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Published 29th Nov 2011

Liam Thompson (left) and Aron Hendrickson (right) from Oakfields Community College

Two entrepreneurial school students are catching the attention of the business world thanks to a digital app they developed in the classroom.

Liam Thompson and Aron Hendrickson, both 15, from Oakfields Community College have come up with the ‘iskewl’ app as part of their lessons in enterprise.

The appis a simple and accessible calendar for pupils to use to help plan their coursework, homework and revision.

It also hosts exam hints and tips from teachers and has an interactive section where questions from pupils and answers from teachers can be left.

Liam and Aron have already successfully sold the app to their own school – making real profits for themselves - and have set up their own company called Educational Solutions Ltd.

And they have been interviewed by the Guardian newspaper about their creation.

Now the pair are taking their app to the wider market and showcased it at Middlesbrough Enterprise Gateway’s recent Trade Fair at the Riverside Stadium.

What they are saying

Aron said: “We started developing it in Year 10 when we had lots of coursework so we have put our own school experience into the app.

“It’s like using a planner but pupils use their mobiles instead of using paper.

“We’re trying to make education a bit more special and show that phones are not just a bad idea in school.”

Liam, who hopes to work in software technology, said the app is compatible with Android, Blackberry and iPhone devices.

“We have had lots of feedback with people saying it’s a really good idea,” he said.

Phil Ainsley, who is Enterprise and Employability co-ordinator at Oakfields school, said: “Liam and Aron taking a full product to market at the age of 15 is incredibly exciting. This experience will unquestionably help them in their future careers.”

Liam and Aron are not the only Oakfields students who are showing great business acumen.

A group of students are running a German market in the run up to Christmas and hope to use the profits to pay for a school trip to Germany.

The pupils have held markets in school attracting purchases from parents and teachers and are speaking German when they are selling to develop their language skills.

And in a third business project recycled plastic bottles thrown away at the school are being ground up to make flat plastic sheets which can be remodelled into new products.

Students are exploring the type of products which can be made and which they can then sell on the market.

It is planned the money raised from this project will help fund recycle bins for the Acklam community.

Mr Ainsley said the real projects have been a hit with students.

“The kids have really loved it,” he said.

“It’s made them interested in all sorts new areas of business and enterprise.”

All Year 10 pupils at the school have Enterprise and Employability as part of their timetable.

Mr Ainsley said: “It’s all about the students getting the skills that will get them into the workplace.

“These skills will be with them for life and are transferable to other subjects too.”

Beverley Maxted, from Middlesbrough Enterprise Gateway which has supported the school with their enterprise projects, said: “It’s fantastic to work with such enthusiastic pupils. This project has put the students in the real business arena and this experience is invaluable.”

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