STUDENTS aged four to 18 have been learning how education is key to unlocking success in the real world.

The four academies of Bournemouth’s Avonbourne Trust – Avonwood Primary, Avonbourne College, Harewood College and Avonbourne Sixth Form – dedicated a whole week linking core academic subjects to the business world.

They were challenged to either make things to sell or come up with their own business plans, culminating in a Dragon’s Den-style contest.

The primary children at Avonwood spent all week making products while the senior students pitched business ideas linked to an academic subject.

CEO of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: "As a business and enterprise trust all our schools are very much about preparing students for employment and bringing out the entrepreneur in them all.

"That ethos begins at the very start of our education and continues right until a student leaves us after sixth form.

"The whole experience was a fun way of linking core subjects like English, maths, science, history and the languages with the ‘real world’ and our students loved it."

Avonbourne’s GEE Week (Global Entrepreneurship and Employability) is supported by local businesses and organisations.

One example saw New Forest firm, Kandoo Ltd of Sway, sponsor the science inspired business products made by Year 8 students from Avonbourne College.

Kandoo supplied the data and sample materials needed to enable the girls to design a new school bag.

In the sixth form the students manufactured ‘wish bracelets’ and ‘Christmas wish baubles’ to raise money for Cancer Research and Ocean Stars, a charity supporting a region in Sri Lanka which was devastated by the Tsunami.

And the youngsters at Avonwood Primary created their own Diwali candles, created special salt dough Christmas decorations and designed a new school logo to print on hessian bags to sell to parents.

The end of the week saw Avonbourne and Harewood students pitch their business ideas to business dragons, with the top three winning cash prizes to help develop their ideas further.

Scooping first place and a prize of £50 was the Avonbourne English Group for their social enterprise reading initiative to encourage primary school readers.

In second place was a group of Business Studies students, also from Avonbourne, for their charity plans to support Dorset Mind and it was another reading initiative from Harewood students that took third place.