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Enterprising pupils step into the Dragon’s Den

Six teams of entrepreneurial Renfrewshire school pupils faced a panel of ‘dragons’ in a bid to win funding for their social enterprise ideas.

A community cinema, a nail bar, a school newspaper, a library, an internet course for older people and sugar and gluten-free lollipops were the ideas selected for this year’s school’s Dragon’s Den finale.

The final event took place at West College Scotland, Paisley Campus, where the six finalist teams were invited to present their ideas to the ‘dragons’ before they selected this year’s overall winner, Gryffe High School.

The Gryffe High team were also named as the secondary school winners and awarded £600 towards their community cinema idea.

All the finalists of the Dragons Den competition with the Dragons

Winners in the primary school category were Wallace Primary for their idea of creating a library for the primary and nursery children.

The Pre-five category winners were Our Lady of Peace Nursery for their ‘Little Lollipop League’ plan to use sugar/gluten-free lollipops to raise awareness of road safety.

The trophies were presented by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall.

The Dragons this year were Liz Connolly, Vice Principal of the College, James Lang, Marketing Director Scottish Leather Group, Jay Lamb, Social Enterprise Academy, Alison Dowling, Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union, Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Gaynor Hutton, Project Oskar, Kibbleworks.

Provost Hall said: “I’d like to congratulate the winners Gryffe High, as well as each of the finalists who all did a fantastic job coming up with and presenting really impressive, viable business ideas.

“The schools’ Dragon’s Den competition is an excellent way of getting young people thinking about running a business as well as giving back to their community in some way.

“I’d also like to thank the sponsors for their support and contributions in making this event possible each year.
“It was a fantastic night. All of the teams did an excellent job, especially the children from Our Lady of Peace Nursery who were very good despite it being a late night for them.”

Winners Gryffe High with their cheque from the Dragons

This year’s finalists were:

Our Lady Of Peace Nursery – The Little Lollipop League
The plan is to sell sugar/gluten-free lollipops to raise awareness of road safety issues in the community.

With roadworks being a feature of the local landscape in recent times, the young people have identified the risks they face on a daily basis and wish to make others aware of these dangers.
They were awarded £400 towards their enterprise.

Arkleston Primary – Resident Nail Bar
The business idea is to run a Nail Bar/Salon, in Arkleston Primary, for all pupils, staff and parents of the school, and residents and families of Renfrew Care Home.
The young people wish to build on the strong intergenerational links that already exist between the school and Renfrew Care Home by providing a high quality, professional service.
The ‘dragons’ awarded the project £400.

St James’ Primary School – St James’ Primary Monthly Express
The young people of St James’ Primary wish to start a school newspaper which will be sold sell to parents and the local community.

The enterprise will be led by the school’s ‘Big News Press Team’ and aims to involve the local community in the life of the school whilst improving levels of attainment in literacy.
The ‘dragons’ awarded the project £400.

Wallace Primary School – Wallace World of Books
Pupils at Wallace Primary are eager to establish a library which services the primary school and nursery.
The aim is to provide a space where young people can borrow books and improve their reading ability.
As winners of the primary category, the team were awarded £500.

Gleniffer High School – Silver Fox Surfers
A group of current S4 pupils will be offering a four week (one per term) Web Wise course for senior citizens in the local area.

The young people aim to run a successful business which enhances the lives of the older generation living in the community as well as providing them with a new skill set.
The project was awarded £500.

Gryffe High School – Gryffe Movie Theatre
Gryffe High’s business idea is to run a community cinema from the theatre within the school.
Creation of a community hub in the area is important to the young people of Gryffe High and they see huge potential in this enterprise.
The team were awarded £600 towards their project.

Overall winning team Gryffe High

Dragon’s Den is sponsored by Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, West College Scotland and Clydesdale Bank. Scottish Leather Group also joined as a new sponsor this year.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

School meals pilot serves up a treat for pupils

Pupils in St Catherine’s Primary School in Paisley have given a pilot school meals service the thumbs-up.

The school catering service has been revised following feedback from pupils, head teachers and parent councils to provide a modernised approach to school meals, with the new service piloted in six schools in Renfrewshire

The service has moved away from a traditional meal to a ‘Grab & Go’ and ‘Dine in Day’ service.

The ‘Grab & Go’ menu, offered four days a week, gives pupils three choices of two-course meal options – two hot meals and a third cold option. One day a week, a ‘Dine in Day’ restaurant-style service is provided with pupils selecting their own menu choices. A morning break service and pre-order system ensures a speedy service for pupils, and once a month there are themed menus.

The dining halls have also been rebranded to offer a more modern, fresh environment for children to eat and socialise in.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “We are investing in the school catering service to deliver a modern service that meets the wishes of pupils and parents.

“Pupils also told us they wanted to be able to spend more time with their friends during breaks, so the ‘Grab & Go’ menu allows them to do this, with the service more efficient and faster than before.

“Pupils are also encouraged to ‘do your bit’ to recycle food packaging to contribute towards the schools eco committee and green flag status.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of the Education Policy Board, said: “Catering and teaching staff are working well together to deliver the pilot approach at St Catherine’s Primary.

“There has been an increase in both paid and free meal pupils now opting to have a school meal proving that the pupils are enjoying the new style of service and menu choices.”

Teresa Brown, head teacher of St Catherine’s Primary, said: “Everyone has been enjoying this new approach to school meals. The ‘Grab & Go’ menu makes time available to pupils to have their lunch and then be able to play during the break. Pupils are also able to vote for the ‘Dine in Day’ option from an extensive list of options and have it served to them at the table. One pupil said that the ‘Dine in Day’ was ‘Just like a dinner party.’”

The pilot will be evaluated by pupils and parents before the summer holidays.  The feedback will be used to refine and extend the service throughout primary schools across Renfrewshire.


Schools issue pupil registration reminder to Renfrewshire parents

Parents of Renfrewshire kids due to start school in 2013 are being issued a reminder to register next week.

Arrangements have been made in Renfrewshire schools to register all children who reach five years of age between 1 March 2013 and 28 February 2014.

Pupils whose surnames begin with the initials A-L should be registered at their catchment school on Wednesday 16 January.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1Pupils with surnames starting M-Z should be registered on Thursday 17 January. On both dates, registration will take place between 1 and 3pm.

Parents are required to produce their child’s birth certificate and two proofs of residence.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “Sending your little one to school is always a big moment, so it’s worth getting things off on the right foot by registering correctly.

“Registration with your catchment school is a fairly simple process so please make sure you go along on the right date and have all the necessary documentation.”

Parents wishing their child to attend a school outwith their catchment area need to make a placing request. Placing request forms are available from catchment schools upon registration.

For more information on school registration, call 0300 300 0170 or visit


Schools Dragons’ Den Event

Seven teams of school pupils in Renfrewshire faced a panel of ‘dragons’ in a bid to win financial backing for each of their school’s social enterprise projects.
Projects including a mobile beauty service, a wormery to help break down rubbish into compost, a project to clean up a local forest, a service supplying affordable school uniforms, a nail bar, a school newspaper and a Fairtrade Cafe were all successful in the Schools’ Dragons’ Den Event.
The event, organised by Renfrewshire Council, was open to all Renfrewshire schools with the aim of giving young people practical experience in social enterprise and financial education.
Councillor Lorraine Cameron, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “The Dragons’ Den project is a fantastic way to get young people thinking about finances and how to run a viable business. It’s also a great opportunity for teamwork and giving back to their local communities. It’s wonderful to see the range of different ideas presented by the winners and the level of thought they’ve put into their business plans. I’d like to congratulate all of them on their success and look forward to hearing how their businesses are getting on in future.”
All entrants had to submit a business plan which identified how much funding their project would need to make their business sustainable. A key element was also to focus on social enterprise that would in some way give back to the community.
A shortlist of seven finalists were selected to go up in front of the panel to present their ideas and take questions on the viability and the social enterprise aspect of their idea.
On the night, held at Reid Kerr College, all seven projects impressed the judges enough to secure funding.
The five ‘dragons’ were Social Entrepreneur Jay Lamb, Jim Lally from Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), Audrey Cumberford, vice principal of Reid Kerr College, Linda Wilson from Clydesdale Bank and Alison Dowling from Renfrewshire Credit Union.

The seven winning projects were:
Mary Russell School,
Project title: Vermi Good
Vermi-composting is the process of using earthworms to break down kitchen and garden waste materials into quality, nutrient-rich compost and concentrated liquid feed. This project will provide the pupil ‘gardeners’ with compost and liquid fertiliser for their flower and vegetable gardens, potted plants and potato barrels.
It will support the school’s eco status and will encourage pupils and staff to be responsible for appropriate disposing of their rubbish. It will help the pupils develop an interest in their local environment by recycling rubbish, care for the environment, lower their carbon footprint.
Our Lady of Peace Primary School
Project title: Ecoforms
The school plan to open a shop selling recycled uniforms as a practical way for pupils to see how they can reduce their carbon footprint by re-using items of clothing which are still in good condition. It will be set up and run by pupils, giving them real business experience and the opportunity to learn about teamwork, good communications, coping with problems.
Paisley Grammar School
Project title: Bringing Glamour to the Grammar
Pupils who have completed a City and Guilds Beauty course have already raised money for charity by offering a nail-painting and hand massage service to staff. They plan to establish a full nail and beauty bar in the school to open the service up to staff and pupils raising regular funds for charity. They would also use funds raised to offer a free mobile treatment service to residents of a nearby care home. The care home manager has welcomed the proposal.
Auchenlodment Primary
Project title: Fantastic Forests
The school plans to further develop partnerships it has with the rangers, community wardens and Forestry Commision to clean up the wood which surrounds the school. The aim being that the woods can be used by the local community. This would also help develop children’s interest in local wildlife, and actively involve children in improving their local area, and attract the public to the woods.
Bushes Primary School
Project title: Sparkles Nail Salon
The school plans to run a weekly nail salon service which sees pupils convert the maths bay in the school into a nail bar. The business runs every Friday and the service is available to staff and pupils. A large part of the profits go to charity. The project is part of the school’s leadership and active learning. The P7 girls who run the nail bar will create a training manual and work with a team of P6 children to carry on the nail bar when they go to secondary school.
Bushes Primary will be presented with a 2010 Social Enterprise School Award by Finance Secretary John Swinney at a ceremony in Glasgow this month.

St Fillan’s Primary
Project Title: Fairtrade Cafe
The business plan involves setting up a Fairtrade cafe which would use the profits it makes to sustaining the service. They would also implement four enterprise drives each year to increase their profit margin. The profits would be divided between four charities: sponsoring a guide dog, supporting businesses in the third world, the school fund for developing ICT in the school and SCIAF which helps children in Africa.
Trinity High School
Project Title: School Magazine
The aim is to develop the success of the existing school magazine called The Trinity Times by expanding readership and making it more attractive and colourful to readers. The team want to produce a colour version of the magazine in response to complaints from readers about it being only in black and white. The magazine celebrates the many achievement of pupils, staff and parents in particular on issues affecting the wider community.
The magazine has been nominated for Best Feature Article and Best Commercial Strategy in the Scottish Schools Magazine Competition.