At Rivers Academy we believe fostering self-worth, engagement and purpose provide the key to high aspirations in our students.

Our children are bright, engaged, engaging and hungry to learn. It is our mission to find ways to expand our students’ horizons and we know innovative learning interventions can produce strong outcomes.

This is why when Grant Thornton approached us with their School Enterprise Programme (SEP), offering practical real-world experiences for our year 7s and 8s, it felt like a perfect match.

Our students have a keen interest in business, but without initiatives such as this, the world of enterprise can be perceived as difficult to reach and access. The SEP has changed that; opening up career options many had never heard of, let alone considered.

Essential to the success we’ve seen is the authenticity of the process.

These are real business people, setting real tasks and expecting real results.

The business plans are real, as are the potential profits. Nowhere does this authenticity shine through than in the microfinance programme that lets students support entrepreneurs in the developing world with profits they make in school. They see how the choices they make here in Feltham have a direct impact on people a world away. The partnership broadens the horizons of students.

At every stage, our students have risen to the challenges set, building soft skills vital to success in today’s workplaces: collaboration, communication, compromise and also a boost in confidence levels. Their financial literacy is also growing whilst enjoying every minute.

Amin Mohammed, 15: ”I loved taking part in the SEP because it gave me a chance to be creative”

For Amin Mohammed (pictured above) taking part in the SEP two years ago, reveals how the initiative has transformed ignited a latent passion for business and entrepreneurship. So much so that he chose to study business as part of his suite of GCSEs and admits it’s all thanks to Grant Thornton!

Amin, 15, who lives in Feltham, came up with an idea for Crayola Candles and he and his team found themselves involved in pitching and marketing the product.

Opening up about his SEP experience, Amin said: ‘’The Crayola Candles idea was well-received – it’s a fun product and so appeals to people.

‘’We created them and sold them. To get to this point, we had to pitch our idea, think about who would want to buy them, get involved in making flyers and spread the word about our candles.

‘’We made over 150 candles and made £110 in revenue which left us with £90 profit. We donated the money to an entrepreneur in Africa who has a PC/Gaming stall.

‘’I loved taking part in the SEP because it gave me a chance to be creative and the SEP gives you a lot of freedom: You come up with the idea for your product and learn how to sell it.

‘’It gave me a lot of confidence especially speaking in front of people. Before taking part in the SEP I would have shied away from speaking in public.

‘’The SEP made me want to proceed with business and it inspired me to take GCSE Business for one of my options.

‘’Grant Thornton coming into our school definitely gave us a sense of the bigger picture, of what’s out there. It opened up our eyes to how people struggle in developing countries. It made me realise how lucky I am and how much I take for granted. It has made me realise I should work hard and take advantage of the opportunities I have.’’

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