Scotland’s Enterprising Schools Conference: The Highlights

On Thursday 1st June, with the help of the fabulous staff at Highland Council, we held a conference in Inverness at Smithton-Culloden Free Church. The event was a great success, we really enjoyed the day and have received some fantastic feedback from those who came along. If, however, you were unable to attend here are some highlights of the day.

Keynote Speaker: Gavin Oattes, Tree of Knowledge

We were delighted to have such an accomplished speaker such as Gavin open our conference and his speech really lived up to expectations. Gavin spoke about the excitement and enthusiasm that young children can have for learning and how it is important to keep this alive as children develop.

In essence, he inspired us all to not just think about doing something different, but actually put it into action, to have a Can Do attitude and channel our inner Mary Poppins to be bright, warm and supportive.

Developing Employability & Skills – Where are we now? Klaus Mayer, Education Scotland

Next up was Klaus Mayer, who admitted to being very inspired and impressed with what Gavin had said. He also drew upon the ideas that had been shared as he provided an update on the Developing the Young Workforce agenda, outlined the career education standard and emphasised the importance of skills and enterprise education.

How can Scotland’s Enterprising Schools support you? Lorraine Ross, Scotland’s Enterprising Schools

Our very own Lorraine Ross gave our guests a whistle-stop tour of the Scotland’s Enterprising Schools website, showing how to navigate the site and using our resource The Change Challenge to illuminate the different ways in which our material can be used by practitioners.

Lorraine also highlighted our Enterprising Practitioner Programme, an online course designed to give our members an introduction into the broad area of enterprise education. We were delighted to receive a lot of positive feedback on both our resources and Lorraine’s presentation.

Partner Marketplace

The partner marketplace gave those attending the conference the chance to get to know some of Scotland’s Enterprising Schools’ partners and discuss how they can support embedding enterprise within the curriculum.

There were many stalls from a variety of partners, including the Career Development Institute, Create, Founders for Schools, Little Investigators, the Saltire Awards and Volunteering, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Skills Development Scotland and the Social Enterprise Academy.

We would like to say a huge thank you all the representative from our partners for coming along and making the marketplace a great success.

Skills Development Scotland Presentations: Ken Edwards & Steve Bone

Ken Edwards & Steve Bone from Skills Development Scotland gave back to back presentations to kick of the afternoon.

Ken gave a presentation that showed how the world of work is changing, highlighting the role that technology will play on this. This underlined the need for the next generation to come out of education with not only a broad set of skills, but the ability to be flexible and resilient in the face of these changes.

Steve introduced our audience to the My World of World resource available for both teachers and pupils from Primary 5 and up. This is a fantastic resource that contains case study videos, information and links to resources, all of which can be used to facilitate discussions around enterprise.

Afternoon Entertainment: Carma

We were treated to a short performance by Carmen Beaton and Kenna Ross, otherwise known as Carma. These girls are immensely talented and have already performed at some major events including Belladrum Festival and Edinburgh Fringe – we predict big, big things for these two!

If you’d like to have a listen to the songs they played for us (and more), check out their SoundCloud page.

Enterprise Presentation: Sheildaig Primary

To show how enterprise works in practical terms, we invited the teachers and pupils from Sheildaig Primary to give us a demonstration of their enterprising journey. The school had decided to capitalise on the number of tourists drawn to the area by making a souvenir which they could sell.

In partnership with local businesses the pupils designed and made a tea towel depicting the famous NC500 tourist route and have since been inundated with orders, raising a huge amount of money and developing a vast range of skills in the process.

Keen to give a full picture of the work they have undertaken, the Sheildaig pupils put their audience to work folding and packaging some of their products, with the Primary 2’s overseeing quality control! The pupils and teachers of Sheildaig gave a fantastic presentation on how enterprise can be embedded throughout the whole school and should be extremely proud of all that they have achieved.


Workshop Sessions

As the day drew to a close we had a few workshop sessions that allowed our guests to see some more interesting practice from schools and nurseries across Scotland and to think about how they could apply an enterprising approach within their own classroom. The workshops were divided into 3 categories: Early Years, Primary & Secondary.

The Early Years practitioners were given a presentation by Margaret Matheson from Holm Primary and Nursery. The presentation focused on letting young people take the lead using the example of Holm’s Christmas Fayre enterprise project as an example.

Meanwhile, the Primary practitioners listened to Alan Bruce from Raasay Primary discuss the schools Week of Work initiative, which sees pupils evaluate not only their own skills but learn to recognise skills in others. We were also joined by Karen Ross and Rosie Hakim from Balloch Primary who discusses the enterprise journey of the whole school and how this has specifically been developed at Primary 6 level.


Finally, the Secondary practitioners heard about enhancing learning for the 21st century from Chris Aitken of Wick High School. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Margaret Ritchie on using science activity and role models to bring together secondary pupils and Primary 7’s.

All the workshops were a great success and we would like to thank all the facilitators for coming along and sharing their inspiring stories and practices with us.


We had a great time putting on the conference, but it would not have been possible without the help of others so we’d once again like to thank the staff at Highland Council, our partners who took part in the marketplace, the staff from Smithton-Culloden church, all our speakers/presenters/facilitators, and of course our lovely audience who came along and engaged with us.

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