Sixth Form Management Games

Find out more about CIPFA North East's sixth form management games

2017 Sixth Form Management Games

CIPFA North East concludes its Sixth Form Management Game season on a high – by putting the NHS to rights!

This highly instructional initiative was resurrected this year, after a brief absence – and North East schools very positively welcomed its return. As one of only two regions running this game, we were amazed – but delighted – by the enthusiasm and energy shown by the sixth form participants at each of the two events held. As always, our faithful band of volunteers did a fabulous job attracting positive feedback from students, despite putting them through the mill during day-long mentally-challenging programmes. One student, on his return to the session after a short interruption, was heard to say, ‘they pulled us apart, but it was fun’, an incisive but fair evaluation. In all, 12 teams, totalling 84 students, competed at events at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College on 10 March, and at South Tyneside College on 17 March.

Based on the fictional West Rummidge & Saltwell NHS Trust, the teams were faced with identifying cost improvement savings of £19m, which increased to £24m as the day progressed. At various times, they were offered additional funds from the local clinical commissioning group to improve district nursing provision and to build in revenue costs arising from their proposed schemes. They were also offered additional funds from the Department of Health as part of its Making Winter Better scheme, which aims to make more beds available for transfer of elderly patients from A&E. Their two major tasks were to draft a report outlining their proposals, and to do a presentation to their trust board.

The students faced numerous interruptions throughout the day, including being faced with a very irate union official, the Treasury and a disgruntled local MP, all trying to influence them in their decision making. This process was important in exposing the teams to everyday working life in the public sector, where there are constant interruptions and changing goalposts.

Each game produced an intense competition, but, unfortunately, there could only be one winner at each venue. This year they were:

  • 10 March game: Cramlington Learning Village overcame strong competition from Heaton Manor School in Jesmond, Newcastle, St Thomas More RC Academy and Queen Alexander 6th Form, both in North Shields, Churchill Community College in Wallsend, and Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive in Dunston, Gateshead.
  • 17 March game: Conyers School in Yarm overcame strong competition from South Tyneside College, two teams from St Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham, Monkwearmouth Academy in Sunderland, and Joseph Swan Academy in Gateshead.

Each member of the winning team received a £15 i-Tunes voucher. In addition, each mentor nominated a ‘star of the day’ from each team, who was also presented with a £15 i-Tunes voucher. All students received a certificate for taking part, with members of the winning teams receiving a special ‘winners’ certificate.

With hugely positive feedback being received from students and teachers alike, expanding this initiative next year, to allow more teams to enjoy this experience, is certainly something we will be looking to do. It was very pleasing that we had six teams participating for the first time.

Here is a selection of feedback from students and teachers:

  • “My school team was really engaged in the whole process, including managing tasks within the time constraints. The event provided them a great opportunity to develop team and individual skills by the nature of the tasks set.”
  • “I thought this was a fabulous event, one that truly stretched the students in the most realistic scenario I have ever witnessed in this type of challenge. My group of students loved it.”
  • “It was one of the best competitions we have ever attended, and we were impressed at how well organised and run it was. Many thanks for the opportunity – will you be doing it next year?”
  • “Fun with a pressure twist. Great!”
  • “It has helped me see the pressure people work under when a time limit is put on things.”
  • “I found it really fun and fast paced.”
  • “It has changed my view of how well the public sector functions and the decisions involved with job roles.”
  • “I feel I have now had an example of what actually goes on. I would like to consider doing this in the future, as I really enjoyed it.”

CIPFA North East wishes to extend its thanks to the volunteers who gave up their day to help the students, the teachers involved, and the students who embraced the challenges and made both days so much fun despite there being so much full-on pressure for all involved.

We also extend out thanks to the venues that provided the accommodation free of charge, and to Mazars, who kindly sponsored the winners’ prize goodies and supplied a number of volunteers. Thanks also to CIPFA and South Tyneside College who provided a range of goodies for each student.

UPDATED TO ADD: Students from South Tyneside College featured in the Shields Gazette after taking part in the Sixth Form Management Games.