Case Studies

Port Ellen Primary School’s Endeavour Project

Port Ellen Primary School’s Endeavour Project

Name of School/Project

Port Ellen Primary School Endeavour Project- An independent, long term project chosen by children based on their interests. It must be ambitious, have new learning, relate to the world of work and be shared with others at the end in our Endeavour Fair.

What is your role?

Jo Clark - Principle Teacher and organiser of Endeavour in P5 - 7.

Key Facts (Description of the project)

Endeavour projects run each session from January in the P567 class. Children pick an area that they are interested in which they can relate to the World of Work. They must complete a long-term planner, write to experts who can help them in their field, organise resources, plan what they will make and what they will show to others at the end.

The project is for primary 5-7 and the focus is on developing skills of planning, time management, research, digital skills and self-assessment. They complete a SWOT analysis at the start of the project, a peer assessed review mid-way and a final review at the end. Often children choose enterprise-based Endeavours where they make something to sell to others, effectively running their own business. These projects also require them to do market research, advertising and product development.

How did the project develop?

The Endeavour project came about through discussions on curriculum design and the desire to find a way to develop resilience, independence and self motivated learning skills in children that would enable them to succeed in the ever-changing workplace of the future.

The inspiration for the project came from the Independent Learning Project in Massachusetts, where students operated 'a school within a school', designing their own curriculum. The results of this project were increased motivation and depth of learning.

It was decided that the key features of a successful Endeavour project were that it must be ambitious, it must demonstrate new learning and the learning must be shared with others. We did not want to see just another powerpoint or poster on our favourite animals or football teams. We wanted to see children developing transferable skills for work; planning, communication, organisation, research and presentation; as well as more specific skills ranging from sewing and quilting to soldering and map reading.

Essential to the success of the project was the involvement of parents and members of the community, who were able to help children develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in their learning. Parents were involved from the outset, working with children to fill in their Endeavour long term planners and with lots of suggestions for local sources of help and support, ranging from visiting quilting and gardening experts to visits to local building projects and craft shops. It is the support of the businesses and experts in the local and wider community that have helped children see the application of their Endeavour projects for future careers.

What did pupils gain from taking part in the project? How effective was the project?

This year I had 4 pupils making things to sell, running their own business. Robyn created a wax melts and soaps business which she sold online through her mums Facebook page. She sold out of all of her products at the Endeavour fair and made £68.80, so she thinks this is a good business.

Katie's Endeavour was making driftwood crafts collected from local beaches. She made boats and key rings and candle holders as well as sculptures. She said she thinks she did well selling her driftwood and that it was very hard making everything in the time she had. She made £51.60.

Iona made cards to sell for her Endeavour, some of which she sold at her parents B&B. She made £33.50 at the fair.

Elena used her Bulgarian background to design and paint stones with traditional patterns using acrylic. She said she struggled to get the painting finished and organise the selling, but sold all her stones.

All children used skills of market research, money management and product design in their Endeavours.

Is the project sustainable? How do you see it developing in the future?

The project has been going since 2012 so is very sustainable. I would like to focus more on skills for the world of work in future.

Did you incur any costs?

If children need equipment the school funds out of its budget, or parents are able to contribute. So we purchased blank cards and envelopes for Iona, paints for Elena, soap making kit for Robyn and glue for Katie.

Did you get other organisations/partners involved?

Everyone writes to people for advice and some of them receive replies. A local craft worker wrote and advised Elena, Robyn had help from her aunt and Katie had help from her Papa who makes driftwood walking sticks.

Do you have any advice for practitioners thinking about organising something similar?

You have to be prepared for children to have failures and setbacks and not immediately jump in and try to solve it for them. If you can get support from the local community it is very helpful.


More about Endeavour
Endeavour News
Kate's Driftwood PresentationRobyn's Wax Melt and Soap Presentation
Elena's Stones Presentation
Iona's Cards Presentation

Contact Details

Jo Clark

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