Future entrepreneurs

9th March 2007 at 00:00
The Determined to Succeed policy aims to create youngsters who are 'confident, flexible, prepared to take risks and make their ideas happen'

one would not expect ministers to showcase events in schools which do not support their policies.

So Edinburgh's Trinity Academy was a natural choice for Nicol Stephen, the Deputy First Minister, to launch the three-year progress report on the Determined to Succeed (DtS) policy, announcing another pound;1 million into the bargain.

Peter Galloway, the headteacher, is an even more enthusiastic missionary for enterprise education than Mr Stephen. He was involved in the formulation of the policy and is closely associated with the influential work of the Hunter Foundation and the Smith Group.

Mr Galloway has been instrumental in shaping his school to the enterprising "can do, will do" approach he extols. This applies to the curriculum and teaching as well as to pupils' learning. For him, enterprise education is not an end in itself but a means to an end. That end is simple - improving pupil achievement.

He is more than happy to be associated with the conclusion of this week's progress report: "Determined to Succeed is fundamental in sparking enterprising ambition in our young people. For Scotland to realise its potentia* I we need youngsters who are confident, flexible, prepared to take calculated risks, have a 'can do, will do' attitude, and who want to make their ideas happen."

Trinity Academy oozes enterprise, and it expects all subject departments to play their part. Each has a link to the outside world - business studies to Standard Life, English with the Traverse Theatre, geography with the Cairngorm National Park Autho-rity, biology with Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens, modern studies with the Faculty of Advocates.

All the school's activities have an enterprising edge. This involves not just setting up companies in the traditional way but also taking broader responsibilities across a range of initiatives, such as overseas trips, fundraising or, indeed, organising events for visiting ministers.

Mr Galloway gives every S4, S5 and S6 pupil a week's work experience which, at least for the older group, he prefers to call "vocational preparation."

But not all his colleagues take such an inclusive view, as he admits.

The opportunities for pupils to excel can be at unexpected, even mundane, levels, as three of Trinity's fifth years attested. For Abi Baillie, it was taking part in a European work experience programme. Despite the language and cultural barriers, and the challenges of meeting new people, she said:

"I coped, and I enjoyed myself. I was elated. I felt I could do anything."

Craig Mitchell drew inspiration from working with primary children on a trip to Germany, getting involved in fundraising to support a joint rugby-hockey trip to Australia and (coming up) organising the school prom.

Emily Granozio, who emerged unscathed from work experience in Mr Stephen's office, says she has benefited from the link with a day care centre in Tanzania, becoming more involved in how she is taught, being exposed to finance education and gaining confidence from being in the buddy system.

The business world brought its support to the venture. Ray Per-man, former chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said he and others used to believe that giving youngsters opportunities was enough: "I realise now that it is essential they have the confidence to take advantage of the opportunities."

But some educationists want to see a clearer fit between Deter-mined to Succeed and the plethora of other official initiatives. John Mulgrew, chair of Learning and Teaching Scotland, believes that, whether it is DtS, leadership, the cultural strategy, active and healthy schools, CPD or schools of ambition, "they all come under the banner of creativity: that's the coherent strategy".

ENTERPRISE EDUCATION

Some of the key commitments - and how they have measured up: All pupils have an entitlement to enterprise activities each year and all in S5 and S6 have access to entrepreneurial case studies, but not all get access to work-based vocational learning linked to a qualification.

Of the 32 authorities, 29 have a communications strategy for raising awareness among parents.

Individual "champions" for enterprise education were identified , but some took to it more enthusiastically than others.

All education authorities offer pupils hand-on experience of enterprise and business activities.

Every authority has at least one enterprise development officer and there are 67 in total.

Learning and Teaching Scotland has revamped all its relevant guidance and support materials, while it is working with Careers Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and businesses to promote good practice and develop qualifications.

There are 7,000 school-business partnerships, against a target of 2000 set for 2006.

Enterprise education is highlighted nationally in the annual Scottish Education Awards.

Initial teacher education has yet to develop fully enterprise education components in courses.

The goal for teachers to have enterprise experiences at least once every two years in their continuing professional development is ongoing: 22,000 have been trained.

Oversight of DtS by a ministerial strategic forum is being carried out by the Smith Group.

The executive, local authorities and HMIE have drawn up indicators and development plans to implement DtS.

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