop their skills and improve their performance. Mentors help you to make decisions, but they never make decisions for you!

What are the benefits?

Mentoring is a really good way of helping you to progress and find the right direction in what you are doing. A mentor can also be there to encourage you with solving problems and they can help you to become more confident.Lending a handHere are two different examples of mentoring:

Example 1

A young teacher starts a job in a big school and a teacher who has been there for a long time is their mentor. This does not mean that they will stay with the new teacher every day, but the mentor might check on how the new teacher is progressing once every week or once every month by asking them if they are having any problems and if they have any questions.

Example 2

A football player moves from Brazil to England to play for a football club, but he does not speak English and he has never been outside of Brazil. There is already another Brazilian player in the team, so this player will be the new player’s mentor for the first few weeks to help them to adapt to the English lifestyle and to learn the language. This means that as time goes on, the new Brazilian player will become more confident and settled in the new environment.

How to get the most out of your School Enterprise Challenge mentors

Identify what you need support with

Your mentor will email you once a month, so if you are having problems with something it is important that you recognise what that is and inform your mentor.

Set yourself goalsset and reach goal concept

This will help you to be more organised and productive. Make sure your goals are SMART:

Specific – target a specific area for improvement

Measurable – make sure you can measure your progressmistakes in setting goals

Assignable – specify who will do it

Realistic – can you do it? Your goal shouldn’t be impossible!

Time bound – set time to complete them. Are they long-term or short-term?

 Ask questions

Your mentor is there to guide you, so you should ask them questions. But make sure that your questions are specific and relevant. The more specific your question is, the more helpful your answer is likely to be.

listen

Listen!

The best way to develop your skills is to listen to all the guidance that you are given. You will make the final decisions, but all of these decisions will be easier if you listen to advice!

The mentoring programme for the School Enterprise Challenge 2013 is now open for applications and the deadline is Monday 28th October. So if you think mentoring is as important and valuable as we do, make sure you fill out an application form! It’s really easy, just click here and follow the instructions to apply.

Finally, if you can think of an example of when you have had a good mentor, write a comment below – we would love to hear about it!

School Enterprise Challenge blogger,

Hamish

Weekly Theme 25: Keeping a record of your finances

Balancing coinsNow that you have finished planning your business, the next stage is launching and running it! When running a business it is very important to keep a record of the cash flow – this is all of the money moving around the business. This will help to make sure that you are always in control of your money.

But first of all we must ask ourselves the question – why is this important?

1) To make sure your business is profitable

For a business to be successful it must be profitablethis means more money is coming in than going out. This is why every business must record everything that it is spending (the costs) and everything that it is selling (the income).Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 11.42.00The money going in to a business is called revenue. If the business is not profitable, the revenue must be increased or the costs must be reduced. If both of those things can be done – that’s even better!

2) To identify problems

When starting to run a business it is important to regularly compare the cash flow to the financial plan that you made. Sometimes the profit being generated is lower than it should be, or the business might even be losing money. If you have a record of your cash flow it helps you to understand why this is happening. After you understand what the problem is, you can then decide how to solve it.

If you do not have a record of your finances it can be very difficult to identify what the problems are and to know how to solve them. If your business plan and financial plan are extremely good and your business runs without any financial problems – great work! However, it is still vital to keep a record of the finances. This means you can always strive to improve your profit margin – the amount of profit you make.

3) To help you write your Final Report

The final stage of the School Enterprise Challenge is submitting your Final Report. We will shortly be providing a template for this, which will include a section on the finances of your business. If you keep a good record of your finances whilst you are running your business it will make it much easier to complete your final report! And remember – you will also have the chance to win one of our cash prizes, so the more detailed you can make it, the more chance you have!

So we know it is important to keep a record of cash flow, but how are records kept?

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 16.27.57The finances are recorded in a table – it should look like your financial plan. The table should show the total costs, income and profit. It is very important to make it as detailed as possible. For example, if you sell food at a market the costs on your balance sheet could show that $100 was spent on fruit. You should always note exactly what it has been spent on, like this: $50 on bananas, $30 on mangos, $20 on oranges. $50 + $30 + $20 = $100.

You should record the finances as often as possible. This will help your business to grow!

Keep copiesKeep copies! It is always important to keep a copy of your finance records just in case you lose the original! If you have access to a computer and a printer then it is good to keep paper copies in a safe place. If you have access to the internet then you can even save the documents online! If you do not have a computer then it is a good idea to photocopy it or even write a copy by hand. If you don’t have time – store it in a very safe place that you will always remember!

If you have any other ideas about why it is important to keep track of your finances we would love to know, please leave a comment below!

School Enterprise Challenge Blogger,

Hamish