Show us your enterprise, heads urged

A leading member of the inspectorate warned schools last week not to regard enterprise activities as "anything goes".

Bill Geddes, the national HMIE specialist for work and enterprise, told a conference run by Edinburgh City Council last week that teachers should beware of assuming that, simply by saying they were "being enterprising," then no one would question their actions.

Mr Geddes said expectations of what schools should deliver through the Scottish Executive's pound;86 million enterprise in education strategy had been raised, and he added: "Nearly pound;100m is not given to anyone lightly."

The inspectorate would be looking for more coherence and impact, as well as evidence that the strategy was being professionally managed, he said, but acknowledged that schools had "matured" in their understanding of enterprise in education.

Mr Geddes was one of several speakers who underlined the natural fit between the Determined to Succeed strategy for enterprise in education and A Curriculum for Excellence.

He was supported by Michael Cross, the official leading the Scottish Executive's Determined to Succeed strategy.

But Mr Cross warned that teachers who said they could not find the time to do enterprise could not be allowed to put up barriers. "Determined to Succeed is about being enterprising - not about doing enterprise," he said.

He believed there were early signs that the Executive's investment was beginning to pay off, and further elements of the strategy were due to be announced to target young people most at risk of "NEET-ness" - those not in education, employment or training (see page 6).

His message of synchronicity was underlined by May Sweeney, national co-ordinator for the curriculum initiative. She told the heads that the origin of the contribution of enterprise in education to ACE was the national education debate four years ago.

"The Scottish people said they wanted to do more to prepare young people for life and work - and that translated itself into the Determined to Succeed strategy and now into A Curriculum for Excellence," she said Mrs Sweeney urged heads to discuss with staff how they saw enterprise and other big themes, such as citizenship, making a contribution to the new curriculum.

"In many cases, you could take enterprise away and put citizenship in there, or you could call it enterprise citizenship," she said.

Enterprise in education could help achieve another of the new curricular aims -that pupils should gain more enjoyment from the curriculum and greater understanding of its relevance. It was cross-cutting, rather than an add-on, and allowed for experiential learning outside the classroom.

As The TESS revealed last week, Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, plans to issue a consultation paper next month outlining progress on the curriculum changes, and future proposals.

Mrs Sweeney said one element of those future plans would be to involve many focus groups across the country to test out some of the work and involve them in future progress. This would be modelled on the step-by-step approach adopted in the Assessment is for Learning programme.

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