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School's centre means business.

Pupils at St Benet Biscop RC High School in Bedlington looking for a career in business will have a head-start with the opening of a pounds 200,000 business centre.

Funded by the Co-operative Group, the school and the Department for Education & Skills, the centre will be open to the wider community as well as pupils.

Its facilities include two ICT suites, a conference room, a seminar room, a community ICT facility and office space.

The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Rt Rev Kevin Dunn, opened the centre on Tuesday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by representatives from across the business community and the local authority.

Headteacher Nick Bowen said: "I'm delighted that the school has achieved Specialist Business & Enterprise College status and am sure that the Business Learning Centre will be an inspirational resource for both the students and the wider community.

"I'm particularly pleased to be linked with the Co-operative Group, whose values closely reflect our own."

The school became a Specialist Business & Enterprise College in September 2005 with the help of a pounds 41,000 grant from the Co-operative Group.

Business and enterprise schools teach subjects that provide a grounding in business management as well as meeting the requirements of the national curriculum.

As a Co-op-sponsored enterprise school ( one of only 10 in the UK ( St Benet Biscop RC High School formally includes lessons on the co-operative business alternative and the differences offered by the co-operative, mutual and social enterprise sector.

For practical work, the school is developing close links with local co-operative businesses ( including food stores and a pharmacy, funeral and travel branches ( which will not only demonstrate opportunities for business careers but for active citizenship and community involvement.

David Connolly, North Eastern & Cumbrian

Co-op senior co-operative affairs officer, said: "Co-operative values of social responsibility and caring for others play a key role in an ethical business environment and this exciting development at St Benet Biscop High School is a fantastic opportunity to build co-operation into the everyday lives of young people, not only benefiting the pupils and the school but also the wider community."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 25, 2006
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