Katie Bulmer-Cooke: These Sunderland pupils were a class act

Academy 360.
Academy 360.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Academy 360 to spend some time working with their pupils on the Gifted, Able and Talented programme

I’d not visited the school before and was completely wowed by the standard of the facilities.

It doesn’t feel like you’re stepping into a school at all. It feels state-of-the-art, light and it certainly feels like a great environment to learn in, with all of the best resources to hand.

The workshop I ran was optional for all children on the programme, but I was so pleased with the attendance from pupils.

I set them a business task, to turn an imaginary £50 investment into as much money as possible in just one week.

They were tasked with coming up with a business idea and then turning that into a plan that considered set costs, sales projections, how they would market their product or service and where they would find their customers.

Everyone got to work in their groups straight away and I was so impressed with the ideas that were generated in their teams.

At the end of the task, I had to choose a winner and it was really tough, however one group really shone when it came to a relevant idea and the most drilled down set of numbers…they had everything considered and calculated to the penny!

The idea was to purchase miniature World Cup style trophies, fill them with sweets and lucky dip prizes and sell them throughout the World Cup, capitalising on a the hype that currently surrounds the event.

The Year 8 boys, who made up the team, presented their idea thoroughly and with such confidence … they represented themselves and the school brilliantly.

The second half of the afternoon involved me giving a talk to the pupils and their parents on my life in business.

Sometimes it’s not until you put it all down on paper (or in a presentation) that you remember and realise all of the things you’ve done along the way.

It’s 15 years since I started my business and I look back and wonder where the time has gone.

One of the things I stressed in my talk was that ‘shy bairns get nowt’.

Along the way I’ve had people tell me that I ‘couldn’t’ or it ‘wouldn’t work’, and don’t get me wrong, not everything I’ve ever done has been a success, but my message to the pupils at Academy 360, was that if you don’t try you’ll never know.

Having spent time with the pupils on the Gifted, Able and Talented programme at Academy 360, I’m sure they will all go on to achieve great things.

They have a great attitude to getting involved and are clearly motivated to do their best. I wish them all the best of luck.