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Business Education minutes




Justin Sinclair, Chair - St David's RC High School / Chair of the Scottish Business Education Association

Genia Cotter - Lockerbie Academy

Michael Fay - Notre Dame High School

Helen Lang - LTS

David Martin - HMIe

Tracy McGee - Our Lady's High School

Jacquie Ross - Fortrose Academy

David Watt - Executive Director for the Institute of Directors in Scotland

Isla McCrone - Scottish Government, Determined to Succeed

David Doris - Scottish Government

Christopher Reilly - Scottish Government

Lynne Veitch - Scottish Government

Apologies: Linda Allison - SQA

Chairs Opening Remarks

The Chair welcomed the group and the opportunity to highlight the importance of business education in the new curriculum. Business education is part of the experiences and outcomes at each stage and every child in Scotland should be able to engage in the subject.

The remit of the group was described in terms of encapsulating the skills, attributes and features of Business Education with the aim of promoting deeper learning, better teaching, active learner engagement, development of skills and enhanced achievement, drawing on good practice throughout the country.


In discussion, the following points were raised:-

  • Business Education can provide skills and qualifications which help people get jobs and provides opportunities to apply literacy, numeracy and other skills in a way that engages young people and prepares them for work.
  • The strength of Business Education in terms of skills was highlighted with members referring to presentation skills, communication, enterprise, ICT, employability, time management, decision making, prioritising and ability to understand business as well as core skill like literacy and numeracy. It is the only subject area to cover all these skills.
  • There is a high regard for access to Higher Education with Accountancy particularly strong for Business Management degrees.
  • Employability identified as the top theme. Employers are guided by qualifications but more by skills for employability.
  • Preparedness for work is a key issue for employers, and the importance of attitudes and behaviour was highlighted. The role of subject teachers in fostering the right attitudes and behaviour for the world of work emerged as a theme.
  • Opportunity to motivate Business Education teachers to take responsibility for experiences and outcomes (E&Os) and inspire young people, moving beyond any narrow subject based approach. Importance of responsibility for experiences and outcomes seen as particularly important at S1 and S2, where links needs to be made with other subjects or business education will be left behind. Many schools will be teaching Business Education to S1 and S2 pupils for the first time and will realise that more pupils than ever are leaving primary having been involved in enterprise work.
  • Transition from primary recognised as an important theme. In rural areas there is an issue around the cost of primary pupils going to the secondary to gain experience and Glow can facilitate collaboration though access is restricted in some areas.
  • There is also a perception that Business Education is senior based subject, which can be a barrier.
  • Challenges recognised in terms of influencing timetabling where some Headteachers are reluctant to change and the importance of highlighting the value of Business Education to Headteachers was recognised.
  • To meet E&Os, teachers can work alongside other subject area teachers with the aim of increasing the amount of time allocated each week to the subject. Examples of good practice will be explored.
  • Business education teachers have critical role in promoting skills for employability as a responsibility for all and engaging in planning going forward to promote interdisciplinary working orientated to educating for work.
  • Importance of highlighting the role of Business Education in the Social Studies curricular area, to influence planning and avoid the perception that Social Studies is all about history, geography and modern studies. This is particularly the case where schools are organised on a faculty basis.
  • Importance of links with the work of the SQA on Curriculum Area Review and qualifications design was highlighted.
  • The group would draw on examples of best practice from around the country and help showcase excellence and engage with teachers through the Scottish Business Education Association Conference in November. All members would help draw on examples of practice and employer engagement to facilitate sharing of excellence.
  • The benefit of pulling together key sources and exemplification and showcasing practice was recognised. Linking LTS support for enterprise through Business Education may help raise awareness and the report will have an important role.
  • The Institute of Directors in Scotland have a network which can be tapped into to build/strengthen existing relationships between schools and businesses. Potential for more links between schools and smaller businesses in the community recognised and it is important that employers, young people and teachers are aware of the benefits and how to go about engaging with employers. The potential benefits of engagement without Local Authority involvement were highlighted with examples of engagement through Chambers of Commerce, Rotary etc.
  • One of the strengths of Determined to Succeed has been employer engagement and as enterprise and business is embedded in the curriculum there will be more emphasis on local engagement.
  • One of the outcomes of the Group might be a toolbox/one-stop shop approach which draws together priorities and resources for teachers in a straightforward way to promote excellence in Business Education and influence skills for employability and enterprise in schools.
  • Members very much welcomed the establishment of the group and the opportunity to raise the profile and awareness of the benefits of Business Education in terms of skills, employer engagement and preparedness for employment and influence practice in schools.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at Our Lady's High School, Cumbernauld on 16 November at 10:00.