Pupils become oil traders at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston

Pupils gained an insight into the fast-paced world of the stock market this week by competing as oil traders.

Youngsters at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston put their maths skills to the test during a Trading Challenge Roadshow run by BP on Monday.

Head of mathematics David Ball said: 'The challenge involved the students looking at how to trade on the stock market, all based on the price of crude oil. They learned about supply and demand and bear markets and bull markets.

'It gave them a chance to see maths skills in action and how they are used in the world beyond the classroom.

'It also gave them an insight into where oil is used, from clothes and deodorants to plastic, as well as petrol and diesel. They learned a lot, and not just about mathematics.'


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The pupils were divided into groups of three or four in which each played a role, such as market analyst, accountant or manager.

They were then faced with making decisions based on news stories about events, such as hurricanes, which can affect the price of oil. The winning team was the one with the highest share value at the end of the day.

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Pupil Sophie Long said: 'It was really good as it gave us an insight into the actual business world and helped us understand how events in the world affect these businesses.'

Tom Parsons said: 'It helped us develop skills that we can use in other areas such as working under pressure and meeting deadlines.'

Ruth Melton said: 'We were put into groups with people we don't normally work with in school – good preparation for the workplace.'

Headteacher Richard Cranmer added: 'In a world where the focus is very much on academic achievement, this enabled students to understand what the workplace is really like and was clearly inspirational in raising aspirations.'

Manish Vadgama, senior logistics manager with the BP Enterprising Science Team, said: 'Enterprising Science is designed to inspire young people around the subjects of science, maths and enterprise.

'The roadshow is a fast-paced trading game where students trade oil, react to market news and manage budgets. The goal is to make a profit and work well as a team.'

He said it was created in consultation with the London 2012 Organising Committee to give youngsters a taste of the competitive world of business, while also allowing them to explore three of the seven Olympic and Paralympic values – determination, respect and excellence – and how they also apply outside the world of sport.

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