New programme fills the gap in secondary

13th June 2003 at 01:00
While enterprise education has been well provided for in primary schools, with 6,000 teachers trained and nearly 90,000 pupils introduced to enterprise through the Schools Enterprise Programme, it has tended to disappear for two years at the start of secondary school.

Enterprise education has been well resourced in upper secondary, with the Get into Enterprise programme in 90 per cent of secondary schools and 700 teachers trained in its use, but there has been an education gap at S1 and S2. This will now be filled by the Up for Enterprise programme, which has been piloted in secondary schools in the north-east and in Glasgow prior to being launched nationally today.

Sandra Gates, who has been training secondary teachers in and around Aberdeen, and is a former secondary teacher herself, explains that the new resource builds on the SEP's primary materials, extending their scope. It also provides continuity with Get into Enterprise, all three programmes having been written by the same people.

A broad definition of enterprise is taken throughout the 5-14 curriculum, she explains. It encompasses not only running a business to make a profit, but also running a project to benefit the community or the environment.

"When I wrote to headteachers, the immediate feedback was how useful some of the activities would be and they wouldn't normally have thought of them as enterprise," she says.

"So the transition from P7 to S1, the anti-bullying campaign, the away-day activity book, these are all things schools need to develop anyway. And they are likely to be far more effective if the kids develop them themselves."

At The Gordon Schools in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, 10 teachers in a variety of subjects already have been trained to use the new material. "A large group gives you a better chance of putting the ideas into practice," says assistant headteacher Isobel Loughridge.

"We normally take our first years on trips to local industries - ice-cream makers, distilleries, other food manufacturers - so one idea we worked on was getting them to produce away-day booklets, with graphics, quizzes and fun activities, which could then be used in our feeder primaries."

Activities such as this are often being done without being recognised as an enterprise, says Ms Gates. "Running something like a citizenship forum, that's a community enterprise. A health fair, that's a community enterprise.

"The Scottish Executive is saying children should do one enterprise activity every year. There's no way you can do a business enterprise every year, but you don't have to."

At Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen, the business studies teachers have been running enterprise activities for older pupils for years. They are particularly impressed by Get into Enterprise, which they describe as a "super resource", and look forward to similar benefits from the use of Up for Enterprise.

Acting principal teacher Stewart Smillie believes that if more time was made for enterprise in the lower school, there would be spin-offs in every subject. "The kids realise their potential. They discover they can achieve.

They learn to work as a group. If we make time for enterprise and help them focus on these skills, we will see the benefits coming through in every subject," he says.

Senior teacher Fiona Reid recalls a group of pupils with special educational needs. "They made profits. They became independent decision-makers. They came out of that enterprise course full of confidence in the skills they had acquired."

Today's national launch of Up for Enterprise in Aberdeen, with astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, means any secondary teacher in Scotland can now be trained to deliver enterprise education to all years.

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