The Priory School Wins Competition Judged by TV Dragon Theo Paphitis

Following a gruelling national competition between schools across the UK, judged by TV Dragon Theo Paphitis, students from The Priory School in Shrewsbury last week celebrated as their prize-winning product went on-sale at the Shrewsbury Ryman store. 

The students at The Priory School, aged 11-12, were crowned winners of the 2014 Ryman National Enterprise Challenge for Key Stage 2 earlier this year after pitching their winning idea for creative pencil case, ‘Graphoto’. 

Funded by the UK’s leading awarding body, OCR, the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is an inter-school competition open to secondary schools across the UK and provides tailor-made, real life business projects that encourage students to develop their skills whilst being supported and endorsed by real businesses.

The finalists were tasked with developing a pencil case for national stationary business, Ryman, and included a competitive pitch between 100 schools, plus a Q&A session with Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis. The ‘Graphoto’ pencil case is made out of a specialist washable fabric as well as plastic photo holders, enabling owners to personalise the case to their own tastes.

Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at OCR, comments: “It’s wonderful to see students as young as 11 competing at such a high level. The launch is a culmination of the team’s hard work and dedication to create an innovative product which genuinely appeals to the mass market.

“As a charitable organisation, it is OCR’s long-standing belief that every child should be given equal opportunities, which is why we were delighted to help fund schools across the UK to enter this national competition – it really is an added bonus that one of our sponsored schools won overall!”

Carol France, Enterprise Co-ordinator at The Priory School, said: “Taking part in the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge has been a brilliant experience for the students, providing a unique opportunity for them to really think creatively. We do have a real enterprise ethos here in the school and we try to prepare our students for the world of work as well as academically.

“We only had six days to prepare for our presentation in July so the pupils did phenomenally well – what’s more, even though there was no guarantee that Ryman would actually produce the pencil case, they liked the prototype so much that they have manufactured it for public sale!”

The year seven team that came out on top in this year’s competition included Millie Bromwich, Lucy Hipkiss, Charlie Hotchkiss, Tommy Davies, Cam Murphy and Ryan Ligus, who were at the Ryman store in Shrewsbury for the launch of their product.

Millie said: “We were a bit nervous about the presentation because there were so many people there, including Theo Paphitis, but it went well and we really enjoyed it. It’s great to see the pencil case on sale in store and to know that it’s a product we created.”

Ben Dyer, Founder and Managing Director, National Enterprise Challenge, added: “Without the support of organisations such as OCR, we simply could not run this invaluable project. Over 21,000 students took part in the competition, which involved pitching to nearly 1,000 people. To pitch so convincingly at such a young age is a real achievement, and credit should be given to both the students at The Priory and their teachers for all their hard work.” 

As well as supporting entrepreneurs at grass-roots level through the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge, OCR supports business enterprise through its own bespoke set of qualifications, including the award in Business Enterprise (levels 1-2), which provides candidates with a high quality, vocational qualification that allows young people to further develop and underpin their knowledge of business strategy and logistics.

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