A LEAP ahead in Business for Year 12

The winning team of the Clayesmore LEAP Business Challenge 2018, Volcano Springs theme park

Clayesmore’s LEAP programme, or the academic extension programme for the Year 12, took place in the last two weeks of June which were filled with an impressive array of activities, such as educational visits and physical or problem solving challenges designed to allow teachers to use different and creative methods and to encourage students to work independently outside the classroom. LEAP stands for Leadership, Employability, Academic, Progress, and is an exciting new initiative for Clayesmore’s lower sixth form students – a programme of extension and enrichment based firmly around the academic subjects they are studying, with the freedom for both students and teachers to extend their thinking beyond the syllabus.

One of these extension projects was the Business LEAP challenge. Back in May, the Business Department were excited to welcome Mark Fisher, the Chief Development Officer for Merlin Entertainment, to give our Year 12 Business students an overview of, and insights into, the company’s theme parks business, including ongoing challenges that they face. The talk was a great success, with all students walking away enthused about the entertainment industry.

The practical phase of the challenge started with a visit to Thorpe Park in mid-June, where the students got a behind-the-scenes tour and presentation on the workings of one of Britain’s most popular theme parks. 

After their immersion day at Thorpe Park, Mr Fisher tasked the students to plan, design and market a new theme park. Their five-minute sales pitches were to be produced in video format, along with some supporting material on market and competitive research, business forecasts including footfall predictions and financial analysis, as well as marketing plans, most of which were based on online and social media campaigns without forgetting more traditional methods such as attention grabbing TV adverts and coupon promotions in print media. Another part of the challenge was the teams’ reflection on their own work, evaluating the challenges they faced in the process and identifying improvement areas.

Judges included a member of Clayesmore’s own academic staff with first hand experience in business, a member of our Support staff with a background in advertising, branding and sustainability, a Senior Manager at Price Waterhouse Cooper specialising in business analysis, and of course Mark Fisher himself. They gave thoughtful, constructive comments to all ten competing teams, and the winners were announced in a small prize-giving event at the Clayesmore Business School on Monday 2 July. 

The winning theme park idea, Volcano Springs, had five different amusement areas rolled into one mega-park and was designed by April, Callum, Hetty and India. The judges remarked on the winning concept: “You clearly worked very hard and this was evident in the quality of what you produced.”

Elsa, Finn and Nell came second with their topically themed Eco Island concept, and in third place was Raceway, a theme park designed around the Silverstone circuit and aimed at petrol heads, wich was put together by Archie, Harry M and Will.

Miss Laura Downton, Clayesmore Business Teacher and the leader of the Business LEAP Challenge, commented:
“This year was the first time we have embarked on such a project and, although there are things we could improve to make this a better experience for us all, the overall feeling is very positive. This project was an opportunity to get our students to think ‘outside of the box’, manage their time, be creative, work as a team (even when the going got tough) and demonstrate their portfolio of skills. We saw some excellent pitches demonstrating a real ‘buy in’ to the project and consequently a real sense of achievement from the groups in what they had achieved with simply a bit of solid teamwork.”


Clayesmore Business LEAP Challenge 2018Clayesmore Business LEAP Challenge 2018
Clayesmore Business LEAP Challenge 2018Clayesmore Business LEAP Challenge 2018