Schools must increase enterprise education, says Ofsted

A recent Ofsted report has highlighted the need for schools to take more action to prepare young people for the world of work.

Students need more enterprise education says Ofsted
The nation’s future economic prosperity is being put at risk because the majority of England’s schools are failing to give sufficient priority to enterprise education and work-related learning, according to a new Ofsted report published today.The survey, Getting ready for work finds that only four of the 40 secondary schools visited by inspectors were demonstrating an effective approach to this aspect of the curriculum, despite the government’s commitment to take forward the recommendations made in Lord Young’s 2014 report into these matters.The survey also finds that poor coordination between schools and businesses and the absence of any overarching government strategy are leaving large numbers of young people – particularly the disadvantaged – unprepared for the world of work.Enterprise education involves teaching pupils the knowledge they will need to be future employees and potential employers by providing opportunities to raise their awareness of problems and solutions in the context of business and enterprise. It also involves teaching young people to make informed choices about their finances.

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Commenting on the report findings, HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said, "The question of how well our school system is preparing young people for the world of work has never been more important. The future success and prosperity of the UK in a post-Brexit world will increasingly depend on our ability to harness home grown talent and to encourage the creativity and innovation of our young people."That will mean making sure that pupils from all backgrounds have access to an education that prepares them well for the next stage of their lives, be that higher education, entering employment or setting up their own business."The career choices that young people make can be informed by the practical experience they gain at school. It is really important that schools are providing the right opportunities, working effectively with local businesses to offer their pupils the chance to understand how businesses work. This is even more important for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds." 

Key findings from the report include: 

  • Enterprise education is not prioritised due to pressures on finance and curriculum time
  • Existing enterprise education tends to be a series of one-off events lacing any sense of progression
  • Opportunities for pupils to get involved in work-related learning or experience are limited. School leaders suggested that arranging work experience is too time consuming and impractical on a large scale
  • Business involvement in schools relied too heavily on the personal networks of teachers and parents, potentially resulting in disadvantaged pupils missing out
  • Business leaders consulted for the report raised concerns of lack of strategy by the government, business organisations or schools
  • Schools are more likely to promote apprenticeships in recent years but parents and pupils are concerned about the quality of apprenticeships

For related news and features, visit our Enterprise and Education sections.

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