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Examples of different ways to do enterprise education

Examples of approaches to enterprise education from a sample of enterprise pathfinder schools.

Example 1

An enterprise pathfinder project, in an 11-18 high school in Hertfordshire, targeted Year 10 vocational education students. In a relatively short time the school was successful in enabling the mixed group to participate in a Horticultural Enterprise project, linked to a BTEC course accredited by a local FE college. The project was given a high priority by the senior management team and this was signalled through the leadership of the project by the deputy headteacher.

The aims of the project were to: develop entrepreneurial skills; create links with community partners; open up vocational routes into FE; produce resources to share with other schools; and to publicise success. An outsider training provider delivered a three-day INSET course on 'Nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit'. This helped staff plan and develop a number of small-scale vocational enterprise projects and create a choice of learning opportunities. The first venture produced bulb and plant bowls for sale.

With enterprise pathfinder money the project expanded. In time the group was cultivating school garden areas, planting trees, landscaping and growing flowers and vegetables. A horticultural link with an FE college was made, which led to the accreditation of students' learning — NVQ level 1 in land-based studies. The school was able to offer some but not all the course requirements e.g. green keeping or using equipment such as motorised mowers or tractors. One idea for a project was to extend the Duke of Edinburgh scheme as a support mechanism for enterprise activities that have a social enterprise focus. With significant sponsorship from Age Concern, the project took on the responsibility of doing a make-over of a residential care home's garden area.

Example 2

The approach of an 11-18 community college in the Midlands to enterprise education is influenced strongly by its community, which has high levels of deprivation with few employment and enterprise opportunities. The focus is to develop enterprise skills (problem solving, working with others, decision making, creativity and risk taking) as well as foundation key skills (communication, numeracy and ICT capability), which will develop progressively from Years 7 to 13. These skills are applied through active involvement in social enterprise and mini-enterprise projects and engagement with business partners in the community.

The pathfinder project focused its first year on developing this programme in Year 10. The school delivered a term's unit of the core design and technology GCSE through mini-enterprises. This was done across the different design and technology subjects with preparation for the required skills being done through weekly tutorials. Assessment was undertaken through the use of the Enterprise Index, an interactive computer system, which established the baseline of skills and competencies, and through accreditation of the activities using Key Skills Working with Others (Level1). In the second year the school introduced the programme in Year 9 to allow for earlier development of skills that can be applied and to take pressure off GCSE courses.

Enterprise education is recognised as being an essential part of all aspects of the curriculum and, therefore, led by whole-school and department managers. It is a core component of the school improvement plan and development work is led through one of four whole-school task groups, composed of representatives from all school departments.

Example 3

In response to the needs of disaffected pupils in Key Stage 4, a Trafford secondary school decided to plan and implement an enterprise programme for Year 10 pupils. The aim was to develop economic and business understanding. To support the programme, placements were undertaken by staff with local businesses. Two members of staff also participated in the Enterprise Education Training programme run by Manchester Metropolitan University (both staff intending to complete a post-graduate certificate in enterprise education).

In order to give the programme some structure, events and schemes of work were arranged to promote work for the Youth Achievement Award, accredited by ASDAN. A one-day college placement was also organised with pupils working towards an NVQ qualification. Towards the end of the year evaluations showed that most pupils had significantly improved with increases in both their confidence and commitment to school life.

Young Enterprise had a place in the programme, as did AQA and OCR qualifications, supporting preparation for employment and understanding of the world of work. The programme was also supported by a group of business mentors. Interest in the programme from other schools in the LEA led to formal presentations. Future plans include the development of a financial capability module and an entrepreneur master class — involving learning about leadership of a company, marketing, finance, production and sales.

Published 23 September 2004

Last updated: 9 July 2007

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