Year 6 students from Giles Brook Primary School have set up their own businesses, including sweet comanies, to raise money for charity.

Year 6 students from Giles Brook Primary School in Milton Keynes have been given a six week homework task to set up and start their own businesses from £1 given to each of them from the school fund.

The project is part of the school’s Year 6 PSHE unit, which involves raising money for charity. This year it was decided all money raised would go to Milton Keynes Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Business ideas have included baking cakes, car washing, raffles, handmade soaps, lucky dips and even a bacon sandwich service for the staff in the morning.  
Student, Ewan Ingerfield created his own sweet company. He explained: “To start my business with £1 I had to think of a business which would make a lot of money. I thought of selling sweets because everybody loves sweets.”

By purchasing goods and resources needed to start their business and then making a profit, the pupils were encouraged to reinvest to continue to grow their business.

“First of all, I had to use the £1 that was given to me by the school to get my products. I went to a pound shop to buy a big bag of sweets,” Ewan said. “We had sweet bags at home so I divided the big bag of sweets into eight smaller bags and sold each of the smaller bags for £1 to people in my family. My business then got up and running.”

Taking £5 of his newly found profit Ewan then went to a local sweet wholesaler with his mum to buy more sweets. “From then on the sweets were sold to friends, people at my parents’ work and at school, each time re-investing in more products and selling them,” Ewan said.

Learning outside the classroom is often not so much what students learn, but how they learn. The homework task set by Giles Brook Primary School for its Year 6 students has offered pupils the chance of real-world learning and developed skills such as independence, organisation and responsibility.

Year 6 teacher, Sian McCullough said: “We have been incredibly impressed with the children’s response. There are so many benefits to the project. The children feel that they are contributing to their community, it develops their organisation and independence skills, they handle money and deal with change, they must communicate clearly with customers and meet deadlines,” she said. “When the money has been handed in, the children are responsible for counting it all and bagging it up ready to be banked by the office.”

For Ewan it has been a great experience, which has seen him raise an impressive £185 already. “It has been fun to run my own business and it has been good to watch my money grow from just £1 to £185,” he said. “It’s been surprising how much money I have made but it has required hard work and lots of thinking!

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’ve had to put a lot of effort into it. It was worth doing because it will help the local hospital take care of little babies that are born too early and need help.”

So, from the money raised for the neonatal unit at Milton Keynes hospital, to the real-world learning that students such as Ewan have experienced, the project has brought many benefits by encouraging the pupils to think creatively and independently outside the classroom.

The project will culminate with an assembly for Year 6 parents which will see the presentation of the final cheque to the hospital as well as prizes given to the students who have raised the most money, had the most innovative idea, and for those who have the best written project to accompany their business.