Special educational needs pupils from Kingston scoop top business prize
Students with special educational needs scooped the top prize for the best company after setting up their own business.
The St Philips School pupils cheered on hearing the results of the John Laing Charitable Trust Team Programme Final, which sees youngsters with learning difficulties or disabilities set up and run their own company.
The 20 Kingston students designed, produced and sold a range of bags made from old jeans for their winning company, called Twinkle Treats.
The enterprising 15-year-olds also set up a shopping service for staff at their school, where they did their weekly shop for a charge of 25p a time.
Their teacher Wendy Reeve said: "The students are absolutely thrilled to bits to have won the top award. They have worked so hard for this and gained so much confidence along the way. They’ve enjoyed every minute of it."
The unique business competition, which was held at Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf, on Thursday, May 24, saw 11 schools taking part, including a second Kingston school, Dysart.
The Dysart students, who named their business Dysart Designs, painted ceramic plates and dishes which they then sold at the Surbiton farmers market.
Competition Judge Cathy Jones, Head of Community Outreach at Clifford Chance, said:"I’ve judged the competition now for several years and each year I am incredibly impressed with what the students have achieved.
"The Team Programme helps them develop in confidence, learn effective work and social skills and gives them the opportunity to work with adults outside the home or school environment."
The programme is the only of its kind in the country and is designed to help young people who have difficulties with learning or disabilities learn about business and set up their own companies.
Programme manager Miranda Hoogewerf said: "Many students have got the opportunity to demonstrate their skills for potential employers and for some it is incredible achievement in itself to come on the stage at the final and speak in front a large audience of people."