Capital prize for bright students

ENTERPRISING students visited Downing Street and opened the London Stock Exchange on a trip to the capital.

The group of youngsters from St Michael’s Roman Catholic School, in Billingham, rubbed shoulders with Government and Premier League bigwigs.

The fun-filled trip was their prize for being crowned winners of the national Premier League Enterprise Challenge in November.

Representing Middlesbrough Football Club, the students came up with a series of bright ideas to improve the match-day experience for fans.

They got to meet Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and Middlesbrough FC owner Steve Gibson as part of their reward.

The five students warmed up for their meeting with a trip to 10 Downing Street the day before where they chatted to Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s enterprise adviser.

They then had the privilege of opening trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Team member Elish Chambers said: “We were more nervous this time than in the final because we were presenting to the person who had set the challenge.

“We were also presenting to the owner of the club we were giving advice about.”

The students’ award-winning ideas included setting up a smartphone app for ticket sales, an interactive stadium map and an option to pre-order club merchandise.

Mr Gibson said: “I was surprised by the quality of the presentation and part of me was thinking, ‘why haven’t we done such a thing ourselves?’”

Mr Scudamore added: “Their ideas were as compelling as anything we have ever seen.

“They were so well thought-through that you could actually take them and fly with them at a club.

“They have set a high standard for the schools taking part in the next edition.”

Patricia Carroll, St Michael’s raising achievement co-ordinator, said the whole experience had been great for their personal and academic development.

She said: “They have gained in confidence from their experiences in London that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

“Opening the Stock Exchange was amazing. That is another dream that you wouldn’t think they would achieve but here they are, 13 and 14-year-olds, doing it.”