Pupils at Upton get a taste of being in business

Maths and business at Upton

Young entrepreneurs at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs have enjoyed an ‘enterprising time’ creating and running their own businesses.

A special focus week has encouraged them to use Maths in a real business setting to highlight just how important the core subject is in everyday life.

Pupils put their skills from the classroom to good use in a range of scenarios.

One Year 3 class became veterinarians for the morning. They were given different scenarios that they could be faced with in a vet surgery and then used Maths skills to complete these. For example, measuring perimeters to make bandages, weighing out ‘food’ for the animals and measuring out ‘medicine’. They also solved scaling problems linked to how much food they would need for a week or two weeks.

In Year 4 pupils ran their own shops buying ‘stock’ from wholesalers, calculating their potential profit margins on each item and then running their own shops within the class.

In Year 5 pupils learnt about VAT and how to calculate this. Children budgeted for family holidays, pizza nights and used bank statements to understand household bills and their impact.

Some pupils also became ‘stockbrokers’ for the week, learning about stocks and shares, investing money in companies and reacting to world news daily to protect and change their investments. Each day they assumed the role of Wall Street traders to buy and sell shares and calculate percentage profit or loss on their investments.

During the build-up to the week, each class was given £50 by the school to invest in an enterprise idea, with the aim of making a profit. Pupils had to work collaboratively to determine what form their enterprise would take, purchase the items needed for their venture and then decide how much they would need to sell their items for in order to make a profit that was worth the effort and time put into the project.

Parents had the option to purchase from their classes at the end of the day. Year 4 pupils sold tasty ‘mocktail’ drinks, sunflower plants, pick n mix bags, and scones in a box; Year 3 sold plant pots (with planted seeds and instructions), sweet bags made into butterflies, sweet cones, ice poles, bookmarks, cards; Year 5 sold painted mugs and glasses, mystery boxes and bags, fruit smoothies, key rings and ran a ‘fun photo booth’.

Head of School Darci Arthur said the project taught important life skills. She added: “It is important for children to be able to put information they learn in the classroom into context. If they can see the relevance of something, or purpose behind it, learning motivation is much higher.

“The business and Maths week has been fantastic in terms of both the excitement from the children for their enterprise ideas and the different types of learning we’ve been able to include. Their projects were well-thought out and presented, and they also had a lot fun.”