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A North-East charity that connects education with the world of business is urging Primary schools in the region to follow the enterprising example of a school in Darlington to win the chance of a £5000 prize. Newcastle based charity, Primary Inspiration Through Enterprise - PIE - recently named Reid Street Primary School in Darlington as the North-East's most enterprising school after they won the final challenge in a unique project.
The challenge helped young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed in both the education system and the world of work. Students worked in partnership with local businesses including IT Systems, Bannatynes and ITEC North East. The competition involved a number of team building and task oriented activities and a full day of enterprise where the students designed, made and sold items for profit. Part of the prize money was then donated by the school to St Teresa's Hospice in Darlington.
Angela Robinson, director of business at Reid Street Primary School, said: "This was a massive team effort from the school, with Mark Hill our pioneer and Joanne Davison, Claire Kelly and Trevor Alley our chair of governors taking an active part in leading the way with 17 of our pupils.
"Our pupils are so proud to be the most enterprising school in the North-East."
The challenge is just one of a number of ways that the charity has helped forge links with education and business since its inception in 2013. Since then, it has engaged with more than 4000 students and worked with around 90 schools across the region. The charity estimates that more than 20,000 hours of in-kind support has been donated by the 300 businesses who have pledged to help make a difference to the young people taking part.
PIE is now looking for more schools to apply before the closing date of 12th October so that they too have a chance of winning £5000 for their school and receive vocational qualifications for their students.
Ammar Mirza CBE, founder of the PIE Project, is no stranger to championing skills and student achievements in the North-East and he is looking forward to involving more schools in the future projects.
"We've already a number of schools signed up for the next challenge but there is room for more. The more schools we get on-board, the more children we can prepare for the world of work," he said.
"Projects such as ours are very much on the Government's agenda. The School's Commissioner is now asking schools to prepare children for the world of work and our work supports that.
"What we do within the PIE Project is teach essential skills that will shape children's future careers at a very early stage in the education process. Working with Primary schools is key to developing young people before other influencing factors present themselves and this gives us the chance to provide unique opportunities to teach, support and guide them. "
"We are now looking for new Primary schools to take part in our future activities and if the results we have achieved so far are anything to go by, then we stand to make a considerable difference to the future lives of thousands of North-East children."
And it's not just the children that PIE engages with. The project looks upon the involvement of parents, teachers and businesses as equally important parts of the success process.
"We've adopted a unique, holistic approach to education, business and life skills that we bring together for the development of the pupils. Thanks to our business model and strong partnerships we can and will make the education of our region's young people a driving force for the future," said Mr Mirza.
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