Research Report - Curriculum Models of Enterprise in Secondary Schools

In recent years there has been significant growth in Enterprise Education in England and abroad stemming from educational directives to increase enterprise awareness in schools.
This has been accompanied by an increase in the number of educational providers bringing enterprise activities and curriculum enhancements into schools.

This research aims to explore:

  1. What is ‘Enterprise Education’ in the context of Secondary education?
  2. Various modules for embedding enterprise into the curriculum.
  3. How it can be developed and implemented across the curriculum.

Taking the approach of a literature review and an examination of relevant case studies, this research paper come us with some useful strategies and advice for institutions who wish to implement Enterprise Education within their own curriculum:

The UK has a distinctive national strategy for enterprise education focussing on a broad, skills-based foundation. As a result, although terminology varies across the frameworks and models for enterprise education in schools, most present competences which are ‘soft’ skill-based. In addition, they all possess connections linked to other educational agendas; PSHE, PLTS and Work Related Learning. In each model, enterprise is focussed primarily on the delivery of soft skills. Therefore, these skills are related not only to business ventures and start-ups but also to increasing employability. Drawing from McLarty’s Evaluation of Enterprise Education and taking into account the various case studies from school and enterprise education providers, it seems that there are number of critical factors that a school wishing to embed enterprise must consider.

Common themes running through research, schools already embedding enterprise and enterprise education providers:

  • Enterprise education and learning needs to be defined and understood by students, staff and stakeholders
  • Learning outcomes of knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes need to be identified
  • Decisions upon how the development of enterprise learning can be assessed, monitored and evaluated
  • Vision and Ethos
    - Schools need to have a vision and an aim for what it is going to achieve. Many schools chose to also integrate it with the ethos.
    - Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, for example, embraces an Academy Vision which encompasses enterprise at the heart of the school, stating that: “The Academy seeks to develop a passion for learning and an enterprising spirit amongst its students and staff, and amongst members of the local community”. Consequently, this helps students, staff, parents and other stakeholders understand what is at the core of the Academy.
  • Teamwork appears to be a common theme amongst all providers.
  • The majority stem from the development of enterprise skills with most models referring to: creativity, problem solving, risk management and almost all address some form of independent inquiry 15
  • It takes considerable time to embed enterprise into the curriculum as well as implementing a number of strategies. Some schools report 1-2 years to gradually embed enterprise
  • The need for an Enterprise co-ordinator who can:
    - Look at how enterprise can be embedded into the existing curriculum
    - It is important to note that a completely new curriculum model is not necessarily needed. It is likely that there are pre-existing projects which, with some amendments, could include enterprise skills. Some schools, such as Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), set aside 1 hour per week for ‘Entrepreneurship’ with Key Stage 3. This time in the timetable is created from moving the provision of PSHE into tutor times. Any teacher is expected to deliver Entrepreneurship but is provided with a lesson plan and resources. As well as these specific Entrepreneurship lessons, DACA also embeds enterprise across the curriculum. Similarly, Castle View Enterprise Academy includes 2-3 hours of ‘Enterprise’ in the timetable.
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