A TRAIL-BLAZING Rotherham scheme which teaches children entrepreneurial skills has been praised by the Prime Minister’s enterprise advisor during a flying visit to the borough.
Enterprise advisor Lord Young marked the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week by visiting Herringthorpe Infant School to see how the flagship Ready Unlimited programme was helping prepare pupils as young as four to learn more about the world of work and business.
Lord Young was visiting the school to learn more about its approach, which it has developed through working with Ready Unlimited, a not-for-profit social enterprise that develops teachers’ skills and confidence to create enterprising and entrepreneurial learning for all children, from as soon as they start school.
He told guests at a discussion session: “I’d like to see a world in which enterprise is in all subjects, where examples of learning include enterprise examples, because learning about that enriches the core curriculum.
“Too often, young people are insulated from the lives they are going to live as adults.
“To see children this young learning about enterprise as part of their everyday curriculum shows just what is possible.
“If we could see this everywhere, it would be a significant step forward. Unless a young person leaves school with these skills and knowledge, they’re not really prepared for the world ahead of them.”
Ready Unlimited grew out of Rotherham Borough Council’s award-winning school improvement programme, Rotherham Ready, which was set up in 2005 to tackle low aspiration and achievement among local school children and aims to motivate children by encouraging them to think for themselves, take risks and find their own solutions to problems.
As part of his visit to Rotherham, Lord Young saw how staff developed enterprise through a Mini-Beasts curriculum topic, with children setting up companies to respond to a design brief.
He saw how children took on different company roles, from managers and accountants to designers, and had to work to a strict budget.
Head teacher Lynne Pepper said: “It is fantastic to be able to show that enterprise doesn’t have to be a bolt-on, but can be an integral part of children's learning that demonstrates the relevance of the curriculum they experience.”
Catherine Brentnall, managing director of Ready Unlimited, said: “We share many of the same goals as the Government around preparing children to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives, making them more entrepreneurial, improving educational attainment and encouraging citizenship.
“It was great to be able show Lord Young real examples of how we are actually doing this and discuss the opportunities and challenges around scaling these approaches across the country.”
Ready Unlimited has won national and international acclaim and is being replicated in schools in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and London.
Its model contrasts with most traditional approaches to enterprise education by targeting children at the youngest possible age and by embedding enterprise across all school life and culture and not simply treated it as a bolt-on lesson or activity.
Lord Young made the visit to Rotherham after learning about Ready Unlimited from Department for Business and Innovation colleagues who had learned of its success.