Showtime for project managers

13th June 2003 at 01:00
Last year's national showcase of the Schools Enterprise Programme was a high-powered affair. The speakers included Tom Hunter, one of Scotland's most successful entrepreneurs, Iain Gray, the then Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, and Charles Skene, a pioneer of enterprise education.

For the audience, it was a fascinating day. For the children invited from schools all over Scotland to show off good practice in enterprise education, it was less riveting.

So this year's showcase, held on Tuesday in Edinburgh, was organised very much with the youngsters in mind. There were activities and exhibits, challenges and competitions, even a magician. There were also a lot more children - 320, including 70 infants - than at last year's showcase, says Sarah Hall, SEP national project manager.

"The most unpredictable part of the day was the enterprise challenge for infants," she says. Running a challenge with such young children has only been tried a few times before.Teams from nine schools had to design attractive cards to sell in a shop and get to work. Then they had to explain to the judges why theirs would sell.

None of the infant classes had ever taken part in an enterprise activity, which ensured a level starting point, and it gave the SEP a chance to train yet more teachers in enterprise education.

Elsewhere, a group of secondary teachers were being trained to use the new S1-S2 resource Up for Enterprise, which fills the gap between the SEP's upper primary Go for Enterprise and upper secondary Get into Enterprise programmes, while in another room pupils participated in one of the new featured activities: devising and running an anti-bullying campaign.

In the main hall, colourful, varied and impressive stalls manned by children and teachers exhibited a variety of enterprises. Tweedbank Primary put on a display of scarves, ties, braces and cuddly toys, all in a pattern devised by the pupils and now officially recognised as a new tartan.

From North Ronaldsay in Orkney, the whole school (five pupils) made the trip to demonstrate what can be done by just five children aged five to 11.

Their creativity in designing and printing artwork on T-shirts and cards has raised pound;450 for local charities.

From St Patrick's Primary in Denny, Falkirk, came a P7 craft company which makes gifts using traditional and modern techniques, including glass painting, decoupage and CD burning. Skills developed in talks to parents were called upon when they give a presentation on creating and running a company.

Throughout the day presentations were delivered by classes from North Uist and Inverness, Glasgow and Dumbarton, Livingston and Lanark.

"The day is about giving the children a chance to show off what they have made, what they've achieved and what they have learned," says Ms Hall.

"Enterprise education is about creating great conditions for learning. But it is also about kids having fun."

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