Enterprise proves the business

29th February 2008 at 00:00
HMIE report says initiative's introduction in schools has had a positive impact in every area of the curriculum

Enterprise in education has had a positive impact on attainment and wider achievements, from attendance and behaviour, to attitudes to learning and motivation, according to the latest report by HMIE.

Inspectors believe its introduction has confirmed the value of vocational approaches for all learners and permeated work-related thinking across all stages of the curriculum.

But schools need to develop enterprise approaches even further in the context of A Curriculum for Excellence. This will give them a means of tackling under-performance, promoting employability and providing high-quality vocational experiences, say inspectors.

Graham Donaldson, the senior chief inspector, said the publication of Improving Enterprise in Education was "timely", because it coincided with major curricular developments for 3- to 18-year-olds. He said this week: "This report underlines the continuing value of entrepreneurial and enterprise-specific activities and experiences as components of young people's education. The report is a clear reminder that improving the contribution of enterprise to the education of all young learners remains important and as yet unfinished business."

Inspectors also want to see continuing professional development in enterprise education become a regular feature for all staff and part of leadership development.

They also express concern that schools are not good enough at evaluating the impact of enterprise in education. "Schools and centres should improve the consistency and effectiveness with which they evaluate the quality of enterprise experience and its impact on pupils' achievement and progression in learning and development," said the report.

"Some centres failed to conduct other than cursory evaluations of the quality of their provision for enterprise, and of its impacts, sometimes on the basis that they found aspects of enterprise challenging to define and difficult to evaluate," it added.

"Centres themselves could not consistently offer significant, robust evidence to confirm the impact of enterprising approaches, or the extent to which these approaches were directly stimulated by Determined to Succeed as against other initiatives and developments."

The Determined to Succeed programme, established by the former Scottish Executive in 2003, has attracted more than pound;80 million funding in four years. It is one of the few areas of education to retain ring-fenced funding and will receive pound;22m over the next three years.

In the review of enterprise in education in 36 centres, inspectors found enterprising approaches had an impact on pupils' wider achievements and built on academic success. The report states: "Learners performed well in a range of enterprise contexts. At times, they showed skills in communication, working in teams and problem-solving beyond those expected for their age, and sometimes better than they demonstrated in other contexts.

"It will be important that this enabling effect of enterprising contexts and approaches on learners' performance is recognised as part of implementing A Curriculum for Excellence. It also reflects recommendations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, promoting broad-based vocational experience which adds relevance and motivation to learning for all pupils."

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