Speycraft is just one of the successful social enterprise businesses running at Speyside High School. The business is run as an extra-curricular activity and the small group of S4 pupils is supported by the PT of Religious and Moral Education, Mrs Catherine Irving. They have been involved for almost three years in buying and selling Traidcraft products in the school. This is a social enterprise so money is reinvested into buying more products and this empowers producers and allows them to transform their lives, the lives of their children and their community.
Pupils participating in the social enterprise develop a range of schools in four key areas – Thinking & Learning, Leadership, Enterprise & Employability and Skills for Learning, Life & Work.
How it developed
The Head Teacher and Depute had an initial meeting with the Social Enterprise Academy’s Futures Team to discuss the idea and to find out more about the Social Enterprise in Schools Awards Programme. Following on from this the Social Enterprise Academy’s Chief Futures Officer and Tutors visited the school and helped the pupils understand what social enterprise is, how they could identify their social aim and explore their business ideas.
The Social Enterprise Academy provided a range of resources and tools for both teachers and pupils and introduced the school to local social entrepreneurs and social enterprise networks who could support them in developing their ideas. The pupils were able to develop a Business Plan and start to put their ideas into action.
A key element of the Social Enterprise in Schools Programme is ensuring that your social enterprise is sustainable. Speycraft has now been up and running for 4 years and pupils take responsibility for succession planning ensuring its long term sustainability. In 2013/2014 they decided to share this concept with their local primary schools and following on from visits to the schools they helped the primary pupils identify a social aim and business idea and invited them to participate in a Social Enterprise ‘Dragons Den’. This exciting development engaged the local primaries but also ensured a steady flow of new talent for their social enterprises at Speyside High School!
Outcomes and what pupils gained
Pupils participating in the social enterprise have to be prepared to take full responsibility for running and developing their businesses. As a result their confidence is boosted and they are developing a range of skills that will help them in the future.
Through social enterprise they are thinking about new and creative ways of doing things, regularly evaluating the results and using that information to make important decisions that affect the future success of their business.
They have learned to listen to each other and value others opinions. They are encouraging one another to think differently, seek the highest standards from themselves and each other and to lead the action. Pupils are developing a ‘can do, will do’ attitude. They don’t shy away from problems but confront them and find solutions. They have developed great team skills, take responsibility for their own work and hold each other accountable. They show initiative and drive, communicate well with each other, the wider school and community and they use practical skills to develop their business. Their IT skills allow them to make their business more successful and to reach wider audiences.
Their social enterprise is not only helping them to develop skills for learning, life and work but is allowing them to help others. They are being empowered, changing other people’s lives and changing their own.
In 2014 they received their first Social Enterprise in Education Award and in 2015 they received special recognition for their work with their local primary schools and received a the Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise in Schools Award for Transition Projects. In 2014 they were short listed as a finalist in the Social Enterprise Scotland Awards under the category – Education & Training SE (Schools). These awards are open to every social entrepreneur and social enterprise business in Scotland. Pupils and teachers from Speycraft attended both the Celebration Lunch at RBS Gogarburn and Parliamentary Reception on 6th November where they received their certificate from John Swinney MSP and Cabinet Secretary at the Scottish Government.
Speycraft is sustainable and has now been running for four years. Its success lies in the pupils owning the business and taking full responsibility for succession planning. They take great pride in what they are doing and are keen for others to get involved. They have developed relationships with their suppliers and would never want to let anyone down. They know they are making a difference.
The support from the Social Enterprise Academy is free and initial start-up costs were covered through the school, existing fair trade activity and fund raising. The school were advised to start small and build the business from there and have successfully done that. Profits are reinvested in growing the businesses and supporting he communities who supply the goods.
Working with other partners has been key to their success. Moray has a very active Social Enterprise Network and has provided advice and support
Social Enterprise Academy
Third Sector Interface (TSI) Moray
Local businesses/business people
Mrs Catherine Irving
Speyside High School
Other useful information
What is social enterprise?
Social enterprises are dynamic businesses with a social purpose that reinvest their profits for community benefit. It is a great way of doing business, contributes to a stronger economy and community and often promotes greener ways of working.
Well known examples of social enterprises include The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, and the fair trade company Divine Chocolate.
The sector includes co-operatives, credit unions, housing associations, development trusts, social firms, and community businesses.
Social enterprises operate across a diverse range of areas including: fair trade, recycling, catering and hospitality, renewable energy, health, social care, leisure, community transport, housing and childcare.
So what does social enterprise look like in a school?
They are connected to their community – School social enterprises have explicit social and/or environmental aims and their profits are used for this purpose. This can either be locally or linked to a community abroad.
They are entrepreneurial – They have a clear trading activity and are directly involved in producing goods or providing services to a market.
They are led by young people – They are driven and run by pupils with support from teachers and parents. There will also be awareness of the social enterprise across the whole school.
They are dynamic – School social enterprises aspire to make a positive and responsive change to people’s lives.
Social Enterprise Academy – helps develop excellence in and understanding of leadership and management in social enterprises – www.socialenterprise.academy
Social Enterprise Scotland – the lobbying and campaign voice of Scottish Social Enterprises – www.socialenterprisescotland.org.uk
Senscot – the social entrepreneur network for Scotland. You can find out about social enterprises in your local area at – www.senscot.net
Firstport – offers free business support and awards to social entrepreneurs who are just starting out – www.firstport.org.uk
Fairtrade – learn more about the Fairtrade movement, products and recipes – www.fairtrade.org.uk
Socialearth – a fresh socially minded weblog for business who are doing good – www.socialearth.org
Some well know social enterprises:
Jamie Oliver’s restaurant ‘fifteen’ – www.fifteen.net
John Lewis – www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk
The Big Issue – www.bigissue.com