The school also chose to implement an enterprise programme for Year 10 pupils with the aim of developing their economic and business understanding through one day placements in a local college in order to work towards gaining a vocational qualification. As part of the PGCE in Secondary Business Education at the University of Manchester, students take part in an Enterprise Week at Whalley Range High School for Girls, a specialist business, enterprise and sporting school. The Enterprise Week is aimed at Year 9 pupils and involves the pupils working and competing in groups to come up with the best business solution to increase attendance and income at the theme park “Alton Towers”.
The year 9 pupils break away from their normal timetable for that week to work in their groups, brainstorming, developing valuable team working, investigation literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, conducting primary and secondary research in order to achieve this, not to mention the trip to Alton Towers which is very popular. There is also an alternative programme for those unable to make the trip involving guest speakers from local businesses and colleges, focussing on the recruitment and job application process. The purpose of this week is for pupils to complete the coursework element of the AQA Certificate in Enterprise and Employability with a view to them taking the exam in Year 10 if successful with the coursework. (Lecture Notes, Raffo, 2009)
All of the above examples of schools involved in Enterprise Education found that it enhanced the learning of pupils taking part, improving skills such as working in groups, ICT from producing reports and presentations, numeracy from financial aspects of enterprise, literacy from producing reports and presenting, evaluation and problem solving skills. It also dramatically improved the behaviour of pupils and helped to re-engage disaffected pupils.
Ofsted carried out an evaluation of enterprise education in 33 schools in 2003 and a further 16 schools in 2005 producing the report “Developing Enterprising Young People” in Nov 2005. The survey found that in order to effectively develop enterprise education, schools had to demonstrate: Ofsted have to continue to evaluate school’s provision for enterprise education and its contribution to young people meeting the outcomes of the Every Child Matters agenda and publish their findings.
The Impact on Society
In a speech made by Gordon Brown in June 2004, he states that in order to boost productivity and create greater wealth within the United Kingdom, we need to develop “as strong and deep an enterprise culture as the United States”. The Discussion Paper “Advancing Enterprise: Britain in a Global Economy” (HM Treasury, 2004) states that there are 200,000 more small businesses in the UK than there was ten years ago and that entrepreneurial activity has risen from its 2002 level of 5.4%. to 6.4%, however, this is small compared to the United States of America figure of 11.3%.
The discussion paper strongly recommends the importance of an entrepreneurial attitude in today’s society due to circumstances such as individuals changing jobs more frequently, management structures becoming less hierarchical, and working methods becoming more network oriented which requires individuals, and employees in small and large businesses to be able to spot opportunities, take initiatives and adapt to changing circumstances. This belief is reflected in Jephcote and Abbot (2005) which states that “Students now need to be equipped with a range of lifetime skills that enable them to adapt to change and uncertainty.”
What is the likely impact of young people leaving education with improved employability skills such as, financial management, working as part of a team, problem solving, evaluation, numeracy, ICT, and communication skills and an improved set of qualifications and a good grounding in Ethical Behaviour? The answer to these questions is very clear. Enterprise education does not exist solely to create the next Richard Branson or Alan Sugar, but instead gives young people an opportunity to improve skills qualifications and attitudes to life which can only set to benefit society as a whole either as future entrepreneurs or using their enterprise skills in a variety of occupations.