Wemms Social Enterprise Week

During the last week in May 2021, Wemms held a whole school Enterprise Week. The aim of the week was to give students the opportunity to develop their problem solving and team working skills. They were given the opportunity to develop their understanding of what ‘enterprise’ is – in the context of understanding different types of jobs, developing new ideas, how money is spent in designing and making products, and primarily, how they can contribute to a range of activities that help them to become more enterprising. The week culminated in a spectacular Enterprise Fayre which was open to all parents, students, staff, and which raised nearly £1600! The funds raised will be donated to the Toilet Twinning charity, which seeks to build essential toilets in less affluent countries, which desperately need them for their communities. 

The students were divided into vertical year-group teams in such a way that each age group was fairly represented in each team.  Since one of the aims of the week was to teach our students to work in teams that comprised members from all different age groups, Year 7s learnt to work together with Year 11s as well as all the years in between, and vice versa!  The sixth formers were given the difficult yet important job of sorting out the logistics for the week, such as making sure each team knew what they were doing, and how much profit they expected to make, organising and ordering food for the BBQ and generally floating around to make sure everything was being taken care of.  Nicknamed the WETs (Wemms Enterprise Team), they certainly rose to the occasion, working hard to make the Fayre a success. 

The students had some wonderful ideas, and different groups approached the project in very different ways. Pupils were given the opportunity to think up ideas of their own, or adapt existing ideas to their own designs. Some of the most creative ideas saw fidget toys, jewellery being made out of Hama beads, sensory jars, seed bombs, decorated handbags, pompom or tassel-decorated keyrings and a variety of dreamcatchers/mobiles being created.  One group even wrote and recorded their own song! There was so much creativity going around that the school was buzzing! 

Once we had decided which products to make for the Fayre, as well as our team names and which role and responsibilities each team member would have, we spent the week making our designs a reality.  Each team also worked on posters advertising their products that could be displayed around the school, as well as designing a PowerPoint presentation. 

In a pseudo “Dragons’ Den”, each team also had to present their ideas to a panel made up of members of the SMT who quizzed everyone on their ideas, finances and marketing. We also held focus groups to get potential customer feedback and testimonials for our products.  

At last, the day of the Enterprise Fayre arrived!  Students and staff looked forward to finally getting the chance to sell the products they’d worked so hard to create, and seeing if anyone was prepared to buy them! At the Enterprise Fayre on Friday, all the parents and their families, plus friends, were warmly invited to come and enjoy the stalls and special BBQ (COVID-secure, of course).  

Message from the Principle  

The day of the Enterprise Fayre started off with each group presenting PowerPoints on what they had been doing during the week to the school leadership team and setting up the stalls. The leadership were incredibly impressed with various students’ creativity, video productions and presentation style. It seemed that each student had found their niche in the groups and made the most of their talents.   

Students helped each other get the final touches in place: a stall set up here, some final products made, a sign put up there, etc.  There were plenty of sneak previews of merchandise going on around the school, with some team members guarding their products from eager eyes with the protectiveness of a tigress defending her cubs! 

The Fayre opened as students and their family members came round to view and buy the products.  Surpassing some of team’s original expectations that dreamcatchers just wouldn’t sell, they sold out of dreamcatchers within half an hour of the Fayre opening.  The other teams did really well too, selling a variety of goods to the enthusiastic parents and other family members. This included our very own Wemms-crafted single, recorded by the music team and put together especially for this task entitled “Here To Stay”.  

– Joy Wemms 

Message from a Parent  

Everyone seemed to really enjoy it!  There was popcorn and candyfloss for those with a salty or sweet tooth and the sixth formers cooked a brilliant BBQ, selling a range of food guaranteed to satisfy every dietary requirement, including vegan and gluten-free options. Shouts of laughter could be heard amidst the chatter in the playground as students got to ‘Pie-face’ teachers who had bravely volunteered to have cream plastered all over their faces! 

The Fayre has been a really special experience for everyone involved.  It was really lovely meeting some of the parents for the first time. It was also amazing seeing everyone socialising with each other and enjoying themselves (in a socially distanced manner). Just to see so many people having fun together was fantastic after 14 months of minimal visitor interaction with the Wemms community bubble. 

The whole enterprise week was huge fun, and the students learned a great deal through taking part. We are already planning a similar event for next year. Many thanks to all the staff at Wemms who took part, and especially to Joy Wemms, our esteemed Principal, who coordinated the week. 

Wemms Fidgets

This week we have been planning a product to sell. We firstly sorted out the roles for the team with Person A taking the role of team leader and Person B (Marketing), Person C (Sales), Person D (Finance), Person E (Presentation) and Person F (Logistics and organisation) taking on their roles. We then planned to make sensory jars, basil plants and squishy fidget balls. With Person D making sure we stayed in budget we sourced the most cost-efficient materials we could, an early passion for the team was to make sure recycling was a key component in our product.

A challenge for the team was keeping focused and constant interruptions. We overcame this through taking regular breaks and making sure everyone was ok and had a job, making sure we used WET effectively as well as strong leadership and keeping a clear goal in mind as well as a bit of humour.

Teams-Wemms-Fidget_-

We did market research on one of our walks looking at a plant seller and how the packaged and priced their product. As well as using our target audience to inform our decision on pricing.

Our logistics manager took the lead on creating an advert for our products complete with pricing as well as catchy jingle and an endorsement. This will be part of our presentation we will be giving to a leadership team, and we look forward to their feedback on our enterprise product.

Overall, we as Wemms Fidget feel very proud of what we have managed to achieve in enterprise and can’t wait for people’s reaction to our products on Friday. The next day we

came up with our marketing strategy. After our strategy was made, we designed a label for the basil plants and the fidget toys.

Super 6

When we got to know that we have been allocated the task of working on a project through which we had to yield income from a budget of £30, we put our heads together and eventually came up with the idea of designing reusable tote bags. These are small natural fibre (calico cotton) bags for use while shopping, for example. Given the current state of our planet and the climate crisis, we were keen to do something with sustainability credentials.

The students, a group of six, came up with the name, ‘Super6’, and a brand name of ‘Sustain-a-Bag’.

First things first, we had to come up with some house rules to ensure the smooth running of the team comprising of various ages, skills and abilities. This was definitely a step in the right direction as we needed to turn to these to remind us of what team spirit is and why we embarked on this project when the going got tough.

Super-Six-Wemms-Social-Enterprise-Week-May-2021

Having set the foundation for our team, we started making the designs on the tote bags which we had bought from our budget. We came up with some designs which we tested on members of other teams – particularly popular was a turtle motif and the theme of customised letters.

Our main medium was ‘sharpies’ – permanent felt markers – though we supplemented these with normal felt pens, poster paints, material and sequins/glittery bits.

Our students came up with the slogan “sustain a bag, sustain our future”.

So please come and support us on Friday where I’m sure you’ll be able to find a bag to suit your needs or just to put your rubbish in!

Little Einsteins

We’ve been extremely busy for Enterprise week, planning and preparing our products for the grand finale on Friday: the Young Enterprise Fayre. 

On Monday, after some ice-breaker activities which helped us get to know each other better, we discussed our strengths and weaknesses and allocated roles and responsibilities.  

We then looked at the resources available to us, thought about our skills, talents and interests and brainstormed ideas about what products we could produce. We tried to choose things that would appeal to members of the Wemms community and also that would produce a good profit margin for the ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity that Wemms has chosen to support.  

We decided that fidget toys would be cheap and easy to make with some of the resources available: pony beads and slip rings. This would also be an item that many members of the Wemms community would enjoy using, and since the toys are quiet when in use, they would not be disruptive during lessons. 

We also thought about the latest trends on social media and decided to make Hama bead rings and bracelets that we could customise as these are currently ‘on trend’.  

Lastly, we had the idea of selling candy floss as one of our team had access to a professional grade machine and this would produce an excellent profit margin as well as attracting the punters to our stall! 

We spent time making prototypes of fidget toys and jewellery. One of our challenges was that we had some heart shaped slip rings that were too large for the pony beads to fit. Whilst not wanting to waste these, we thought of options to make keyrings with these and made a few prototypes, some of which were too fiddly to make in large quantities. We learnt that while this was frustrating, it proved the usefulness of making prototypes. 

We used a focus group to run our ideas past other members of the community and asked which items would be most popular. This gave us an idea of what people would be willing to spend on our products too.  

Tuesday was spent creating and presenting a PowerPoint presentation and posters, deciding the cost of our items and taking advance orders and measurements for them. We also started a production line and getting to grips with how the materials behaved. This was especially challenging with the Hama beads as we found that we had a limited time to work them into the ring and bracelet shapes while they were still warm from the iron. We discovered that the dimensions altered slightly when the beads were melted into place, so sizing was a challenge and adjustments had to be made to some of the custom-made products. 

On Wednesday, our challenges continued as we struggled being able to make more complex and interesting shapes for the jewellery. This gave us the idea to use spiked square templates to hold the beads in place while manufacturing. We could then produce any 2-dimensional shape requested. 

We learned how to use marketing to enhance our consumer base and increase sales. We also learnt how to use PowerPoint design tools to implement graphics and enhance the visualisation of our products. 

On Thursday, we finalised all the products and photographed them. We were mindful of the help that other members of the school community gave us and made sure our appreciation was known so that they could see the value of the services (e.g. their video and photography skills) that they shared with us. 

We then went around the school and put up posters in each department. We planned the stall layout and started tidying up and preparing the room for our visitors. 

Over the week, our group became increasingly harmonious. We learned to listen to others, communicate effectively and to work cooperatively as a team each with different roles. 

We are excited to be able to offer our products on Friday and hope to make a valuable contribution to the ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity. 

As Einstein himself would say, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” 

We are the Aces

This week we have celebrated Young Enterprise week by coming up with ideas for a product that we could sell to family and friends at the Young Enterprise Fayre.  Firstly, we sorted out the roles and responsibilities of each person on the team.  We brainstormed some ideas and the majority voted to make dreamcatchers and mobiles.  One team member worked out the costings of what it would take to make each hanging decoration and we used our budget to purchase the materials needed for each decoration including feathers and beads to hang on the metal loops. 

Team members were taught how to make the dreamcatchers and mobiles using yarn and thread to weave webs on metal hoops.  We then hung different decorations on and beneath the hoops to create the dreamcatchers and mobiles we wanted.  Our product designer came up with some brilliant designs.  The finished creations looked so beautiful that potential customers started reserving the ones they wanted! 

 We did face some challenges with working together as a team, as some team members began the week distracting the others rather than working together to create a product.  However, we discussed our problems as a team, and once those team members realised the rest of the team found their behaviour disruptive rather than funny, they settled down more and focused on the tasks better.  Together, we learnt how to cooperate with each other, how to work together as a team to create some amazing dreamcatchers and mobiles.  Each team member should be very proud of their work. 

Wemms-Social-Enterprise-Week-May-2021-Parents-Group-A

Another challenge we overcame was how to price the products.  We wanted them to be affordable while still making a profit to raise money for the ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity.  So, we decided to divide our products into two categories: one group was priced at £3 each and the second category, in which we put the dreamcatchers and mobiles that had more decorations on, was priced at £4 each. 

The other important task we completed this week was creating and presenting a PowerPoint, detailing what we are making and what we have been doing each day, which we will deliver to the school leadership team on Friday. 

Overall, the experience has been really positive with team members saying they have learnt how to work in a team and that they have also discovered how to make a variety of dreamcatchers using a small amount of resources.  In addition, our product designer learnt how to organise a production line.  Each team member stepped out of their comfort zone to achieve the goal of creating enough dreamcatchers and mobiles to sell at the Fayre.  And the results were fantastic!

Daily Mile

Wemms is raising money for a ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity which will use any funds raised to build toilets for villages in Africa. This will enable the people living there to enjoy a flushing toilet, which so many of us take for granted.

Every school day in May we have been walking 1 mile in the local area to raise money for our ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity. We have raised enough money so far to build two toilet blocks in Malawi and Zambia; now, we aim to raise enough money to build ten toilet blocks.

We walk in our year groups (or team groups for Enterprise Week) once a day and we usually go round the park. The students have walked their mile in all weathers, not letting rain or shine stop them from getting their sponsorship.

Over 19 days, we have walked 19 miles. Students have given positive feedback in general, highlighting the fun of getting outside for half an hour. One pointed out that they felt better after the Daily Mile and more motivated to work. Overall, it has been a valuable experience, helping the students improve their fitness while giving them a chance to enjoy the sunshine, persevere at something while raising money for a great cause!