Enabling Enterprise’s Anna Bowler attended a Character Education event held by Teach First recently, at Percy Shurmer Academy in Birmingham. The event was well attended by representatives from primary, secondary and other educational organisations, with Teach First and President Kennedy School from Coventry taking the lead. Representatives were split into primary and secondary groups to discuss key questions around the meaning of Character Education, delivery in schools, challenges and next steps.

Anna worked with a group of secondary practitioners to explore what is currently being done and to look at where a focus on enterprise skills can support and promote Character Education. Firstly, the importance of each school having a unique approach and definition of character for students to follow was highlighted through the session. It was noted that no single school setting or community is identical, concluding that there was no one framework to fit all. Secondly, it was discussed that although we have fond memories of the ‘good old days’, times have changed, through the instant sharing of information via smart phones and new generation of potentially eyebrow raising role models, Generation Z live in a different age to what we may remember. The group concluded it is important that we do not try to recreate the past through our approaches and polices for Character Education.

The question ‘How does Enabling Enterprise fit into the future of Character Education?’ was raised. The Enabling Enterprise mission is that ‘one day, all students will leave school equipped with the skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.’ For us, Enterprise Education is not limited to knowledge around business start-ups and definitions of business concepts, but rather the development of key transferable skills such as resilience, problem solving, teamwork and creativity. For us, it is those key skills and aspirations that support character and can ensure success in the world of work.

Discussion then moved to how we go about this. Three Character Education focused principles include:

  • Our programmes are built around eight Enterprise Skills which link to important Character Traits such as building ambition through Aiming High and resilience through Staying Positive. Students are encouraged to reflect on their character traits through the skills development and assessment tools
  • The educational philosophy applied to all Enabling Enterprise Projects, Challenge Days and Business Trips is the Project Based Learning approach. This encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and drive their own thinking, by working collaboratively. Our training sessions provide in-depth insights to this approach to learning can be applied to any subject at any key stage, to allow students to continue to flourish in lessons and display a school’s Character Ethos
  • Our Business Trips allow students to have a unique experience outside of their usual circles to help grow their sense of responsibility, whilst raising aspirations by having the opportunity to work on a task with an adult with whom previously they may not have had contact with. This expands student sense of place and ultimately raises aspirations to become an active member of their community deepening their sense of Character.

We believe our philosophy and approach to Enterprise Education has many more links to what should be a multifaceted approach to Character Education. We look forward to exploring this further at the next Character Education Network Event hosted by Teach First.

To explore our programmes in more detail, click here.

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