Children go into the dragons’ den

Year 6 students at Chantry Middle School who have created a play with the help of Northumbria University students as part of the Design for Change project.
Year 6 students at Chantry Middle School who have created a play with the help of Northumbria University students as part of the Design for Change project.

BUDDING business brains at a Morpeth school impressed in the boardroom and in front of a set of dragons.

Groups at Chantry Middle School also took to the stage to discuss and perform their ideas about improving facilities in the town for residents and how to build up its flood defences.

Year 6 pupils from each of the school houses — Bertram, DeMerlay, Greystoke and Middleton — were given a task by Northumbria University students, who were doing a degree project.

All students had a role, either as part of one large group or in smaller groups, and they took part in presentations in the main school hall.

Head of Year Gillian Naylor said: “The pupils have recently done their SATs exams, so this was a chance for them to do something a bit different.

“They have all worked very hard on their projects and some of them have shown skills we weren’t aware of, from acting to coming up with good entrepreneurial ideas.

“Their parents have taken a keen interest in what they have been doing and many of them came along to watch their children on stage.”

DeMerlay pupils performed their version of TV’s The Apprentice.

Their task was to come up with a new leisure complex, on the site of the former Davidson’s garage near Telford Bridge, and present their ideas to a panel of Chantry teachers and Northumbria University lecturers.

Layla Shafiq was Project Manager of the Piranha team, which devised an adventure park to include tree top activities and a Laser Quest.

She said: “My favourite part of the task was making a model of the site out of cardboard and boxes. I really enjoyed doing the task and learned some business skills.”

Jack Wright, who was part of the Argos 360 team, said: “We put in things that we believe would be well used, such as a swimming pool, climbing wall, zip-wiring, a restaurant and ten pin bowling. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed pitching the idea on stage in a suit.”

Greystoke did a version of Dragons’ Den and pupils were asked to come up with a facility for the site to encourage healthy living and exercise.

Their ‘Tanglemania’ idea, which included a range of outdoor pursuits, was presented to the panel of adults and after some bargaining they secured some investment.

Anna Rodger, who was part of the team, said: “It was pretty hectic because once we came up with our idea, we then worked on the script and the day before the presentation we went to get our costumes. I enjoyed performing on the stage and these activities helped our teamwork skills.”

Middleton came up with a community centre for the same bit of land which would benefit a cross section of Morpeth residents.

Their performance was based on a debate, with pupils speaking for and against the ideas.

For all three houses, pupils visited the site and went up Ha’ Hill to get an aerial view.

Bertram looked at the town’s flood defences and performed a role play to present their ideas about what could be done to absorb the river water.

Max Turnbull, who played the part of a reporter, said: “I enjoyed this task. We went out in Morpeth to speak to members of the public and I interviewed the Morpeth Flood Action Group about the current flood defence situation.”

The pupils had support from Early Primary Education degree students at Northumbria University, who linked up with the school through its Design for Change project.

Student Zoe Thomson said: “It was a very worthwhile experience for us as we got to follow the project through from start to finish and see the pupils’ enjoyment throughout the two weeks.

Fellow student Rachel Smith added: “The pupils really got into their tasks and we were impressed with the ideas they came up with.”