Why do we go to school?’ is a question that I remember asking many moons ago. Well the answer is obvious isn’t it ? We attend school because we have to. We have to try to prepare ourselves for the world that we find ourselves in when we are deemed to be old enough, wise enough and organised enough to find something that we can do to help us to get through.
Tim Munden, former Chief Learning Officer at Unilever, talks about the ‘100-year life’ and how we should prepare for the future; work until eighty by adapting, being healthy (making good choices), and of course a bit of luck. To achieve this it is imperative that we arm our children with weapons that they can use to help them navigate the minefield of life.
On my own particular journey I was never introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship and, having very much bulldozered my own career since leaving the forces, it is a critical part of a youngster’s journey to learn how the various parts of the puzzle fit together. Languages, maths, literacy, science, arts, performing arts, music come together in Entrepreneurialism in such a simple way: maths is money, arts is the creativity, science is the working bit, languages are the small print/words spread and performance is the salesman and ‘doing’ angle. It all came together in 2008, two years after I had set up Knightsbridge School, when a ten-year old girl called Naomi, knocked on my door asking if she could show me the dresses she drew. It was like the ‘Cruella de Ville’ moment in ‘101 Dalmatians’. When I saw them, I said that we should make those dresses but she said she didn’t know how to do go about it. We asked a few teachers and Miss Kate stepped forward and made the dresses for her friends to wear. There was another boy Alexander who doodled like me and I asked him to think about what he could doodle on for a fashion show. He chose waistcoats for his friends to wear. Another boy Sebastiano drew big pictures using Italian words ‘Amore’ and another Alexandre sang Bond songs. All together we held our ‘First Collection’ in the Assembly Hall with a runway, family and friends and KS Entrepreneur was born.
Every two years we put on a show and it visually improves through each iteration. Initially, the children present their ideas to a panel of teachers. Having reached the next round we then ask KS parent entrepreneurs to introduce the concept of the ‘Four P’s’.. (Product, Placement, Price and Promotion) augmented with the all-important S for Sustainability. After increasingly independent work in after school clubs, the KS Entrepreneurs are set to produce their product to reveal to the community after the holiday period. The staff, parents and all the community support our young business people throughout the process. We also invite independent judges to attend the event and award prizes, including an overall winner.
It is an incredible process bringing out the best in the individual whilst promoting teamwork. So many lessons are learned by the Entrepreneurs – how to manage time, people, resources, mistakes and most importantly the value of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Magoo Giles is Principal and Founder of Knightsbridge School, part of the Dukes Education family.
4 August 2023