Developing young people’s economic and business understanding. Business education in secondary schools, colleges and initial teacher training 2004/07

Developing young people's economic and business understanding image

What the resource is:

This is a 31 page report, by Ofsted, that evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of business education for 14 - 19 year olds from a range of different, and geographically spread, schools and colleges from April 2004 - December 2007. 


The report draws on Ofsted inspections of schools, colleges and teacher training (business) as well as subject specific survey visits by Her Majesty's Inspectorate to 118 secondary schools, including 15 specialist business and enterprise schools and three special schools (p29). Examination data, relating to business courses is also commented upon within the report.


The report serves to evaluate the effectiveness of `business education', which includes both vocational and academic business and economic examination courses. It also discusses the development of business and economic understanding and financial capability for 14-16 year olds (p4).


The report, which is rich in varied content, provides an executive summary that enables its readers to have a quick overview of the findings, after which a more in-depth account of the findings, recommendations and a section on the scope of business lessons can be found. Following these sections, the report is split into two parts and within these are several sub-sections that evaluate the effectiveness of the following topics:


Part A Business education 2004/07

  • Achievement and standards
  • Teaching and learning
  • Curriculum provision
  • Developing economic and business understanding for all learners
  • Leadership and management
  • Professional development
  • Initial teacher training in business education


Part B Current issues in business education

  • Developing economic and business understanding to all students in secondary schools
  • The diversity of business qualifications and forms of assessment
  • The coursework debate
  • The impact of the business and enterprise specialism


The report, driven by Ofsted, includes some useful links; for example, Every Child Matters (ECM).


The aims of the resource:

The report seeks to evaluate "the effectiveness of business education for 14-19 year olds in schools and colleges from April 2004 - December 2007 and the quality of [business] initial teacher training" (p4).

Key findings or focus:

The report focuses on the effectiveness of teaching business courses to 14 - 19 year olds, curriculum design, achievement and retention and on the quality of initial teacher training of business teachers. The key findings, reported on pages 5 - 29, include evaluation of classroom delivery, teacher knowledge, teacher training, quality assurance, innovative practice, assessment, coursework, economic well being, vocational and academic business courses and government policy.


The findings, from the data gathered for the report, highlight some of the successes and areas of improvement for business courses and initial teacher training (business) within schools and colleges; for example, it notes that demand for business courses, both academic and vocational, is high. It also praises the quality of teaching and initial teacher training, whilst also drawing reference to the lack of engagement in innovative practice both within the classroom and within initial teacher training. 


The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from your subject perspective in relation to ITE:

The report is viewed through Ofsted's lens and draws upon the views, following subject specific inspections, of Her Majesty's Inspectorate. It provides a reasonably extensive reference section and is a useful report for trainees engaged in education and business related topics. The report is based upon observation, through inspections, and examination data.


It offers opportunities for teachers, teacher trainers and trainee teachers to consider and to reflect upon a range of predominantly qualitative data, although some quantitative evidence of examination results is included. 


The implications for ITE tutors/mentors: 

The report provides discussion points for Business and Economics teachers, teacher trainers and ITE mentors. Mentors may also find it useful for discussion relating to development with their mentees.


Its findings, recommendations and evaluation of data provide a platform for examining ones own, and others', practice. Specifically, as the report has been compiled by Ofsted, it provides insight into what they will be looking for when doing their inspection rounds.


The relevance to ITE students:

This report is relevant to trainees because of its breadth of coverage. Its exploration of current issues surrounding the implementation and delivery of business courses, and its evaluation of the effectiveness of business education, serve to illuminate issues worthy of discussion and debate; for example, the report's findings conclude that although there is much evidence of good practice within business education, and related teacher training, some issues identified prior to 2004 have still not been addressed. Debate about how these issues could be addressed could provide ITE students with the opportunity to consider development of their own practice and possible solutions to the broader issues.


Reviewed by:

Lynn Machin


A levels, business, colleges, curriculum, diploma, economic, enterprise, GCSE, initial teacher trainers, inspectors, key stage 4, schools, 14 -19

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