Archive for the ‘Other News’ Category


On Tuesday 22nd January The Department Store Game left its development home at Sarah Bonnells School and went on tour to Eastlea School. Our wonderful Year 11 co-developees: Chanelle, Timera, Mollie, Zelda, Olamide, Shannon and Rochelle (all pictured) took the game into a group of 40 Year 9 business studies students and played the full game with them for 2 hours.

Variations in the original game now included a timed decision-making system when a bell dinged every time and ‘hour’ went past (usually about 5-7 minutes) and a new and improved use of the decision and finance cards.

After the game some of the players commented on how they enjoyed it:

“I learnt how to handle decisions and situations, share jobs and work out solutions.” Rubecca

“I learnt different types of managers and how many are needed in one department store.” Glancy

“I learned how to make important decsions on the spot and how to think like a manager.” Lee

(I enjoyed) “The level of communication & teamwork it prompts.” Hazel-anne

(Is the game like real life in a department store?) “Yes a lot because the game was hectic and stressful.” Ardita

And our Game Guides from Sarah Bonnell were equally buoyant:

“I learnt that I can be a leader.” Rochelle

(I learnt) “That I can put myself out without being conscious of myself.” Mollie

“I leant that I can overcome my shyness.” Timera

“I can control a group of girls / boys, confident and I’m a good leader.” Shannon

The girls are now keen to go on to another school and we’re hoping to get them a gig at Langdon. Keep watching 🙂


SCEP has had a distinctly different mood about it so far this academic year.

As we are still using the funding left over from the original project we are making sure when the project finally ends that there is a meaningful and ongoing legacy left in its place.

There are several big projects, with deep roots, that I’m hoping will live long past the project’s end.

(1) The Department Store Game. This is in its second incarnation and will continue to be refined until it’s playable within classes or across whole year groups.

(2) The Lend Lease Project. Currently due to run in four schools next term, with a further three awaiting confirmation. This project is not only popular with schools and students, but is hopefully going to lead to the formation of the Lend Lease Students’ Forum which could allow young people to be further involved in Lend Lease’s developments.

(3) See Me Website. This will be ready for populating and testing next term. The concept of which is to allow everyday people to upload their stories and / or advice for anyone not sure of what to do next in their career or life. predominantly for the 15-25yrs age range and will consist of hundreds of short, self-made videos that are searchable and viewable on phones as well as a PC. Lend Lease are looking into being the first company to upload videos. If the website is popular then the project has potential to be independently funded.

(4) Newham Business for Schools (NBfS). Though this is a working title, the idea is to evolve SCEP into a long-term business / schools / Newham forum that can continue to develop projects, make links and be of benefit to all parties.

Full Steam Ahead!

And here at SCEP Towers we’re gearing up to present NEBP’s new menu of offer to schools. As SCEP is part of NEBP’s work related learning offer I’ve been working on presenting a few additional programmes.

We’re incredibly fortunate to have Newham’s Skills Place at Westfield which is entirely devoted to running training connected to the retail industry. They have offered us an opportunity combine one of our courses with a retail certificate and chance to interview for an apprenticeship place.

At NEBP we think this is a great offer to schools and have added to it with an offer of our own to give students a whole day focussed on skills directly needed for the workplace. By providing a complete, ‘joined-up’ programme offering a real step into the workplace we hope schools will be keen to incorporate it into the curriculum for students more suited to this kind of learning.

This is a great example of the kinds of ways NEBP can work with SCEP to produce new curriculum options that could make a real difference to young people in Newham. NEBP’s new Menu of Offer will contain a number of SCEP projects that have become established enough to be offered alongside the more regular programmes.

So then, the schools are all closed now in Newham and the work of the summer begins.

I began my time with SCEP this time last year. The first few weeks and months of my summer last year were spent trying to grasp the concept and scope of all the projects that had taken place over the previous years. This year the summer activities with SCEP will be focussing on extending and embedding the projects we have focussed on last year. Also we have the materials to write for Siemen’s Crystal which is opening for schools in the new term.

Over the last year I have spent time getting back up to speed with the schools in Newham, where some have re-located to, who is new and who is still teaching on some 18 years after I first came to the borough. The changes I have seen alone in those some twenty years have been astonishing. The pace at which the part of east London has been regenerating has never let up. With or without the Olympics, Newham was ripe for bringing into the 21st century as a part of a new and emerging London. And now there’s real, tangible evidence of it all around us. It’s still simply the most exciting borough to be working in. I might even add it’s possibly the most exciting place in the UK.

Here’s to the next year 🙂

Part of the work we’re doing involves Siemens’ Crystal – based in the Royal Victoria Dock – and this week we took a group of teachers to see inside. The Crystal is currently being fitted out with all its exhibits ready to open in the autumn so when we got down there we had to don hard hats, high viz jackets, boots, protective eye-wear and gloves before we could go on site. Attractive!

Inside the exhibits are still being installed and the partitions erected so we could see how the layout was going to work and two of the designers were on hand to explain each of the sections and what would be in there when completed.

Nicki Della-Porter from dbda is developing the national school resources and took some great photos, in quite a tricky environment:

The next stage of the plan is to meet with the teachers then liaise with the designers so we can get a clear understanding of each of the exhibits and what kinds of information they are imparting. Then this summer’s task is to produce some great educational materials ready for the launch.

End of year round-up

Posted: June 18, 2012 in Other News

This week I have been pulling together a report to summarise the activities that SCEP have been involved in during my first year. I have uploaded it here under ‘Newsletters’.

It was a great exercise looking back over the year at all the projects both large and small and remembering all the people that I have got to know over the year. I also included stats on how many young people, schools and community groups I have been in contact with and was amazed to tot it all up. We have run projects that have included almost 1,500 students (some from across the world – Mission X), have included half of our secondary schools and both our tertiary institutions. And although primary education was not really my remit, we have also managed to engage a handful of primary schools – particularly with the Caravanserai project. I also realised how many projects I have linked with either as local government initiatives, charitable organisations or community run groups. Not to mention all the businesses that have helped us out with projects or people.

This coming Steering Committee meeting (Weds 20th) will map out the aims and objectives of SCEP for the coming academic year and decide on targets. Ideally I would like to be able to have projects running in all the secondary schools, but this is not always achievable. It would be good also to embed projects like Lend Lease Buildings into Communities into more schools and get the retail game out to more students, now that it is undergoing rigorous testing by Sarah Bonnell’s.

Next year could look very different indeed . . .

The Department Store Game was tested at Sarah Bonnell School this week with the aim of seeing if it was engaging enough for a group of students to get into.

There’s basically two aspects to the game: making management decisions and managing finances. Both aspects were well and truly tested and some lovely elements revealed themselves that I shall definitely being incorporating.

During the finance aspect of the game, the students get to roll a dice to determine either a % increase or decrease in takings. Much debate ensues as to who gets to roll the dice and how they employ the support of their various Gods / lucky charms / mystical entities to get the required number. I noticed this was a real aid to gelling the team and enabled them to get into the game quite quickly.

The other part of the game required the team to make decisions about various scenarios that might happen in a department store. The scenarios were basic outlines of a situation and the team had to decide what to do next.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that in many cases the scenarios really did require further clarity and, as a result, getting the team to establish exactly what was happening was both educational and very entertaining!

The testing also provided me with a better understanding of the playability of the whole game and so there are a number of tweaks and changes that will be made before its roll out at the end of June.

 OK so during adolescence the limbic brain is extremely active and it craves novelty and new experiences. It’s the perfect time for young people to get out there and try loads of things, push themselves and see what they’re capable of.

It’s also a great time for them to get out and about for a very different reason: colleges, universities, work placements and jobs are handling hundreds of different applications  – it’s essential that a young person knows how to make their application stand out, in a good way.

One way to stand out is to volunteer for something. Either as a one-off or regular occurrence and there are thousands of opportunities for young people to have a go at something new throughout the UK.

Whilst I’m sounding a little like an ad for the UK voluntary service – I do have my own take on this worthwhile activity. Bar my first application for a teaching job, some nineteen years ago, every job before and since I have either got through word of mouth or some sort of voluntary activity. Voluntary work not only broadens your horizons, makes you more interesting as a candidate, brings you into a network of new people, it can also be your passport to the work and career that interests you the most.

I’m always aware of the role I can play in schools. I see I can provide information and ideas about options and choices in our vast world of opportunity. And also, some sense of re-assurance that all the decisions don’t have to be made right now aged 12, 16, 21 or even at any specific point in life.

I wonder if the act of taking options in school actually starts  a useful process of elimination or increases the pressure to select.

As someone who enjoyed art and design at school, completed a degree in visual art and then went on to be an architectural designer I can say I found it ‘easy’ to decide what to do when faced with careers options at school. But now I understand a different story too. I left the world of design in my mid twenties because it no longer held fascination for me and I found I had to start all over again with ‘options’.

Then began several years of trying new things out. Teaching, coaching, training, management consultancy. Each time I’d be interested, but the interest would wane and I’d move on to something else. It was really only in the last few years when all my experiences began to come together and I found myself drawn back into education. I now know what my niche is: bringing the outside world into schools.

My point being that sometimes you don’t know what you want to do with your life because you haven’t done enough yet. So the idea about choosing something to focus on during, say, options can seem less daunting when you imagine you are only choosing something ‘for now’. Not forever.

I have been out and about a lot this week with planning meetings, Preparation  for KS4 lessons, Lend Lease Project finals and presentations and, oh yes, my meeting with the astronaut Paolo Nespoli today at Westfield. All of which I shall blog about next week when I have some photos – so hang on in there.

Today I wanted to make a comment about the attractive April ‘showers’ we have been experiencing recently. It varies (but not much) between blazing sunshine and torrential, flooding, drain cover-lifting rain. That doesn’t stop until at least half an hour after you needed to have got out of the car to attend a meeting. I have taken to carrying an umbrella, which is unheard of for me. Challenging times indeed.

But it does bring out the very thing I find the most endearing about the community in and around Newham. The sense of humour and spirit of just getting on with it. Whilst I was in John Lewis today I was examining their huge range of Olympic Games pin badges that they have on sale – 365 different ones to be precise. Some of which were definitely tongue-in-cheek, like the Olympic pin representing the good old English fry up, cream tea and, most appropriate, rain cloud, lightning and umbrella.

We may not have the best weather here in Britain. But it will not get us down!