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Enterprise in the recession

What does the recession mean for enterprise in schools? How can it continue through these hard times? And where does the employer partnership contribute?

These were questions posed by HMIE Bill Geddes at a recent Enterprise Careers conference at Strathclyde University. One year after the publication of Improving Enterprise in Education, he took stock of where schools had got to. "We see some inspiring teaching where we get so caught up in class, we forget to take notes," he said. "We ask, can teachers sustain this or is it a five-minute wonder? Pupils say it's always like this."

But he advised schools to treat employers well. "Some employers have been very generous with their time. Sometimes we don't appreciate this. It is important that we leave employers feeling like they have done something."

It was important that pupils had practical expectations of the world of work. "It is not about devaluing the workplace. In our experience, secondary pupils tell us that the most memorable experience of school is the work experience. It is a reminder to us that there are different places of learning."

For the future, ACfE could be the key. "If people are enterprising in all areas, A Curriculum for Excellence should not be an issue. Moving forward, enterprise skills - it is about embedding it across all areas and ensuring that there is a close link between the world of work and of learning. It is about dropping entrepreneurship into the mix, rather than saying that is an enterprise event, now let's get back to maths. It is the attitude and culture of looking for innovative ways of doing things ... We need to push the message of innovation."

Teachers should be self-evaluating constantly to ensure they were engaging all young people, he said. "A lot of us are good at the processes, but are we getting anything out of the processes? Are they working?"

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