A group of Year 10 students from Saint Paul’s took top honours at this year’s Stock Market Challenge for schools held at The University of Manchester.

Schools from across the North West took part in the challenge, which saw 130 Year 10 pupils competing on a live stock market trading floor in the Whitworth Hall. The challenge provided students with a chance to increase their business and economic understanding, put their mathematics to the test and develop key skills such as team working, problem solving, critical thinking, analysing information and communication.

The event was based on the real life stock exchange whereby the students buy and sell shares in real time, based on news reports/updates. The idea being to make sound investments based on the information provided and analysing the news as it is presented, with ultimate aim of being the team with most amount of profit by the end of the exercise.

The competition’s key objectives were to enable students to apply their learning in mathematics, and to develop business awareness, transferable and employability skills, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Saint Paul’s was competing against 25 teams from schools from across Greater Manchester and was delighted to achieve FIRST place.

Pupils had to buy and sell shares in a similar fashion to how the stock market worked in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Each pupil had a role to perform: Finance Manager, Investment Analyst, Media Analyst, Floor Trader (Seller) and Floor Trader (Buyer).

The team were given an initial amount of £21,000 in stocks and share certificates and had to make as much money as possible across 5 simulated days. Each simulated day lasted around 30 minutes and pupils had to buy and sell shares in real time, reacting to intermittent television news bulletins, radio news bulletins, daily newspaper articles and news flashes.

The challenge provided students with a chance to increase their business and economic understanding, put their mathematics to the test and develop key skills such as team working, problem solving, critical thinking, analysing information and communication in a time-pressured and competitive game environment.

Teams navigated their way through fast-moving, constantly changing market conditions with the aim of maximising their investment opportunities based on quick and accurate analysis of company news by all members of each investment team working together.

Mr Paul Seddon, Head of Maths, said: “We were delighted that the Saint Paul’s team came first in the competition turning their initial investment of £21,000 to a final total of £55,500 in stocks and shares.

Our students really enjoyed taking part as everything was so realistic and it gave them a chance to put what they’ve learnt in Maths and Business Studies into action. They could see how prices were affected by the news and also the decisions they made. The trading environment was fast-paced and challenged them to work as a team. It was intense, but exciting.”

The competition is a great way to encourage team building and wide variety of employability and communication skills and has strong links to business related mathematics. The challenge taught students that you have to work well in a team and commit to your particular job in order for the whole team to benefit. It also helped them to develop skills which would be essential for a job in this area, such as quick thinking, analysing information, making reasoned evaluations, applying critical thinking and decision making.”

“The challenge is a fantastic way for young people to build their understanding of the business world, while developing their skills and having fun,” commented Mr Alex Hren, Head Teacher. “The initiative gives students the opportunity to apply their learning at school to a highly realistic financial setting Thank you to Alliance Manchester Business School and Global Investor Simulations for organising an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable challenge day.”