M&S Making a Mark - Simon Marks

Discussion ideas

This page suggests ways in which the material in this resource can be used with different subjects as prompts for discussion and extension activities.

You can also use the Related Links at the bottom of the page to discover further resources to support the ideas below and stimulate discussion.

KS3/4 Citizenship:

  • Simon Marks was passionate about his work, and always tried to make a difference doing the things he believed in and cared about. What matters most to you and how do you communicate this to your friends, family, teachers etc? Do you know what is important to the people you are close to?
  • Read Simon Marks' Christmas message to staff from 1960 - why do you think he wrote what he did, and what do you think the staff members thought when they read it?
  • Simon Marks said 'What's the use of being rich, unless you can do something with your money?' If you had lots of money, how would you use it to help other people?

KS3/4 Business Studies:

  • What other companies can you think of that are run, or were set up by, friends/relatives? Do you think it's a good idea for best friends or relatives to work together? What problems can you think of that might arise? What would the benefits be?
  • Find out more about the role played by wholesalers in the supply chain to stores. Where do they fit in? Why might they have been reluctant to deal directly with the retailer?
  • If you were in charge of a large store like M&S, how would you make sure your decisions were the best ones for the success of the company?
  • Do you know of any other successful businessmen or women today who are thought of as philanthropists? How did they make their money and how do they help others with it?


  • What are your ambitions?
  • What would you like to be doing when you're 19? And what about when you're 28? Think about where you'd like to be and what you might need to do to get there.
  • The questionnaire that Simon Marks completed when he was 16 asks about 'favourite painters, pictures, actors, plays and musical compositions' among other things. Are these questions relevant to you today? What could they be replaced with to bring the questionnaire up to date?
  • Simon Marks made M&S the famous high street business that it is today. What does M&S represent to you, and how is this different from your opinion of other high street shops? 


Philanthropist  - a person who loves mankind in general; a very generous person or institution
Wholesaler  - person or company that buys large quantities of goods from various producers, stores them in a warehouse and re-sells them to retail shops

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