Wells school opens new business centre

A newly-refurbished classroom with soft seating and laptops for a north Norfolk school's budding entrepreneurs has been officially opened.

Alderman Peel High School, at Wells, launched its new business, administration and finance diploma this September with the new centre opening this week.

The equivalent of seven A* to C-grade GCSEs, it aims to equip pupils with practical knowledge of running a business.

The school's assistant head teacher Bal Tawana said he wanted to ensure students could learn in a setting in keeping with what the course was teaching.

He said: 'It feels different - it's a little like a boardroom. They have got soft chairs and a laptop each. It's all about making it feel real.'

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As he helped officially open the new classroom, Viscount Coke, of Holkham Hall, which manages a number of different businesses on the north Norfolk estate, said he had to wait until much later in life to learn the skills the students were being taught.

He said: 'Some of these guys are 14 years old. When I was that age, I never had any idea of business. I wasn't given that opportunity at school.'

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Viscount Coke was particularly impressed that the youngsters had chosen to take the course of their own accord. 'That's what's going to motivate them,' he said.

The diploma includes elements of English, maths and information technology, but stresses the importance of being able to apply that knowledge to a practical situation.

As well as visiting local businesses to find out how they work, the year 10 students have been tasked with starting up a real business in the school.

Groups have chosen to sell Christmas cards, milkshakes and offer DJ-ing lessons to their fellow pupils.

Oliver Lees, 14, said the lessons were already attracting a lot of interest. He added: 'We will charge �2 a lesson, which is half an hour, and they can do an extra half an hour for �3 - so they feel they are getting a good deal.'

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