Rhyddings Business & Enterprise School and Cassons ~ 2015

Working together through Business Class programme of Business in the Community

We had been seeking an opportunity to work with a local school and were delighted to become involved with the Business Class programme of Business in the Community which, at the time, was establishing a cluster of schools in the Hyndburn area.    Each participating school needed a business to partner with them.  We were paired with Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School in Accrington and have made a commitment to run a project each term with them for 3 years.

Business Class has been set up to help students in disadvantaged areas, and research dated November 2015 (Research report 'Destiny should not be determined by demography') is proving that:

  • Business Class fills an important gap – young people are likely to experience two additional employability and enterprise activities, and these additional activities are shown to reduce their likelihood  of  becoming NEET by up to 20%  (NEET = Not in Education, Employment or Training)
  • Young people given the opportunity to take part in employer engagement activities are 13% more likely to have alignment between their academic activities and their career aspirations  - this improves their chances of building successful working lives
  • Long-term term partnerships between a school and a single business appear most successful
  • Intensive activities – those that feature a degree of one-to-one engagement – have more impact on young people as they include an element of  valuable feedback

Over the summer of 2014 we established the needs of Rhyddings School and how we would be able to help them especially as many of the children have minimal opportunities for access to a work / office environment. The projects were agreed to be:  

  1. to provide inspiration to year 11 students and encourage the Able Gifted and Talented pupils to consider 6th form / college / university / aspirational jobs.
  2. to “bring maths to life” for the year 10 top set maths group who were struggling to see the value and importance of  maths.
  3. to give the business studies students exposure to a business environment

March 2015

Rhyddings 1One of the school’s challenges was for the students to believe that they could consider 6th form and further education, and that more aspirational careers could be available to them. In March 2015 the school’s Year 11 ‘Able Gifted and Talented’ group visited Cassons for a discussion session with 7 of our members of staff, 5 of whom had relatively recently been at school, college or university.    Each member of our team gave a short description of their own education and career route and why they chose this avenue. There were discussions with the students about how to look at sources of funding and how to manage a budget while at university.

Rhyddings 2I would like to again thank you for the excellent programme you offered our GAT students yesterday. It gave the young people a fantastic opportunity to consider the options that are available and I don't think I can emphasis enough how valuable this kind of activity is for young people at this stage in their education.  The programme was interesting and informative and you made us all feel extremely welcome. I appreciate how much time is required planning events like this!”

Mrs Carmel Cunliffe, Business Manager
Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School

May 2015

In May 2015 we arranged for the year 10 top set maths group to have a full day at Moorhouse’s Brewery.  We wanted the pupils to see firsthand how maths is used on a day to day basis.  We felt it was important for the exercise to take place away from an accountancy office where the children would assume maths was required. We wanted to them to realise how maths is applied in other work situations.

We arranged for the pupils to have a tour of the brewery and a day of Rhyddings 4maths exercises. From working out the impact of changes in the price of ingredients to looking at the different roles accountants play in the workplace, the event helped the students develop a clearer understanding of how the maths they study at school applies in the real world. See video above.

Cassons put considerable time into creating a workbook for the pupils to use and five Cassons people were working in small groups with the students all day along, with 3 members of the school (partner Peter Johnson, accounts senior Simon Read, accounts trainee Scarlett Parry, head of marketing Jill Murray and marketing coordinator Michael Beal).

Rhyddings 5Paul Mercer, maths teacher at Rhyddings said: “It’s often difficult for students to imagine how maths can be applied in the world beyond the classroom, so visiting a company like Moorhouse’s gives them a great opportunity to see how the subject works in real life situations.”

November 2015

We were asked to give the school’s year 11 business studies pupils an insight into a typical business.  The class visited Cassons for half a day in November 2015.  We split the class into 3 small groups of 7 to 8 which then rotated between 3 workshops.

Session 1 - we introduced the students to the workings of a payroll office.  This was run by Agnes Flanagan our payroll manager, Sarah Colyer who is an assistant in the payroll department and Adam Dennis, payroll trainee.  As well as explaining everything from a payroll department (i.e. work) perspective, we also helped them understand what a payslip looks like and how to understand how much tax they will have to pay when they are working.

Session 2 - we looked into how an accounts department of a business works, using a made up case study of Ed Sheeran, looking at the paper flow resulting from merchandise sales, concerts etc. We also looked at bank statements and showed the pupils how to understand and check their own bank statements. This was run by Joanne Halsall, accounts manager, Dan Woods, newly qualified accountant and Peter Johnson, partner.

Session 3 - we looked at the type of marketing undertaken in a business to business situation and explained the background stories to Cassons Christmas videos and the story of Cassons (the story behind Cassons Xmas videos).  We then looked into the use of Facebook and the importance of your social media profile and understanding cookies. This session was run by Michael Beal, marketing coordinator and Jill Murray, head of marketing.

"We know from experience that bringing students into a workplace and putting the theory they learn at school into practice can make all the difference to their understanding of subjects and can often change their views of an industry or career.” 

Clare Hutchinson, NW Regional Education Manager Business in the Community - which manages the Business Class programme.

Developing the programmes with Rhyddings also provides opportunities for the personal development of Cassons staff. A great deal of thought and preparation goes into the sessions and the actual presentation of the materials is in itself challenging. We estimate that 175 hours of partner, senior manager and other fee earning staff time have been invested by Cassons into the Rhyddings project during 2015.

“We can also see that Cassons will benefit too; there is much that we can learn from the staff and pupils, and sessions with the students provide a great platform for our own people to learn and develop, especially our younger members of staff.” Les Nutter, Managing Partner Cassons business advisers LLP.

Michael Beal, Cassons“Working with Rhyddings has been a fantastic project to be part of – it’s been great that my thoughts and ideas for the initiative have been used to help the students. It wasn’t very long ago that I was their age, unsure of what the rest of my career would look like – it’s a very daunting time and hopefully having someone they can look to/ seek advice from will really help them. On a personal level it’s a great chance for me to develop my own skills and it was a real highlight of my 2015 working year.
Michael Beal, Marketing Coordinator
Cassons business advisers LLP.

We are exceptionally proud of the relationship we have been able to develop with Rhyddings School and very much hope that we have been able to make a difference. We look forward to the next two years of working with them.