The Bonhill Primary School Enterprise Company consists of pupil members representing all stages across the school from Primary 4 to Primary 7. The key focus of the company is to lead, promote, develop and implement a company which will take our enterprise in a new direction – entrepreneurialism. We are a very enterprising establishment and already have 3 Social Enterprise Awards but are now looking for a new challenge: Can we establish a new company, which will market tartan items as an addition to our uniform, and develop successful partnerships between the school and manufacturers in the retail/industry sector? The company will also be responsible for developing a website to facilitate meeting the demands of the market. The curricular links are many – literacy, numeracy, technology, science, health and wellbeing as well as sustainability, Developing the Young Workforce and enterprise.
How it developed
The idea came from the development of our school handbook. As part of the design concept there was a tartan ribbon – using our own school colours – threading its way throughout the cover. We showed this to a sample group of parents who were very enthusiastic about the handbook and the tartan. From this, we realised that there was great potential.
We set about finding a mill to weave the tartan – which we found in Yorkshire and then a manufacturing company in Glasgow to make the uniform items. We formed partnerships with the uniform manufacturers in Glasgow and tie manufacturers in Edinburgh. Pupils from our enterprise company went to the factory to see the manufacturing process for themselves. The pupils saw how the pleats of the kilts were folded into place before being baked in an autoclave to keep them in place. They then saw how the feathered edge was that runs along the side of each kilt – all by hand. At each stage of the process the children had the opportunity to try this for themselves.
We realised that the jobs we saw people doing were very precious as they were sustaining part of our Scottish heritage. We felt very proud that we were part of this.
Our next task was to launch our products and for that, we decided on a large project with maximum impact – a fashion show. Again, we involved many children across the school to be our models and we invited many important people as well as parents. The launch was a huge success and the feedback from everyone was extremely positive. We asked people to complete an evaluation and this gave us lots of information about how positive people were about our product. We then produced an order form and have begun taking in orders from parents who wish to buy our garments.
Outcomes and what pupils gained
The skills that the children gained were many. They created partnerships with businesses, they were part of the design process and they saw and experienced, at first hand, the manufacturing process.
They are experiencing manufacturing, marketing and research skills in a new, exciting and innovative way. They are able to make connections with areas of the curriculum and apply them to real life situations. They are experiencing skills in the workplace in a real context and they have the knowledge and understanding about sustaining skills that are part of their heritage.
This is completely sustainable as we will add products and we will always have new pupils coming to the school who will require uniform items. We will continue to complete market research to ensure that our products match the needs and requirements of our customers.
To date, we have only incurred costs of £75 to register our tartan and £375 for the samples of uniform items which we required for our models. Our manufacturer had enough faith in our project to take the cost of weaving the tartan material which meant that he could buy it in bulk and we could keep the prices very low, making them very competitive.
We involved numerous Partners – local business partners, national organisations as well as IT and manufacturing partners.
We were supported by our partners and we also gained new friends along the way – Scotland’s Enterprising Schools being one of our most important ones! We were able to learn new skills in advertising and marketing in the productive and relevant context of one of our other enterprising initiatives.
Other useful information
This enterprise initiative has had a massive impact on our school community. It has given us a corporate identity and in doing so has become like the personification of our vision, values and aims.