Sixth Form Management Games

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

CIPFA North East concludes its Sixth Form Management Game season on a high – by putting the local government to right!

This highly instructional initiative continued in the North East with schools very positively valuing this annual event. As one of only two regions running this game, we were amazed as ever and 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, "That was brutal, 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 9 March, and at South Tyneside College on 16 March.

'Going for Growth' was based on the fictional Unitary Borough of Emmstone. The teams were faced with identifying cost improvement savings of £10m, which increased to £15m as the day progressed. At various times, they were offered additional funds from a local dairy company for sites to launch a new chain of dairy supermarkets. They were also asked to bid for up to £2m from the Governments Regeneration Capital Fund. Their two major tasks were to draft a report outlining their proposals, and finally to do a presentation to their local councillors.

The students faced numerous interruptions throughout the day, including being faced with a very irate union official, the local press 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:

  • 9 March game: Cramlington Learning Village overcame strong competition from Heaton Manor School in Heaton, Newcastle, St Thomas More RC Academy and Queen Alexander 6th Form, both in North Shields, Churchill Community College in Wallsend, and Westfield School an independent day school for girls in Newcastle.
  • 16 March game: Whitburn Academy overcame strong competition from two teams from South Tyneside College, Conyers School in Yarm, Thorpe Academy and Joseph Swan Academy both from Gateshead. 

Each member of the winning team received a £15 Intu voucher. In addition, each mentor nominated a ‘star of the day’ from each team, who was also presented with a £15 Intu 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 three teams participating for the first time.

Here is a selection of feedback from students and teachers:

  • “Excellent context to the game demonstrated the issues faced.”
  • “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?”
  • “The game tasks were excellent, the report/presentation and the interruptions tasks were good examples of working to deadlines.”
  • “It has helped me see the pressure people work under when a time limit is put on things.”
  • “it was a great way of playing a game that got you thinking outside the box.”
  • “It has changed my view of how well the public sector functions and the decisions involved with job roles.”
  • “I was taken out of m comfort zone and done things I wouldn’t have done if I had not done today.”

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 our 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.