S-Factor 2 – Ensuring enterprise and entrepreneurship education starts for every child as soon as they start school.
Attitudes and mindsets are formed at an early age, so it is important that we start developing enterprising skills, qualities and knowledge in the primary years and ensure it progresses through secondary education and beyond.
Children are naturally enterprising, full of ideas and keen to take the lead, given the right environment and encouragement.
But in a system of high stakes testing and league tables, too often children’s experience of school teaches them that there’s only one answer, and it’s got to be the right one.
It is also crucial that children and young people get a chance to learn from experience. They need a chance to make decisions, make mistakes and learn from both. All success is built on failure!
The complexity and challenges of adult life require flexible and creative thinking and the ability to look at problems and opportunities from many different angles, but those sorts of capabilities and attitudes are built up slowly and over time.
Our belief is that we’ll never have massive cultural change, a dynamic economy and fulfilled and useful adults until every child learns about enterprise and entrepreneurship as soon as they start school.
What we do:
We work across all key stages and with children as young as four, so that all children are introduced to and begin to develop their enterprise capability, as soon as they start school.
Our approach is to break down important enterprise concepts and life skills and put them at the heart of the curriculum so that teachers plan for and educate about ‘being enterprising.’ By introducing these concepts at an early age, teachers can build pupils’ confidence and abilities over time.
- An Infant school created a master plan for developing enterprise – meeting as a staff they shaped a three year plan that took them from a standing start to ‘enterprise culture’ in three years. They began by introducing The Foundation Six enterprise characters to their youngest children, and then built on those characters with increasingly sophisticated language and concepts as children got older. They completed the audit and action plan, leading to The Warwick Award for Excellence in Enterprise, and engaged all staff in planning for enterprise in school. They developed an assessment and merit system and eventually re-wrote their curriculum, putting enterprise at its heart.
- Another Infant school adapted a well known Design Technology Buggy Making project, asking children to plan, design and cost their own buggy and organise a Buggy Race event. Children utilised a range of enterprise skills through the activity, making decisions, managing a budget and planning and organising the event. Rich opportunities in maths and literacy were integrated into learning and the engagement with, and quality of learning inspired the whole school to prioritise using enterprise as a key driver in curriculum design.
- Primary staff looked for opportunities for children to take responsibility across the whole school, running and organising clubs and events and taking real ownership of existing structures, like the school council. The transformation was incredible; the sense of new and genuine responsibility engaged children and they came up with new ideas about how to manage activities based on need and demand from within the school community. Increasingly, and with planning time, these activities fed into the curriculum, providing a real context for classroom learning and increased motivation.