My best lesson - On the right track with a healthy competition

28th February 2014 at 00:00
Selling a physical product is a great opportunity for students to practise their business and enterprise skills, and enjoy a bit of healthy competition as they vie to outsell rival teams. Doing it for charity makes the task all the more worthwhile

Our school has mixed-age houses that compete against each other throughout the year for everything from attendance levels to merit marks. So, challenging a team per house to sell wristbands for charity event Sport Relief fits perfectly within this environment. The sixth-form business students (aged 16-18) in particular can develop their mentoring skills by leading the teams and stretching the younger students.

We started by getting the business students to think about the four Ps of marketing - product, price, place and promotion - and asked them to link these principles to selling the wristbands. Students could compete for different roles in their house team - sales, marketing and so on - and representatives pitched their team's ideas to the heads of house, who selected the best idea to take forward.

With a level playing field in terms of product and price, it was clear that the teams would have to concentrate on how best to place and promote the product and come up with innovative ways to attract custom and add value to each wristband. If they marketed the idea properly, students would want to buy more than one wristband. For example, teams might offer a free biscuit or cupcake for the second or third wristband bought, or suggest that buyers sell them on at their local youth club.

At the end of each week, each team calculated its profit. Results were analysed in business lessons to identify the key to the winning team's success. As the Sport Relief date approaches (21 March), we are planning a whole-school assembly to celebrate participation and perhaps even hand over the money to a representative from Sport Relief.

Liz Fennell is head of business at Ark Putney Academy in London. Sport Relief is taking place in schools on 21 March. Order your wristbands at www.sportrelief.comwristbandsforschools.

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