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Inspirational head wins top award for enterprise.

A HEADTEACHER in Northumberland has won a top national award for fostering a spirit of enterprise among his students in a former blackspot for new business start-ups.

Nick Bowen - who has been head at St Benet Biscop High School in Bedlington for nine years - has received the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of his 'inspiring' work.

Under his leadership the school became a specialist business and enterprise college in 2005, and has gained a national reputation for working with the local business community.

It has twice represented the North East at the finals of the National Young Enterprise competition, and Mr Bowen set up the school's own business wing - Benet Enterprises Ltd - to build on the success. A business manager has been appointed to run the company, which has its own premises in the town centre, and it has been successful in event management, business engagement, commercial products, film production and enterprise training.

School students are involved in all of the programmes and the company works to develop business ideas generated by the youngsters students.

Mr Bowen was also influential in helping the Wansbeck district secure pounds 11.8m in business regeneration funding from the Government's Local Enterprise Growth Initiative. The money has been successfully used to help reverse the district's historically poor performance in enterprise and new business start-ups.

Now branded Go Wansbeck, the programme has invested pounds 1m in education over the last three years, to help develop enterprise and entrepreneurial skills in young people. As chairman of the Wansbeck Enterprise Education Network (WEEN), Mr Bowen has ensured that all students across the district have benefited from the funding. St Benet Biscop High is now part of a national network of schools sponsored by the Co-operative Group. It has led to staff and students getting involved in a range of projects overseas, including trips to Lesotho in South Africa for the Co-operative Congress.

Mr Bowen said: "I am absolutely thrilled, honoured and flattered to receive this award."

Robin Casson, director of learning skills and family support for the county council, said: "As the driving force behind this, Nick Bowen is an inspiration to staff, pupils and the local community. This award is well-deserved."


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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2010
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