Oakham School Headmaster Henry Price discusses why entrepreneurship is on the rise among young people and explores how the school is responding to this trend

With the wealth of opportunities that we offer our pupils both inside and outside the classroom, we are always seeking new and innovative ways to equip our girls and boys with the skills to succeed in life, whatever career path they may choose.

Last year saw us celebrate 20 years of offering the IB Diploma alongside A levels; providing a strong academic education for our pupils remains at the heart of everything we do. However, as we witness a rise in entrepreneurship across the country, we recognise this as an opportunity to nurture new skills in our pupils that may help them after leaving school or university.

Despite the barriers of the pandemic and the closed high streets across the UK, 2020 was termed the ‘Year of the Start-Ups’ with 770,000 new businesses being formed (May 2021 data from Tyl). Entrepreneurs used various methods to make and sell their products during lockdown and made a good contribution to the UK economy.

We have recently launched the Freddie Groome Enterprise Activity, which is in memory of late Old Oakhamian Freddie and encapsulates his joy and passion for enterprise. Generously supported by Freddie’s father, John Groome, the new programme is available to Year 12 students and will see them work together to set up and run a small business. Throughout the scheme, pupils will demonstrate a range of enterprising skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership. The course will finish with a market to sell the products that each business makes, as well an awards ceremony on Speech Day.

“What I believe all entrepreneurs have in common is the drive and passion to succeed and these are qualities that we strive to nurture”

A great number of Oakham School alumni have already gone on to set up successful businesses, a recent example being PrOganic, a mobile milkmaid service run by Jess Armitage. After leaving Oakham, Jess studied Business Management at Reading University and now has a highly successful business providing Rutland residents with delicious fresh organic, pasteurised, unhomogenised milk vended into reusable glass bottles.

Oakham Copy
Oakham’s careers hub is designed to help students access advice and networks after they leave the school

What I believe all entrepreneurs have in common is the drive and passion to succeed in their chosen field and these are qualities that we strive to nurture in our pupils. At Oakham School, we encourage our pupils to show courage and contribution from the earliest age by offering them a range of experiences to help them discover where their interests lie and make connections across their subjects and with other people. The Freddie Groome Enterprise Activity will be a welcome addition to the range of enrichment opportunities that we offer as part of their education.

Additionally, when they leave us, our pupils have access to our careers Hub, which gives them the chance to be mentored by other former pupils using the Old Oakhamian (OO) Club Network. This has helped many of our alumni to understand and acquire the necessary skills to make it in their chosen fields.

Most importantly, our aim is to ensure that by the time they leave us, Oakhamians are well rounded and confident young adults, equipped with the vital abilities and values to succeed at university, in the world of work, and in their wider lives.

Oakham School oakham.rutland.sch.uk

Further reading: More House School talks about being open to business