A former teacher has set up a social enterprise to inspire children of all abilities and backgrounds to get the best out of school.
Paul Powell set up iCAN as an educational company dedicated to supporting young people and their families by delivering a range of workshops, projects, summer schools and enterprise award schemes for primary and secondary schools.
It specialises in delivering tailored support for children who may be finding the transition from primary school to secondary school challenging.
iCAN, which set-up six months ago, was helped to get going by SmartStart, which is provided by Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), working in partnership with Barnsley Council, for business support.
Paul, who has over 20 years’ experience in the teaching profession and most recently worked at Horizon Community College, said: “We recognise that no two children are the same, and through iCAN we aim to help children by giving them the opportunity to unlock their potential and spark their imagination.
“We are particularly focusing on working alongside primary schools to ensure a smooth transition into secondary school.”
Everything iCAN does is based upon a working philosophy it has devised itself for supporting children through four stages of development; to – inspire, create, achieve and nurture. At each level, iCAN projects challenge the child to develop different skills.
The company works with schools to create bespoke learning packages and also has ready-made packages available such as Crime Scene Investigation, Wacky Sports, Business Enterprise, Creative Writing and Recycle Recital Junk Band.
Another key offer is the iCAN Awards aimed at key stage 2 and key stage 3 pupils who complete a portfolio all year round, working towards an awards ceremony at the end of the year, where children, teachers and families come together to celebrate their achievements.
Paul said: “The awards ceremony at the end of the year is a fantastic event, bringing communities and families together for a celebration of their child’s successes and achievements over the academic year.
Looking forward, iCan is currently planning a series of summer camps for children moving up from primary to secondary school, following a successful summer camp it organised at Headlands School in Bridlington.
And, Paul aims to expand the company’s commitment to encouraging enterprise in education too.
He said: “One thing we are looking to develop further is to find an ambassador who is really passionate about supporting enterprise in primary education, someone who really wants to help make a difference to young people.”
The organisation is also looking for sponsorship for their awards scheme and has ambitions to hold their event as national awards in the future.
BBIC business development manager Sarah Valentine-Bull said: “Every time that I talk to the people at iCAN, I am incredibly inspired. What they are trying to do really has the potential to change somebody’s life for the better.
“Secondary school, in particular, can be quite a daunting step-up for a child to make, but the people at iCAN are helping to make that step much easier with their award scheme and transitional work.”