The way forward

9th March 2007 at 00:00
Enterprise education hailed as most important initiative since devolution the emphasis in enterprise education is likely to switch to work-based vocational programmes after these emerged as the biggest challenge in the Scottish Executive's pound;86 million Determined to Succeed policy.

A progress report on the first three years of the initiative showed that most of the 20 commitments with which the executive set up the programme had been met.

But officials acknowledge that the initial undertaking to offer all young people over the age of 14 a vocational learning experience linked to a qualification was a daunting one. Nonetheless, 26 out of the 32 education authorities do offer such opportunities, sparked in part by the Skills for Work courses, although some schools restrict them to Christmas leavers.

Launching the report at Trinity Academy in Edinburgh, Nicol Stephen, the Deputy First Minister, announced a further pound;1 million as "seedcorn funding" for the scheme to act as an additional incentive for employers to become involved, so spreading the range of work-based options available.

The extra cash comes on top of a pound;2 million injection already announced by the executive to expand work-based vocational learning in a number of authorities. These initiatives range from all-inclusive programmes for S3-S6 pupils in Angus, to more specific targeting of the group at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training in Clackmannanshire.

The executive trumpeted "remarkable results" this week from the first three years of DtS - the target of 2,000 school-business partnerships has been far exceeded and has now reached more than 7,000; enterprise education is taught in all schools and 22,000 teachers have been trained in enterprise education.

Mr Stephen hailed "this significant success story" but conceded that "there is still a great deal to be done". Both he and Jack McConnell, the First Minister, have said it is the single most important educational initiative in the first two terms of the Scottish Parliament.

Peter Galloway, the headteacher at Trinity Academy and a close ally of Sir Tom Hunter, whose foundation has put pound;2 million into DtS, believes the instilling of a "can do, will do" attitude among pupils and teachers is essential to support pupils' attainment, achievements and preparation for life after school.

Business voices at the launch of the report, such as Neil Hunter of ScottishPower Learning, and Ray Perman of the Smith Group, gave their backing. But John Mulgrew, chairman of Learning and Teaching Scotland, made a plea for Determined to Succeed to be part of a "coherent strategy" linked to other aspects of educational policy.

The enterprising story, p4

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