City Academy Norwich students are running a shop

A teenage head girl who was on the brink of leaving City Academy Norwich because of money worries has stayed on after being offered a wage to set up and run a new shop.

Serena Guy is managing CAN CAN Shop at the Academy with business partner and fellow student Nicola Holt.

The pair, who are both using the experience as part of their business studies A-level course, admitted to first-day nerves on Wednesday as the shop opened for business.

And Serena, 17, from Hutchinson Road, Earlham, told how her business break had enabled her to stay at the academy into its sixth form.

She said: 'I was head girl at the school and they asked me if I was going to stay on. I said I was going to have to do a course at City College Norwich because I needed to do a job in the city.

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'I don't get the education maintenance allowance and said I couldn't afford to stay at City Academy. The principal was there was I was speaking about it and said he would come up with something within a week.'

Serena, who is studying business and PE at City Academy and psychology at City College Norwich, added: 'He came back and asked if I would like a job running a shop in the school. I was very happy to do that.'

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Serena had to come up with a costed business plan and carry out market research among the students to decide what to sell.

She also recruited her business partner Nicola, 16, from George Fox Way, West Earlham, who said yesterday: 'I wanted to support her and thought it would be a good experience. I'm a bit nervous, though.'

Serena said the shop would be selling stationery, plus snacks, drinks, gloves and umbrellas. She added that the plan was to extend the offer, to include seasonal gifts at Easter and Comic Relief goods.

She said: 'I'm looking forward to it being up and running now.'

Eleanor Mason, head of the academy's enterprise faculty, said: 'We are trying to get a retail element into the school. My getting more involved on the retail side coincided with the situation with Serena.

'The principal David Brunton and I came up with the idea of starting the school shop and paying a wage for it to be run. We found a little office in the school that we could convert and Serena drew up a business plan and carried out market research.'

She added: 'We loaned her �50 for the initial stock, but she will have to pay that back.'

Mrs Mason said: 'She's a very bright student. It would have been a shame if she couldn't afford to progress into further education here.'

The shop will be open every lunchtime on school days.

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