ELvis Student Enterprise Workshop held at the Ridgeway School



Congratulations to all involved in highly ambitious and successful ELvis Student Enterprise workshop held at the Ridgeway School, Wroughton  from 31st March to 3rd of April 2014


What is ELvis?  It’s a Virtual International School (vis) linking students and teachers from the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Norway.  

The EU Comenius funded partnership has developed even stronger links over the last 5 years.

ELvis Logo

49 ELvis students and 21 teachers from 10 Schools across Europe took part.

Schools attending were from:
As                        Norway
Coggeshall         UK
Enger                   Germany
Freigericht           Germany
Guise                    France
Gulpen                Netherlands
Ihlow                   Germany
Lecce                  Italy
Mons                    Belgium
Wroughton         UK


What happened?

Two major UK retailers supported the workshop and students were required to form multinational teams, research the needs of the two companies, design and build a product packaging and promotion proposal and pitch their ideas to company representatives. All that in a very tight schedule and in English which for most was not their mother tongue. No pressure then!


The student  ‘companies’ were constructed to replicate what would happen across Europe in Swindon based  companies like Intel, Zurich and BMW/Mini. Ridgeway School has conducted research which suggests most of their students will work at sometime outside the UK. ELvis and Comenius is intended to help prepare students teachers and schools for that emerging reality. Companies use modern technology to work across borders and time zones – so does ELvis.




 Stage 1 Students visited the Waitrose & John Lewis in Marlborough and Swindon by minibus in their company groups.


John Lewis photo

Stage 2 in the afternoon ‘companies’ shared the brief and ideas for products which they had created as A4 sheet preparation before travelling to Wroughton.   Products were suggested to sell for less than 5 euro's and to make a difference (social or environmental).  They also produced outline plans for  the marketing mix for their product: Price, Product, Promotion Packaging and Place.

Stage 3 Decisions were made on production technology with the options of food, wood, plastic, metal, textiles, graphics or ICT(Apps).  They identified support requirements from school technical staff going into the second day.

The Ideas were:
1  A design your own Apron kit
2  A rice snack in a cup
3  A pasta meal kit
4  A custom T shirt producti
on service
5  A perfect pizza kit

Stage 4  Tuesday 1st April began at 08.50 with an ’icebreaker’ - making conference badges with street art tag designs. The workshop that that followed was demanding but very productive.   They improved the marketing mix of their product in a company meeting and students in their roles, worked to make the products and marketing materials.

Everyone agreed the session was “magical” as students had by the formed cohesive company groups and the students from across the nations were cooperating and working closely together.




The Roles were taken very seriously which led to high quality working in the companies:

 1 Managing Director (Strategy)
ensured the rest of the team were on task and working to achieve the company mission.

2 Operations/Time Manager made sure that the rest of the team were working well and ready with a product to present Wednesday morning.

3-4 Presentations team These students worked on the presentation for Wednesday morning continually recording and photographing the team’s activities, researching as appropriate.

5-6 Marketing These students  produced the promotion materials for the company product using the media they felt  appropriate.

7-8 Packaging This team worked to produce high quality packaging for the product.

9-11 Production Helped by 2 brilliant technology teachers Kate Harding and Ann Sheppard they produce the company product. This was a really important core activity giving high quality products for presentation to the senior managers from Waitrose on the Wednesday.


Stage 5 Wednesday 2nd April
Students completed products, marketing materials and prepare presentations using the 8 Es.

These are:




Know who your audience are and show how you will meet their needs and solve their problems.


In everything you do show energy and enthusiasm.  If you show that you are passionate then your audience will “buy” the thing or idea. 


Using effective body language, use  buzz words, images and structure with hook and plenary.


Good manners to fit their culture whether your audience is local, ethnic, regional or international.  Also don’t assume that they are with you and on your side; treat them with respect.  Respect their Identity and diversity.

Expert knowledge*

You must know your subject/product well and be ready to answer searching questions.  This can be a team thing so that each member of your presenting team has a natural specialism to their personal strengths. 


Make sure you practice get feedback and improve your presentation.


Use modern technology hardware or software (tablets/facebook) seamlessly and effectively.

(These link*)

Know the counter arguments and data which could be used to undermine your arguments and presentation.  Rehearse effective responses



9.30-11am.  Ten minute presentations per team including questions to a panel including John & Charles Beyton, Senior Managers from  Waitrose/John Lewis and James Povoas the Associate Headteacher of The Ridgeway School.



The presentations were stunning and the managers declared that they were astounded that students could from visiting their shops on the Monday have prepared product which they would be happy to stock on their shelves and the marketing associated with these products.



The winning product was the rice snack in a cup “Rice to go!” and won boxes of chocolates from the Waitrose managers. All students and staff were given an attendance certificate and Cadbury’s Cream Egg.

Eddie Sims the Ridgeway lead organiser adds....


“I would like to thank the visiting staff who worked so hard with me to make this meeting a “brilliant” experience for the students involved.  I hope that similar ways of working will be possible as the exciting, enduring ELvis partnership evolves during the 21stCentury and perhaps beyond!”



All this made possible by the EU:

LLL flag 5cm


The Value of the Ridgeway Enterprise Workshop

Sharing Cultures and Building Citizenship.


ELvis and Comenius are underpinned by the desire to share cultures and deepen understanding of what being European means. The social activities are a key factor in this.


The visiting ELvis students were housed in host families or Legge House


The first joint activity was a tour of Ridgeway School followed by a barbecue meal of sausages, burgers, salad, etc .  The barbecue was a great success in the UK sunshine and the boys from the Netherlands lit a large bonfire.


Other events  included an evening meal for staff and students at Swindon’s best Indian restaurant the Lahlbach Indian Restaurant and ten pin bowling.


They also visited “Steam” the railway museum to look at Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway heritage which was responsible for the growth of Swindon.  In addition they visited the world heritage site at Avebury which is a 5,000 year old henge; like Stonehenge but larger and more impressive.    


Steam Museum


We know from these events in the past that friendships are built

which last beyond their school days.



How do we know this was a success?


 Each student was invited to review the whole four days of activities. The response was many pages of detailed comment – all highly appreciative.


These are just a selection.


“We think that our experience has been very interesting and enjoyable because we met lots of people from different countries that helped us to improve our English and our knowledge. We hope to repeat this experience soon.”

Giorgio and Paolo from Lecce


 “This week has been absolutely great! Not only did we have a nice time but we also had a great life experience that will help us in the future. We had to make a product and pitch it to the school’s head teacher and two Waitrose managers. Even when we were having fun we were learning, as we shared a room with two really lovely German girls, that we had a laugh to talk to in German. I have made great friends and had a really great couple of days. It has also really helped my business studies skills. Thanks.”  Katy, Coggeshall UK

 “I had a great time in England. The four days that our group spent there we lived in host families and I was very lucky being able to stay with a very friendly family. I also had a good time working with my group mixed together of Elvis-students from different schools in different countries. It was really exciting joining all these students and work together as a team to create something new and worth 5 pounds. Even though my group didn’t make the first place, we had a nice time working together and I found new friends witch I hope to be able to keep in touch with.  Making new friends, being creative together and communicating in English are some of the main reasons I love the Elvis-Project.” Carolin from Freigericht


“During the four days I was away we had to take responsibility for ourselves. When staying at a hostel we made our own breakfast in the mornings and we made some great friends. During the conference I put my knowledge into real life and saw how other people from different nationalities have an eye on the business world. From visiting Waitrose on Monday my group and me thought of an idea inspired off the shelves. It was great fun to present and talk to people from different nationalities. I think we can agree we all had a great time” Adam, Coggeshall UK

“All in all I really liked the project. I was quite impressed that we created a whole prototype of a product in such a short time. Furthermore I improved my English skills a lot and made some new friends.”  Jan from Freigericht


 “The last day came and I was driven by my host mother to school. I thanked my host mum and brother for the accommodation and for their kindness towards me. I am very grateful to have had this experience, especially having experienced it in such a nice host family.” Martin from Freigericht



“On Wednesday morning the teams entered the Dragon's Den. They faced the daunting prospect of talking to the judges, staff and each other. The quality of the products and sales presentations were outstanding. Following the awards that concluded the event the young people involved we were sorry to say goodbye as they set off for their homes across Europe.” From an article written for their local paper by Hayley and Craig, Coggeshall UK


All this made [possible by the EU:



ELvis - EuroLink Virtual International School on eTwinning


Now in phase 3.0





SOPHIANUM                                               GULPEN                    NL

HTG IHLOW                                                IHLOW                      DE

WIDUKIND GYMNASIUM                             ENGER                     DE

KOPERNIKUSSCHULE                                   FREIGERICHT           DE


L.S.S. ‘COSIMO DE GIORGI’                       LECCE                      IT

ÅS VIDEREGÅENDE  SKOLE                         ÅS                             NO

THE RIDGEWAY SCHOOL                            WROUGHTON         GB

HONYWOOD SCHOOL                              COGGESHALL          GB

LYCEE PROFESSIONEL F. DOLTO                GUISE                        FR

INSTITUT DU SACRE COEUR                         MONS                       BE


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