Enterprise website

A pound;90,000 interactive website has been launched as part of the Schools Enterprise Programme, which aims to give enterprise training to five to 14-year-olds as part of the curriculum, writes Ian Ansdell.

First Minister Jack McConnell and entrepreneur Tom Hunter launched www.schoolsenterprise.co.uk last month at Carmyle Primary in Glasgow, where pupils have set up a company to produce and sell calendars to the school and local community. Another 16 schools joined a live online chat session with Mr Hunter, former owner of the Sports Division chain of shops.

"The core of Scotland's economy depends upon the further development of an enterprising nation and the only way to achieve that status is from the grassroots, through education," said Mr Hunter.

The Schools Enterprise Programme is a three-year, pound;5 million joint venture between the Scottish Executive and the private sector, managed by Careers Scotland, and is being delivered by 34 enterprise education support officers.

The website serves four audiences. The public area offers background information and news, while password-protected areas are provided for teachers, pupils and support officers.

Teachers can compile information about enterprise activities, access details of projects in other schools, take part in online discussions and share resources. Similar facilities are available in the children's area, while the administration section allows support officers to submit reports and hold online meetings.

The sophisticated database system means the site is updated whenever users add a report.

The website's developer, Enrich Consulting, was paid pound;18,000 and donated the remaining pound;72,000 costs in the form of expertise as part of its contribution to the private sector funding of the programme.

The site will be under continual development, said managing director Stephen Ritchie. "We are going to make the kids' section much more user friendly and add more content. The children themselves have come up with suggestions in the discussion forum about how to improve the site and the project, and tools and resources they would like to see."

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