Matthew Walker, Thomas Spielhofer, David Sims, Gaby White
01 May 2006
Determined to Succeed is a strategic initiative which aims to make a major contribution to the creation of an enterprise culture and economic growth. Following the recommendations of the Review of Education for Work and Enterprise set up in September 2001 the Scottish Executive set out its Determined to Succeed (DtS): Enterprise in Education (EinE) strategy. The results reported here are key findings from research carried out by the NFER between October 2004 and August 2005 examining the views of key stakeholders on initial planning and early implementation of DtS/EinE in Scotland. This evaluation constitutes phase 1 of the national evaluation of DtS. The second phase focuses on the impact of the DtS strategy and is due to report during 2006.
- All 32 Local Authorities have made considerable progress towards increasing the opportunities for all pupils to engage in enterprise activities, especially for pupils in primary and special schools
- Most Local Authorities were committed to the strategy and hoped it would increasingly become embedded into all schools
- About half of the Local Authorities felt that they had made progress in establishing partnerships between schools and businesses
- Senior managers in the schools visited were very aware of the DtS strategy, although awareness of the strategy was generally lower among other teaching staff
- Local Authorities had been more successful embedding EinE into the curriculum of primary schools than of secondary schools; some secondary schools felt that they needed to make more progress in improving teachers’ attitudes to EinE
- Some schools were beginning to embed EinE within their curriculum. However, some schools were continuing to focus on providing enterprise experiences that could be described as ‘stand-alone’ activities
- Most teachers had received training or guidance related to DtS and felt more confident to develop their practice as a result
- Effective management at school level and adopting a whole school approach seemed to be related to successful practice. In some schools, EinE provision remained variable and was dependent upon a few dedicated members of staff
- All secondary schools had developed links with their local colleges in order to provide increased opportunities for vocational learning.
The DtS strategy sets out the key changes that are considered to be needed to encourage a more enterprising culture — a “can do, will do” attitude — among schoolchildren in Scotland. It challenges all Local Authority (LA) Education Departments in Scotland to work together with schools, business organisations, businesses, and other parts of the community to design and implement their own delivery plans setting out their targets and time-tables for action. Within these plans, LAs are required to address the recommendations of the Review of Education for Work and Enterprise in the context of local needs. The Scottish Executive has made available a total of £86 million over a five year period (2003-2008) to fund the implementation of the strategy.
About the study
The overall aim of the phase 1 evaluation of DtS was to gather and analyse the views of key stakeholders on how the DtS strategy had developed initial EinE infrastructure through learning and development, communication, curriculum design and revision, management, programme logistics and leadership. It also aimed to explore how successful inter-agency working had been in the early days of the strategy. The evaluation was based around a qualitative methodology in order to enable the research team to monitor, map and evaluate key stakeholders’ views and experiences of the initial DtS implementation process. It consisted of four distinct, but interrelated, research methods. These included:
- Strategic interviews: face-to-face meetings with 12 key representatives of the Scottish Executive policy team, HMIe, Learning and Teaching Scotland, Careers Scotland, and the SQA
- Interviews with all 32 LA co-ordinators: telephone interviews were carried out with 26 LA co-ordinators; the remaining six LA co-ordinators were interviewed face-to-face as part of the case study visits.
- Case studies: visits to one secondary, primary and special school across six LAs, involving interviews with 18 senior managers, 11 DtS/EinE co-ordinators, 26 members of teaching staff and six work related or Guidance teachers; in addition, interviews were conducted with six LA co-ordinators and ten Enterprise Development Officers (EDOs) across the six case-study areas.
- Desk study: collection and review of all 32 LA delivery plans, research reports relevant to EinE across Scotland, and any other relevant recent publications from within the UK relating to good practice in the initial planning and implementation of enterprise learning and other relevant initiatives.
Key findings of the research
Strategic and operational management of the strategy
The evaluation found that almost all LAs had set up multi-agency steering groups, which were used to foster inter-agency working. Similarly, all but five LAs had recruited at least one EDO. There was evidence that the lack of such structures had, in some authorities, led to some schools or clusters making less progress than others.
The analysis of LA delivery plans and interviews with all 32 authorities helped to develop a typology of implementation models. Five authorities were found to have followed a LA-led model, while a larger number (ten) were categorised as having adopted more of a Devolved approach. The remaining 17 authorities were thought to have adopted more of a hybrid model, combining elements of the two models.
Both models were found to have their own strengths and weaknesses. While the LA-led model had helped to achieve more uniform progress across schools in their area, it was more costly and less likely to be sustainable in the long term. The strengths of the Devolved model were found to be that it allowed schools and clusters to adapt EinE to local needs and that it encouraged schools and clusters to take responsibility for the strategy. However, this model was found to lead to uneven provision across schools and clusters in some authorities. Some of the authorities which adopted a hybrid model tried to combine the strengths of these two models.
Embedding EinE into the curriculum
One of the stated aims of the DtS strategy articulated in the interviews with key representatives was to provide a more coherent and consistent approach to EinE across all LAs and schools. Interviews with LA co-ordinators, as well as visits to schools, showed that several primary schools and special schools had taken considerable steps towards embedding EinE into the curriculum. However, many secondary schools had so far made less progress. Interviewee responses suggested that this was due to a variety of factors, including the departmental structure of secondary schools and the focus on academic achievement.
All LAs had implemented communication strategies to inform schools and teachers of the aims and objectives of DtS. The most common method used by more than three-quarters was to contact headteachers, although, most authorities used a variety of methods. However, the evaluation suggested that there was evidence of lower awareness among teachers other than senior managers and those acting as DtS co-ordinators in their schools.
Informing and engaging parents and carers
One area in which there appeared to have been little progress initially was the involvement and engagement of parents and carers. The evaluation did identify some instances in which schools and LAs had implemented wide-ranging strategies aimed at increasing parental awareness and involvement, but these appeared not to be widespread. Furthermore, several authorities expressed the need for more support from the Scottish Executive and the sharing of good practice.
The evaluation found that about half of the LAs felt they had made good progress towards developing partnerships between schools and employers. However, others had made less progress. Problems in securing effective partnerships appeared to be linked with a variety of factors, including lack of:
- resources in small LAs to recruit EDOs
- access to sufficient numbers of large employers in some areas
- successful partnerships with Careers Scotland.
Initial impact of the strategy
Most teachers were able to identify positive impacts of EinE activities on their schools, including an improved school ethos, increased motivation among teachers, and improved attitudes among pupils. However, a few interviewees stressed that it was still ‘too early’ or that impacts were difficult to measure or quantify because of the multitude of different influencing factors.
Overall, the phase 1 evaluation has shown that LAs and schools had made considerable efforts to implement the DtS strategy. In particular, almost all LAs had:
- committed to the strategy and hoped it would increasingly become embedded into all types of schools
- set up multi-agency steering groups
- recruited EDOs to operationalise the strategy
- developed links with other organisations, in particular colleges
- implemented communication strategies to inform schools and teachers of the aims and objectives of DtS/EinE
- increased opportunities for pupils to engage in enterprise activities.
Evidence from the case study visits to 18 schools across six authorities showed that:
- most senior managers were very aware of the DtS strategy and were trying to disseminate information to other teachers in their schools
- primary and special schools had made considerable progress towards embedding EinE into the curriculum
- all secondary schools had developed links with their local colleges in order to provide increased opportunities for vocational learning
- most teachers had received training and development related to DtS and felt more confident to develop their practice as a result.
The evaluation identified 16 LAs which were still in the early stages of establishing more partnerships with businesses. The Scottish Executive needs to consider ways in which they can support LAs and schools to help them make more progress in this area. This could include providing targeted help to authorities encountering specific problems and ensuring that good practice approaches implemented by some authorities are adopted more widely. The research also found that primary schools had made more progress in embedding EinE into the curriculum than secondary schools. Both the Scottish Executive and LAs need to ensure that a greater focus is placed on encouraging and supporting secondary schools to take steps to embed EinE into the curriculum. In particular, LAs may need to dedicate specific resources to improve provision in this area. This could include:
- setting specific targets for secondary schools to adopt more whole-school approaches and move away from just providing stand-alone EinE activities
- the development and provision of CPD specifically aimed at helping secondary teachers to adapt their teaching and learning methods
- the dissemination of specific guidance and examples of good practice tailored to the needs of different subject departments of how to integrate EinE into their curriculum areas.