Making Things Happen

Best School Day Ever!


JOHN WILLMOTT SCHOOL is situated in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands. Its mission statement is “Potential into Reality” and this could have been the theme for the Bright Futures Enterprise Programme.

Victoria Neale

Victoria Neale is the School’s Area Study Director for Vocational Studies and she has booked Bright Futures (BF) for the last six years to come in and give her Year 10 students a taste of working life. This year, she decided to take the 100 students off site to create an even more realistic setting. The venue was the Trinity Suite at Villa Park, Aston Villa’s ground.

Enterprise Programme

The BF Enterprise Programme introduces students to the key aspects of enterprise: risk taking, managing change and having an entrepreneurial spirit. The day opens with several individual and team challenges which thoroughly engage the students. Non-friendship teams are created so as to replicate the work situation. Invariably, this is always one of the areas of positive feedback from the students. A John Willmott student commented that this was one of the best aspects of the day: “Being able to work with new people that I might not know”.

Enterprise Programme

After the initial challenges have engaged the students, this is followed by an extended team challenge to design a prototype for a new theme park ride using basic materials. All rides are timed and the longest-lasting ride wins. All the problem-solving and lateral thinking tasks of the morning prepare the students for the culmination of the day where each team has to act as a design and manufacturing company to supply Bright Futures with new loyalty card display units. This involves a range of skills: buying and selling, negotiating, time management and co-operation.

Victoria’s summary

At the end of the day, Victoria summed up her feelings in the following way: “This was a great success! Our students enjoyed a superb team-building experience, in a professional and creative atmosphere. They were working with their peers whom they might not have chosen and learning about the responsibilities of the adult world.

“Their high quality communication and listening skills then led to excellent negotiation and risk-taking later in the day. Our students learnt about the really important consequences of input behaviours and how these relate to successful outputs. It was brilliant!”


Enterprise Programme

All the students – and the staff – were asked to complete a feedback form at the end of the day and this was analysed and sent on to the School. It forms an eight-page evaluation of the event, listing all the relevant skills the students have been developing, such as PLTS, PSHE and those listed in the nine-point Framework for economic well-being 11-19: career, work-related learning and enterprise.

One of the students, as he was leaving, commented: “This was one of the best school days ever – and I learnt loads too!”

Enterprise Programme

Headteacher, Ken Nimmo, commented as follows: “Our mission statement ‘Potential into Reality’ sums up our core purpose as a school; to help to turn the potential of all our youngsters into the reality of qualifications and the development of young people ready to successfully take their place in the outside world. It seems to me that the Bright Futures programmes on Enterprise are helping us do the second of these very successfully.”

John Willmott is a specialist technology school. Their Prospectus speaks about “all children reaching their potential … ultimately leaving as well-rounded young adults, ready to confidently take their place in the forever-changing world of work”.

John Willmott School
Reddicap Heath Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B75 7DY

T: 0121 378 1946

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