Two weeks before the summer half term I thought it would be great to have a week of post SATs unwind in the class that would still deliver plenty of learning. And so, the Year 2 Enterprise Week was born. I spoke with Miss Mac, something along the lines of, “Miss Mac, shall we have an Enterprise Week?”, “What a great idea”, she replied with a sparkle and a smile, “How hard can that be?” Well, having given the matter very little thought at this stage, as it turned out, very.
The children spent the next three weeks saving all their loose change with much encouragement from us at Enterprise Headquarters (EHQ) and on Monday 11th June, Operation Enterprise began and to our dismay the little entrepreneurs bought in bags of money, envelopes of money, plastic tubs of money, socks…containing money, in fact pretty much anything you can carry coins in were plonked on our desks. After a visit by a bank manager from TSB who taught the children the art of bartering with apples, (the children tried to barter me out of extra playtime!), it was all hands on deck and time to count the loot, I mean the start-up fund. The two classes, Hedgehogs and Foxes, took just over two hours to count, separate, count again and bag the coins before an unsuspecting Mrs Rae of FOGS fame was roped in to take the money in 11 wheelbarrows to the bank the following day.
Well, that was that. Easy peasy, job done, sorted. Not quite.
How were we going to turn a profit? We couldn’t sell the school furniture so we had to come up with a daring plan, something original, never been done before and most importantly, minimal labour.
Cake sale! Cake sale! Cake sale! The children had spoken. Minimal Labour – Nil, Maximum Labour – 60.
Whose idea was this anyway?
With Abdul from year 9 and Adel from year 8 fulfilling their roles as Events Coordinator and Primary Liaison it was full steam ahead. Production of posters began, Miss Hyde gave all 60 children a lesson on computer graphics and Mr Mitchinson, our mild mannered site manager was in danger of receiving 60 emails asking for a marquee, tables, chairs, boiler, helicopter landing pad (just in case), loudspeaker and a mop. Thankfully, these were headed off at the server by Miss Todman and a simple conversation over a pot of paint secured the necessary equipment, except the marquee. No wait, Mrs Rae had one of those in her garage. I suspect it was conveniently tucked next to the speed boat behind the golf cart that hid the paddling pool that also happened to have attached a pop up desert island.
With the mechanics of the day all sorted it was time to work out what ingredients we needed. And so it was, that Miss Mac and I sat down to work out exactly how much of each ingredient we would need to bake enough cakes to feed nearly 400 potential consumers without denting our coffers too much.
It didn’t go well.
Mrs Rae was dropped in by parachute to help balance the books and Miss Coxhead, Director of Secondary maths swooped in from the flank to help the children. Finally, a shopping list was drafted and when she wasn’t looking, dropped into Mrs Rae’s handbag along with a pile of cash and a very pleading, ‘please don’t say no’ kind of grin from me. She was now a part of the team and as with any other mission, (or project), we sent our strongest and most able forward into the aisles of Aldi and Tesco to purchase the 14 bags of flower, 32 eggs, 2 tins of syrup 12 bags of currents, 15 packs of butter, 2 pints of milk, 5 tubs of popcorn and 98 juice cartons.
Thank you, Tina Rae, a true believer of the cause and one who returned from her grocery spree in time for tea and medals. Hoorah!
With the promise of wealth and riches beyond his wildest dreams, (which turned out to be a new whisk and baking tin…with Teflon®), Mr O’Connor, Secondary Food Tech Maestro quickly came on board the good ship Enterprise and with his crew of budding bakers drafted in from secondary, volunteered his expertise and the use of his food tech, preparation and baking suite. He was now on standby for the big push.
With Monday looming, we needed to increase the children’s endurance and after prising them away from their press ups, our two PE Ninjas, Miss O’Neill and Miss Newman thrust the children into some very tough physical education. To achieve success the children needed to follow and come up with instructions and so were put through their paces with den building and orienteering, valuable skills in the kitchen. The children used these new found skills to great aplomb, they wrote recipes and completed their advertising campaign and then, under cover of darkness, snuck out and placed the posters everywhere and anywhere they would be seen; some say they even saw Miss Nagji walking the darkened corridors of the school late at night wearing a poster, although this cannot be substantiated.
Friday saw a lull in battle with the workers, or rather, children, taking a well-deserved day off whilst the movers and shakers had an inset day. This allowed an evaluation of proceedings so far, a last-minute planning meeting and a dawning realisation that on Monday, within a two hour window we had to bake 200 rock cakes and 200 chocolate crispy cakes, find somewhere to store them and something to store them in. With 60, 6 and 7 year olds, our plan could not fail. However, with not enough utensils, bowls or trays to fully equip our kitchen army, drastic action was needed.
It was time to call in the reserves. Virtual carrier pigeons were dispatched with messages calling them not to arms, but to spoons. The sun set over a quietly optimistic Friday, we knew the rally call would be heard, but was it too late?
Monday. A low mist was rolling over the warming ground, as the sun breached the horizon. This was it, B Day, (not to be confused with ‘bidet’). 400 cakes, 60 children, no spoons. It was touch and go. Then as the doors to the classrooms opened the first ray of hope clanked into view. Children, carrying spoons of every kind, scales, baking trays, muffin trays, resting trays, bowls, tubs, pots, whisks and even two tubs of hundreds and thousands were delivered. The call had been answered, parents had united, the day was saved.
At 1155 hours GMT, Miss Mac called it; 217 chocolate crispy cakes, just over 240 rock cakes and a number of suspiciously licked spoons had seen our quota achieved. The countdown to E day had begun.
Tuesday morning, E Day had arrived, a little overcast but rays of sunshine on the face of every child, hope beaming out like packets of exploding Skittles. This was it. The difference between leaving the country in hiding or leaving the country on a yacht.
The marquee went up, Mrs Rae appeared like the shopkeeper from Mr Benn, (look it up), and the stock laid out. Looking at the cakes, the popcorn cups and the juice we were hopeful, the day would be ours, but to what degree would victory be secured? Only time would tell.
Lunch time. Children, with eyes wide with excitement began to queue, first one, then two, ten, twenty. Barriers went up, police helicopters were drafted in and crowd control measures were put in place. It was a frenzy, I checked the marquee for Ed Sheeran but he wasn’t there, the children were there for the cakes, just the cakes. Some bought one, others bought cakes for their entire family. The coins kept coming in, surly we were going to break even, maybe even make the profit we had been chasing for so, so long, (5 days to be precise, but it felt much longer).
As the lunch time whistles rang their chimes following two hours of hard selling, negotiating, fending off the likes of Alan Sugar and Mary Berry it was time to close shop. Marquee away, tables and chairs returned. Mrs Rae, in the blink of an eye, vanished. She had been charged with safeguarding the pot of cash and with SWAT in place had made her way to the bank.
Minutes became hours, waiting to hear, had we made it? Do we now need to fill in tax returns? It was unbearable. I phoned my mum, the pressure was mounting. It was now late into Tuesday evening, I was crumbling fast, the dairy milk was calling out to me, I couldn’t wait any longer. I reached for the wrapper, then there it was, the ping, like a light in the dark, of my WhatsApp. It was a message from Mrs Rae. I read it, I read it again. I closed my eyes and let out a sigh of relief through a smile of pride. The children had done it.
It wasn’t until the following Friday that we released the final total, Mr Gary Fowels, Senior Director, TSB South East had heard of our success and came to our school to announce the outcome. A short welcome, flowers for Mrs Rae for her tireless support, offers of jobs for all of year 2 and then there it was, the total, revealed for all to see.
Among the whooping and the hollering, the streamers falling from the ceiling and tears of joy from 800 little eyeballs the children of year 2 had already begun to spend the money.
And so, one week later we are sharing Hedgehogs and Foxes classes with Alexa. That’s it then. Out of a job. Sorry Miss Mac.