Some schools in England work with Enabling Enterprise, an award winning not-for-profit social enterprise, set up by a team of teachers in 2009. Their mission is to equip young people with the skills, experiences and aspirations they need to succeed in life. They create resources and work with students to build eight key skills including leadership.
The skills they focus on include: being creative, staying positive, problem solving, aiming high, listening and understanding, presenting, working in a team and leading.
Before I go into the finer details, I can understand if teachers see this as just another program that they are forced to integrate into an already crowded curriculum.
That’s not the case.
Some schools make it a component of their literacy programs through the year, while other schools have designated blocks to complete the units, with a handy assessment guide that links to the curriculum, which comes with the package.
Imagine a unit which provides resources and allows students to work in groups to produce a plan for an art gallery opening or gives students the chance to design a stamp, create and design their own environmental hero or respond to an environmental problem in a creative way.
Schools have an initial consultation with Enabling Enterprise and pay a one-off subscription fee for the use of resources, access to the online portal and support sessions where Enabling Enterprise staff come to the school to discuss the program. They also facilitate whole school challenge days where students are presented with a challenge that they must find the solutions to.
Our school recently participated in the 'Crime Scene' challenge day. This was an entire school day designated to the program. In the morning the whole school was called to an assembly where students were given the news that a crime had taken place in the school grounds.
Some took the news more seriously than others!
Their job throughout the course of the day was to determine who committed the crime. They inspected a 'crime scene' for clues, listened to audio recordings, watched crime scene clips and participated in a number of activities throughout the day. Once all modules and activities were completed they used their evidence to determine who committed the crime and a piece to camera exposed the criminal!
They are very aware of the essential skills the youth of today require for the future. As it states on their website, 'without a balanced approach to academics and life skills, young people will be ill equipped for the next stage of their lives – a fact reflected in the growing youth unemployment rate, and a Sunday Times headlines as “schools are churning out the unemployable”.'
In the 2015/2016 year they worked with over 230 schools and have worked with over 35 000 students in England to date and have recently worked with schools in Dubai. It also has a formal link with the Australia through the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
The program has met with considerable success, it was the winner of the PWC Social Enterprise Social Impact Award in 2015 and was a finalist in Social Enterprise UK's Social Impact Award in 2015.
For more information on Enabling Enterprise please see: http://enablingenterprise.org