Whither Enterprise Education?

By Berkery, Aoife | Teaching Business & Economics, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Whither Enterprise Education?


Berkery, Aoife, Teaching Business & Economics


Most schools will be familiar with the idea of Enterprise Education. In September 2005 Enterprise Education was given an initial investment of £180 million, over 3 years, by the government.

There are 3 strands to enterprise education: Enterprise Capability is innovation, creativity, risk management, risk taking and a can-do attitude and the drive to make ideas happen. It is supported by ...

Financial Capability - the ability to manage one's own finances and to become questioning and informed consumers of financial services. Which is strongly linked to...

Economic and Business understanding. This is the ability to understand the business context and make informed choices between alternative uses of scarce resources (Howard Davies Report, 2002).

However, the good intentions of the government and schools alike have been diminished by the challenges presented in the delivery of the topic. This article draws on some research carried out by a secondary school business studies teacher on the current state of Enterprise Education in schools and colleges.

In facilitating Enterprise Education teachers face challenges. One is from colleagues who feel that the delivery of the topic interferes with the important examination subjects and that these subjects should be reviewed during the time designated for Enterprise. There is also further resistance in relation to a perceived lack of training. It is also commonplace to see Enterprise Education focused within Business Studies departments, rather than implementing the cross curricular delivery originally envisaged by Ofsted.

In March 2010 1A Guide to Enterprise Education' was published by the then Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) in bid to regenerate the idea of, and interest in. Enterprise Education.

The following is a brief summary of this publication.

1 . From the point of view of the schools that want to improve a variety of areas such as attainment, pupils' confidence and employability, or to improve pupils' engagement with learning. Enterprise Education is delivering results.

2. For the school to ensure they are creating an Enterprise culture, they need ways to assess whether they are actually making progress. This must be measurable and for this reason schools are advised to look at the review of the Enterprise Policy and action plan. This will provide a good starting point for them. They are also given advice on how to establish indicators and ways to measure their progress that will help them assess if they are achieving their Enterprise objectives.

3. Schools are then given a step-by-step structure on how to track the enterprise activities in the school. The first place to start is to track what activities are taking place in the school, both in the curriculum and extra-curricular. The next step is to find out what impact these are having on pupils. It is good practice to look at four different levels of impact.

* Reactions - did the pupils enjoy it?

* Learning - what new knowledge, skills or understanding did they learn?

* Behavioural change - what are pupils doing differently as a result?

* Results - what difference have those behavioural changes made?

4. The report highlights that pupil and staff feedback about activities should be collected after each activity whilst the experience is still fresh in their minds and stored for the annual evaluation process. Schools should also establish an 'Enterprise Passport' to help students record their achievements against the school's defined Enterprise skills. The Passport demonstrates to students just how much Enterprise activity they do and the value it brings to their studies. It also enables them to articulate their skills and the value these bring to an interview situation.

5. Enterprise takes time to embed and day-to-day changes can be subtle, so measuring progress once a year is about right and can feed into the plan for the following year. …

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