Alison Gale is an Education Associate at Enabling Enterprise in the West Midlands. She has 20 years experience as a primary school teacher and regularly engaged in project based learning and enterprise in her own classroom. Here, she discusses the lecture she gave at Newman University to share best practice in enterprise education to trainee teachers.

As a fresh faced graduate I began a PGCE at Newman College Birmingham, now Newman University. Fast forward 20 years and I’m back in a Newman lecture theatre presenting about enterprise education to over a 100 third year teacher trainees. In my new role as an Education Associate with Enabling Enterprise I had the opportunity to spread the word about enterprise education and share best practice with my colleague Sarah Marlow, a Senior Associate (and fellow Newman alumni). Being back at Newman University and being amongst students certainly got me thinking about the start of my career.

My days as a ‘new’ teacher

Back in the early days, I had an excellent mentor. She offered practical advice, encouragement and provided me with opportunities to develop as a young teacher. I was able to network (although I didn’t yet know that terminology) within the local authority on courses, subject specific training and I benefitted from professional development opportunities within the schools where I worked. I was fortunate. I know in some areas teachers both new to the profession and not so new, worked pretty much in isolation.

Today, with advances in technology and social media, it is much easier to stay connected to some extent; to stay abreast with educational news. No longer do you have to hope the TES will appear on the staffroom table and that someone might have the time to discuss an article with you! An awareness of educational trends and research is much more accessible. The sharing of good practice, the dissemination of information, ideas and support to all teachers, especially new teachers, is invaluable – whether by 21st century technological ‘virtual’ means or, probably still many of our favoured ‘face to face’ methods, ideally by trusted and respected colleagues. Such opportunities have positive impacts in classrooms.

Presenting about enterprise education at Newman University

With the intention of supporting these teachers in training and sharing great practice to a new generation, Sarah and I prepared our presentation for third year students at Newman University. We sought to assist the students to develop an understanding of enterprise education, so that they might take it out into their own classrooms, their own schools – where ever they might be in the region and beyond. We aimed to highlight the beneficial skills that can be acquired by their pupils and how they, as teachers can be supported to develop enterprising learners in their classrooms whilst engaging their pupils in motivating and exciting projects such as when they work collaboratively to create a toy from recycled materials, designing a range of greetings cards to sell or crafting their own political manifesto!

We wanted to share this with the trainee teachers and actively engage them with project based learning. Throughout the session they took part in the challenges themselves. There was a real ‘buzz’ in the lecture hall. As one student commented, ‘I want to make sure I do this with my class – I love this. I’m sure they would too.’ Eamonn Elliot, Senior Lecturer who sat in on the session commented afterwards that, ‘the students were motivated and eager to participate in related events’. Good news – as they were offered the chance to see first-hand enterprise education in action on an Enabling Enterprise business trip to Newman University where they could volunteer to support pupils with an enterprise task

Kevin Griffiths, Employment Engagement Officer at Newman is supportive of forging strong links with our work at Enabling Enterprise and the university so that the teachers of the future are fully informed, supported and empowered to deliver high quality enterprise education in their own schools. Interest was also expressed in receiving regular newsletters from Enabling Enterprise and so contact details were shared, Facebook and Twitter links highlighted – all very 2014!

Win – win for pupils and teachers!

Finally, Sarah and I, with 38 years of teaching experience between us, appreciate as new teachers our audience would continue to have a lot to think about over the coming months and were pleased to be able to demonstrate how by embedding enterprise education opportunities into their classroom practice early on, they would also be able to evidence Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) standards at the start of their careers and beyond. Win-win then for their pupils, their schools and themselves as new teachers!

As these new recruits to the profession secure their first teaching position over the coming months, and go out to teach in schools across the region and further afield, I would like to think that they will create the opportunities to embed enterprise education in their own classroom practice and their wider school communities after seeing the positive impact it has. I hope that they will find it easy to ‘keep in touch’ with up to date thought and good practice in enterprise education (through face to face contact, and virtual means too), to have excellent mentors and supportive colleagues, to be part of networks that value the positive impact such approaches have – so that greater numbers of students benefit… to ensure that one day all students will leave school with the skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.

If you’d like to find out more about enterprise education we’d love to hear from you. You can also view out lesson-time projects, challenge days and trips to top businesses online, to get a flavour of the real thing. Get involved today!

Post discussion

Leave a comment

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

About Enabling Enterprise: … Our Mission Enabling Enterprise is an award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise, set up...



General inquiries:
Details: Visit the Contact Page

  • 4
  • 9

Sign up to our Newsletter here.