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Dragons’ Den test Liberal Arts students

Posted on: 6th November 2013 | Category: Commitment to communities

Dragons’ Den is a competition where budding entrepreneurs try to sell their ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’, who hold significant cash rewards as well as promises of developmental support and advice.  Our Liberal Arts students have a half term session examining how to set up and run a charity, and this work leads to a two week period in the Winter term where they go ‘into the field’ to work with a chosen charity.  Our Charity Dragons’ Den, modelled on the original format, enabled all girls on the Liberal Arts programme to work in teams, and to make a presentation to the dragons’ panel of the charity they wanted to support.  Questioning by the four dragons was rigorous, and girls had to answer a range of questions to demonstrate their understanding of the charity itself, the sponsoring company, the work that would be involved, and risks and costs associated with the project. At each stage one team dropped out until the thrilling final. Eventually the vote went with a project based in Ban Nam Khem, Thailand (around 2 hours north of Phuket), supporting deprived school children, where girls will help to teach English and to devise games and activities for the children to enjoy.  As part of their preparation the girls will undertake an online course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which will be invaluable and will also help their own language development.

Dragons’ Den was significant for us in many ways: it fulfilled our aim of developing leadership and teamwork, and promoting social responsibility and concern: and it also gave girls the chance to present in public in very difficult circumstances, (in front of the whole school).  Bearing in mind that only one of the students had English as her first language it was a remarkable achievement. The event was filmed, and will be displayed on the web as soon as editing is complete. We thank our dragons: Mr Mark Malley, CEO of Bellevue Education; Mr Paul Varnish, former Investment Bank Senior Director turned entrepreneur; Michelle Desillets, Founder of Orangutan Land Trust; and Mrs Penney, our headmistress. Most of all our thanks go to Miss Foxton who initiated the competition and prepared the girls, with the able support of Miss Ford.

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