Trust in partners brings rewards

1st July 2005 at 01:00
When one of Britain's leading financiers thanks his Young Enterprise experience at school for putting him on the road to success then business-education links have surely come of age. Bill Wigley, chairman of Merrill Lynch's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, tells of just such an experience in this TES special report (page 6). Back in the 1980s, when the schemes were new, these stories were rare. Not so now, as enterprise is at the heart of every school and college, thanks to pathfinders such as him.

But the initiatives do not stop at enterprise schemes. The TES has worked with Business in the Community on these special reports for more than a decade. The emphasis was originally on how to get business people into schools, to be trusted, to bring resources. Education-business partnerships were burgeoning to change hearts and minds.

Much has now been achieved. The quality of resources surpasses expectations, as the work of BT demonstrates (page12). But the influence runs a lot deeper, as educationists in industry collaborate with researchers and teachers on groundbreaking curriculum developments. BT is one of many to push back the barriers to innovation through initiatives such as "dialogic teaching", a concept developed by Professor Robin Alexander that promotes learning through listening.

Similarly, GlaxoSmithKline is helping overcome pupils' resistance to careers in science - a desperately needed measure - through new concepts that turn teaching ideas on their heads to give pupils a new, relevant and exciting look at subjects such as chemistry.

Trust is growing as teachers see people from industry not as outsiders or fifth columnists but as partners in an effort to open young minds.

There is still a considerable amount to do to improve schools and the world of work - there always will be. But, nowadays, there are so many models of excellent partnerships for those who are new to the game to follow. Chances for the next generation of Bob Wigleys have never been better.

Ian Nash Assistant editor, TES The contents of this magazine are the responsibility of 'The TES', not the sponsors.

Editor Ian Nash

Design Margaret Donegan, Simon Pipe, Picture editor Louise Mills

Production Neil Levis

Cover photograph Jim Wileman (see story page 8)

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