Hard work dealing with soft skills

29th February 2008 at 00:00
I read your front-page article ("Plan to measure creativity", February 15) with a sense of deja vu. Although I wouldn't disagree with anything that is being said, why, oh, why don't people in the Department for Children, Schools and Families talk to each other so they can work out where their initiatives are sharing common ground?

The "soft skills" mentioned in the article are all very much what we would regard as "enterprising skills", and very much the skills that young people need to thrive in the current economic climate, and indeed in life. They are the "enterprising capabilities" that came out in the Davies Report and were flagged up as long ago as 2004 by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

As an organisation, the Pan-Merseyside Enterprise Project spends a lot of time helping schools make sense of the many initiatives and cross-curricular links that appear to have so much common ground. We help schools to see where they can be delivered without duplication. Enterprise education shares much common ground with the work of Creative Partnerships, and both are initiatives that work with great success where schools have come on board.

As regards assessing such skills, we have surveyed heads in the North West who feel staff are already being "monitored and recorded to death", as one put it. We have developed a series of "enterprise passports", with posters that can be used for pupil self-evaluation of these soft skills, and which raises their importance within the school. These are popular as they are a far more creative way of assessing soft skills, engaging both teachers and pupils.

Joy Addinsell, Project Manager, Pan Merseyside Enterprise Project, Enterprise Advisor Service North West, Liverpool.

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