Pupils in the market to be class acts

BUSINESS BOOST ... youngsters from Marine Park Primary School learned a new trade as part of a business project.
BUSINESS BOOST ... youngsters from Marine Park Primary School learned a new trade as part of a business project.

ENTERPRISING youngsters at a South Tyneside school set their stall out to make market gains – after trading places from the classroom to the world of business.

Year Six pupils at Marine Park Primary School swapped sums and science for selling to take part in the entrepreneurial education scheme led by Virgin Money.

The bright ten and 11-year-olds were among almost 500 children across the North East who became traders for the day at Newcastle’s historic Grainger Market.

The enterprise scheme – called Make £5 Grow – saw schools given a £5 loan per child and vital tips from a Business Ambassador to set up their own mini-business to help turn a profit.

The schools get to keep any profit made after repaying the loan.

To bring the business opportunity to life, Newcastle’s Grainger Market opened its doors to the children to give them the chance to get a realistic selling experience.

Forward-thinking learners at Marine Park Primary School got in the Yuletide spirit to get their project off the ground.

The budding business brains sold a host of festive-themed items – with their efforts proving an early Christmas hit.

Janice Carroll, office manager at the school, in Hatfield Square, South Shields, said: “All of the children had a really good time. All of the items we sold were made by the children in school.

“We had home made Christmas decorations, biscuits, lavender bags and fudge. Virgin Money has been coming in to the school to give advice for the last few weeks.

“The whole class went down to the Grainger Market in Newcastle. They were split into three groups.

“We had children selling the goods on the market, while others did activities with the representatives from Virgin Money. The final party went on a treasure trail around the Grainger Market and got a chance to see all of the stalls in the market.”

The pupils learned fast – and made a tidy £100 profit on the day.

The cash will be ploughed back into the school to fund future education activities.

Mrs Carroll added: “The children did really well and were on the stall selling items on the day.

“We made a profit of £100 and I think we have a few entrepeneurs of the future.”

Make £5 Grow has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2010, and became a national programme last year, with more than 12,000 children aged between nine and 11 taking part, generating a collective profit of over £32,000

Jo Barnett, head of social enterprise at Virgin Money, added: “We sincerely thank Newcastle City Council and the Grainger Market traders for allowing these children such an opportunity.

“The feedback we have received from schools, children and parents has been phenomenal and we hope to be able to work together again to encourage entrepreneurship amongst young people in the North East region.”

Twitter: @Shieldsgazchris