This #UKEdChat Session not only explored the main Business Studies and Economics subjects, but also provided a platform to share the enterprise projects that take place within schools. The session asked the following questions:
- What have been the most successful Enterprise projects, run by pupils, at your school?
- What key Business Skills should be taught at school, prior to formal examination courses commence?
- How could the real world events of Economics be integrated into other curriculum subjects?
- How can these skills help pupils prepare for the jobs market that they will one day enter?
- Do the qualifications in Business or Economics Studies truly reflect the skills young people need for entering the business world?
- What positive role can business play in our schools? (e.g. cash, work experience, careers advice, Governors etc.)
Due to demand, this inaugural Subject Special focusing on Enterprise, Economics and Business Studies allowed teachers to share the challenges, ideas and inspiration for teaching the skills required within these areas.
One of the main problems with current examination specifications appears to be that there is less opportunity to be practical as students need to focus on theories and ideas rather than being allowed the time to try them out practically. However, there are real opportunities to run practical schemes with all pupils which encourage problem solving, teamwork… understanding real world scenarios beyond SAT’s (@Gary_S_King), rather than just passive observers. Teachers feel under pressure to deliver the specifications and often miss the opportunities to bring learning alive. Me included, declared Gareth Williams.
@SuzanneCulshaw argued that we need to see “enterprising” as a skill set, not doing an activity. Embed across curriculum, eg risk taking. This is very true, with @HelenB_PJF pointing to the “Developing enterprising young people” report from OfSTED in 2005 (click here to view) which actually provided context and includes helpful advice, but some of the main skill sets, such as communication skills, financial / budgeting skills, marketing, production could easily be taught in other subject areas such as Maths, English, Design Technologies, … etc. (@SuzanneCulshaw). Project-based learning is tough in secondary schools but events allow cross-curricular learning (Bernie).
In regards to the actual courses which are being taught, MrsGrannell shared that her school scrapped BTEC and now do NCFE V Cert in business & enterprise. It’s a good course. Sadly some leaders are more concerned about checking boxes rather than encouraging this fun practical element! (Aysha Haq)
Moving onto Economics, it was felt that there’s a responsibility for all to teach students how the economy works, as it underlies future prospects (Mr Allsop History) although there are various concepts that can be difficult for some students (and teachers) to grasp. @SuzanneCulshaw argued that Economics, in sense of “current affairs”, belongs in pshe / smsc / tutor time. Get kids aware of wider world, issues, etc. but this would be a challenge for any school as current affairs are always changing, and keeping abreast of such developments is an ongoing process.
Using the wealth of experience, insights and real-world business knowledge from local businesses was also advocated throughout the session, with various national schemes now in place which allow entrepreneurs to talk to students to help inspire. Gareth Williams advocated that schools need to engage with local employers to discuss skills requirements, involve in curriculum design and delivery.