Greenside School for pupils with severe learning difficulties in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has been running the Team Enterprise scheme for four years. The programme is designed flexibly for special needs students, and enables them to set up and run a company.
Students complete a record of achievement and are awarded a certificate for completion of the programme. Audio tapes are available for blind or partially-sighted students.
At Greenside School this year a group of 16 students have run Second Edition, manufacturing and selling egg-timers, place-mats and door-signs.
Greenside's headteacher, Anne Biglands, says the main benefit is the enjoyment. "They find it valuable, stimulating and motivating.
"It gives them an understanding of work both on site and off site. They do all aspects of the work - research, design and marketing - and learn the use of modern technologies such as fax, telephone and computer. And it involves them in a decision-making process."
The use of Team Enterprise at the school was praised in a recent inspection by the Office for Standards in Education.
"What the students produce has to be good. So they have got to put their heart and soul into it.
"These students are learning the skills they will need as adults: handling money, interpersonal skills with the public. These are all plusses for our students."