Team Dragonfly

A Unique Partnership between

Mike McGrother; The Landmark Teaching Alliance; The Finlay Cooper Fund, Stockton Borough Council and…YOU???


In 1867 William Gladstone described Teesside as an Infant Hercules: ‘The youngest of England’s Enterprise is an Infant, an Infant Hercules’. He was describing a place where ideas, combined with community spirit and a strong work ethic made things happen. A place where people wanted to live and where they felt pride in their home and community.


2017 and the world has changed. In a recent survey carried out by Stockton Borough Council, less than 35% of all 13 – 16 year olds felt a part of their community and around the same amount have no concept of what their ‘strengths’ are. Aspiration, worth and hope amongst the children of Teesside is at an all time low. Consequently we are seeing more and more referrals to A & E; an alarming rise in self harm and suicides and, with reductions in mainstream funding, no obvious solutions.

We want to change this.

The 5 NHS ways to well being are:


Take Notice

Be Active




Team Dragonfly is a facilitated concept delivered by educationists and businesses that could address each of these AND put children and their ideas at the heart of their individual and collective futures.

Why a Dragonfly? The Dragonfly is the adopted symbol of The Finlay Cooper Fund. Very much a reference to a traditional story told to provide comfort in times of bereavement, it also perfectly reminds children of their ability to fly, to light up the world and to live a life more extraordinary. For more details of the work of the charity please visit

Team Dragonfly is delivered in 3 stages

  1. Mike McGrother would initiate the themes and ideas of ‘adventure’ of ‘life changing’ of having ‘Wings’ but also ‘Roots’ in his usual way – whole school assemblies designed to let children think of how they can change the world.
  2. A school would then nominate a class / a group to set up their own Team Dragonfly. Essentially a Social Enterprise, planned sessions would be delivered by teachers with input from local businesses to create a new SWEET made by local business The Victorian Sweet Factory. Children and their business colleagues would do Market Research; Product Development; Market Testing; Promotion and Sales and in doing so invent their very own new brand of sweets.
  3. Proceeds from the business would go into a special ‘Dragonfly’ bursary fund held by the school which helps children whose family struggle to pay for school trips / visits to receive subsidy or to help a specific child in need in their community

Team Dragonfly will:

  • Provide Children with the opportunity to be pioneers and entrepreneurs within a context of applied learning and social conscience
  • Provide a structured context where businesses can realise their commitment to develop a workforce for Teesside’s future by committing time and / or resource to this innovative, transformational project
  • Provide a legacy for The Finlay Cooper Fund by embedding it’s ethos and aims within children and the community

We would like to work with schools and businesses in Teesside and start to nurture an Infant Hercules workforce and community for the 21st Century.

We are looking for key Teesside Businesses who are keen to invest in their future workforce by being part of our Team Dragonfly pilot steering and delivery team.




Each Team Dragonfly Project is introduced with a 60 minute ‘performance’ presented by Mike McGrother. Inspired by the Dragonfly symbolism of the children are challenged to become like Dragonflies and the 21st Century Infant Hercules proving their teamwork, strength of resolve and enterprising ideas to light up their own community.

Schools will have pre-selected a group to be their Team Dragonfly social entrepreneurs. On the same day as the introductory performance, Mike will then set them the task – to research, brand, create, market and sell a new ‘sweet’ with all monies raised going into a school held Dragonfly fund to help children in THEIR school community to go on trips / visits (seeing the world like the dragonfly) or for another cause for a child in their community. This session introduces themes of selling, of budgeting, of teamwork and of motivation. Their teacher is left with a workbook to take the group through 5 sessions and the challenge is set.

As the business ‘partner’, in addition to attending the initial performance and introductory session, (above) you would be asked to commit to a minimum of 2 of the 5 (2 hour) sessions – picking appropriate staff according to a task but you would also allow a small team of the ‘confectioners’ to come to your business. See below!

Your business may have a particular link to the themes of the sessions – or just want to support the children in a more generic way to encourage and add value to sessions. The sessions are broadly targeted towards:

  1. Market Research – identifying demographic, cost and product preferences
  2. Presenting a pitch and budgeting
  3. Branding and Promotion and Designing their sweet
  4. Product Testing
  5. Packaging and Customer Service

Each session is supported through worksheets and links into the overall curriculum areas of maths, English and ICT according to the age and ability of the particular group.

In addition to in-school selling, YOU – with the help of the group teacher would then select a small group (maximum 6) to come into your workplace with a member of school staff, where they will spend some time getting to know what it is that you do and help them sell their wares to your staff team. You would effectively be rewarding those who you think have shown the work commitment and ethic to be considered employable in the future. We are trying – with your help to show children that they can develop entrepreneurial and employability skills that APPLY their Maths, English and ICT skills but that also prove how their endeavours can help the children in their own community.

The project will conclude with a final musical assembly in which the school and the business partner will be presented with a Team Dragonfly certificate and all participants handed a Dragonfly button badge as fully fledged members of Team Dragonfly.

To be part of Team Dragonfly please initially contact Rebecca Pass at Landmark Teaching Alliance via email: