Case Studies

The Idiom Initiative

The Idiom Initiative

Dumfries High School

The Idiom Initiative facilitated by Idiom, a Branch of Young Enterprise based in Dumfries High SchoolThe Idiom Initiative facilitated by Idiom, a Branch of Young Enterprise based in Dumfries High School

Key Facts

Idiom is a company run by S5 and S6 pupils at Dumfries High School in Dumfries & Galloway. Team Idiom have drawn on the skills and experience they have gained as part of the Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme to inspire the next generation of business leaders.

The Idiom Initiative facilitates learning through the delivery of two workshops - entrepreneurial and creative thinking - to children in Nursery and Primary Education. Directors of Idiom deliver the sessions, based around the skills and experiences they have gained through their time in the Idiom Family.

The project has been piloted in three locations, with extremely positive feedback and the plan is to roll the programme out across the region so that as many schools and nurseries as possible can benefit.

How it developed

The project has been successfully piloted, with a huge amount of support from educational/community establishments across the region. Initially the project started as one 'book reading' session and has developed into a learning and teaching initiative - where younger children are inspired to think creatively, and are educated on the fundamental principles of running a business.

The team at Idiom feel that it is important to share their passion for business and Dumfries High School fully support their efforts. This is the only secondary school in the Dumfries burgh that offers Business Education to their pupils from S1 right through to Higher in the senior phase. The Idiom Initiative is adding to the high school's drive for entrepreneurial learning across the curriculum.

The workshops take two forms:

  • Creative - where the children are given stimulants and are tasked with coming up with their own 'Bonnie the Beltie' adventure (Bonnie the Beltie is the main character in a book written by the Idiom team which has now been successfully marketed and sold commercially). The class are then tasked with feeding back to their peers on their story - which develops creativity and confidence.
  • Enterprise/Business - the children are first taught about key areas of introducing a new product; Product Development, Promotion and Finance. They are then challenged to come up with their own new product in 20 minutes; using all the skills they have learned - within an allocated 'budget' (forcing them to work with restricted resources); before having to present their new business idea to their peers.

What pupils gained and how effective the project was

The impact on the pupils taking part, includes developing:

  • Creative thinking / Innovation
  • Business/Entrepreneurial skills
  • Financial skills (Budgeting)
  • Communication (including listening, talking and presenting)
  • Team-working / Collaboration
  • Literacy

Is it sustainable?

The team at Idiom are working tirelessly to ensure this programme can be sustainable in the long-term and their plan for this is to involve senior pupils who aspire to become Nursery/Primary Teachers. This is a double-pronged approach which allows Idiom to continue delivering workshops to meet demand and senior pupils are given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

Idiom are looking to partner with the local university in order to maximise the potential and sustainability of the initiative in the long-term.

What costs did you incur?

The project has not incurred any costs - apart from basic stationery (Paper, Pens and Glue)

The format of the programme has also allowed for costs to be kept at a minimum. Nursery/Primary Schools taking part have been asked to provide their own paper, glue and pens. Dumfries High School are supporting the programme by allowing the use of the school minibus to transport pupils to and from each workshop - as the programme grows, the team are looking into alternative arrangements for transport.

Did you involve other partners?

  • Heathhall Primary School
  • St Andrews Nursery
  • Laurieknowe Primary School
  • Dumfries High School
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • Young Enterprise Scotland

What support did you get?

We have received incredible support from Dumfries and Galloway Council, who are behind the programme - and fully supportive of its aims and outcomes.

Dumfries High School, and in particular the Business Education department, has fully supported the team and their proactive approach to sharing their experiences in order to educate younger pupils in the opportunities within Business.

The Usual Place, a local social enterprise, has offered valuable support - this has included being a key stockist of Idiom products in the town as well as hosting the Idiom Initiative Launch Evening in March 2019.

Contact details

Lyle Hamilton
Managing Director
Dumfries High School

Phone: 01387 263 061
Mobile: 07860 247 959


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