One of our newest team members, Delphine Greene, joins us with experience of having taught Enabling Enterprise as a teacher herself. Here, she reflects on what’s made her a more enterprising teacher.

The primary school perspective

As far as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed working with young people, perhaps it’s because I’m a big kid at heart myself. As adults, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day stresses of life and forget how to appreciate the little things – children however are great at reminding me not to take life too seriously.

My love of working with young people subsequently led me to pursue work as an English tutor, au pair, learning support assistant and then a class teacher. It was during my time as a Year 5 teacher that I first encountered the world of enterprise in education. Since then, I have been on a journey to develop and grow my understanding about the benefits of enterprise in the classroom.

What enterprise means to me

As a class teacher I observed an exciting change in my pupils’ attitude to learning by placing a central focus on the key skills linked with enterprise projects. Over the course of a year all children showed me they were able to hone their less developed skills and give examples of real life experiences to support their progression.

The boys in particular really stood out to me. It was a joy to hear shrieks of “YES!” and see their raised enthusiasm the moment they spotted enterprise on the day’s timetable. I specifically recall one child, who was known to most teachers for his disruptive behaviour morphing into a pupil who wanted to aim high, not only for himself but more importantly for his team.

Becoming more enterprising

It is well known that children learn more when they are engaged and actively involved. Enterprise has a head start here because it uses real life projects to give students skills, experiences and to raise aspirations for success so young people are adequately prepared for the future.

Because of this promise my previous head teacher encouraged me to select a specific child to attend a business trip as she was having difficulty maintaining friendships and could often be referred to as being, ‘painfully shy’. The child in mind was not a natural leader and had hardly spoken much to me in the six months she had been a member of my class. I admit I was enjoyably surprised when she returned her permission slip confirming she would attend the trip. However, it was the day of the trip itself to Oliver Wyman, where the children had to collaborate with pupils they hadn’t met before to create a new airline, that she truly amazed me.

It was a delight to watch this usually withdrawn young girl gradually open up like a flower in bloom as the day went on. Thanks to the encouragement and support of the Oliver Wyman volunteers and other children I was able to witness a confident side to this pupil who was even able to stand up in front of a room of strangers to deliver part of the team presentation. Her team went on to win the challenge that day and I clearly remember the moment her eyes lit up when her team’s name was announced.

Joining Enabling Enterprise

Since joining the Enabling Enterprise team I have been fortunate enough to witness how trips to different businesses help students draw links between how the all-important skills they have been practising in class are then used in the world of work. Year 10 students on a trip to PwC were assured by their volunteer that skills such as: team work and presenting were a regular part of her job at the company.

On a recent trip to law firm Baker and McKenzie, I overheard the gasps of amazement from children coming into the building. For many pupils that would have been their first trip into Central London and for others their first exciting experience of travelling on the tube. When quizzed by their teachers at the end of the trip about who wanted to become a lawyer after their day at Baker and McKenzie, an inspired sea of hands immediately rushed up.

Interacting with different children and adults in this job role makes what I do truly fun and it’s been fantastic to hear all about their own experiences back at school. For those schools familiar with Enabling Enterprise, the challenge skills have become an integral part of their school’s curriculum. It was wonderful to engage in conversations with Year 3 pupils from St Matthew’s C of E School, listening to examples of times they demonstrated using the key skills. As one student reflected, “I never used to be very good at listening to other people but now I am.”

Spreading the word

At Enabling Enterprise, we know what we’re working towards: ensuring that one day, all students leave school equipped with the enterprise skills, experiences of work and aspirations to be successful.

Since joining the team, it’s been a privilege to work across just some of our 175 partner schools and to see what this really means in practice: Seeing students creating radio shows, fundraising, improving their schools, setting up political parties, visiting brilliant businesses and much more besides.

Ultimately, a generation equipped with enterprise skills will become rounded, responsible and contributing citizens of the future. I’m delighted to be part of it.

If you’d like to find out more or get involved, just contact us.

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