News

Bright Stars Secondary

Children at St Benedict’s Catholic High School in Whitehaven are the first to take part in a new Bright Stars Secondary enterprise programme that will see them partnering with local companies to run their own businesses.

The new programme for year 8 pupils is building on the success of the Bright Stars programme for primary schools in Cumbria organised and project managed by the Centre for Leadership Performance.

Two teams of children, aged 12 and 13,  are given £50 and challenged to create their own businesses, assisted by mentors working with the children via online contact using MS Teams and Zoom.  They will deliver business plans that involve creating products or services, and organise their management teams with allocation of jobs ranging from research and manufacturing, to running the accounts and organising marketing.

The six week programme funded by Cumbria Community Foundation is designed to create a culture of aspiration and help young people to develop leadership and teamwork skills, and build confidence and self-belief.  It encourages problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills and provides an opportunity to showcase hidden talents and link learning to the world of work in a fun accessible way. 

CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass says: “Over the past 8 years Bright Stars has had a tremendous impact on local Primary Schools and the businesses taking part.  We are building on that positive experience to extend the benefits of the scheme to secondary schools with a pilot project at St Benedict’s.”

Sarah has created the pilot programme with Karen Kelso Assistant Head at St Benedict’s,  with business mentors provided by McMenon Engineering Services in Workington and the Sellafield Next Generation Executive.

Karen explains: “Year 8 is a year in which we need to engage and motivate pupils. Year 7 are excited by the experience of joining a secondary school and Year 9 are motivated by the options process and preparing for their future.

“In Y8 we need to ensure the progress and engagement required to prepare students for the challenge of study at Key Stages 4 and 5. We are required to deliver high quality careers information and guidance to excite pupils and widen their awareness of the vast opportunities that are open to them; developing their personal skills as well as academic ones. We seek to prepare well educated and well-rounded young people who will be the workforce of the near future.”

At the end of the 6 weeks trading the Year 8 business groups will report to CfLP on the success of their business and the profits made, what they learned and what skills they gained. 

A panel of judges will decide on the winning groups for three prize categories: Most Profitable Business, Best Business Idea and Best Example of Teamwork and Leadership, and all of the children will receive certificates of achievement.