Entrepreneurial Education for Special Educational Need
Rationale and general information

Highfurlong is a co-educational community special school for pupils 3-19 with a wide range of special educational needs. Students follow personalized learning pathways. Enterprise learning is embedded in the curriculum, per-sonalized learning is promoted to encourage pupils to participate in a wide range of enterprise activities during the year, such as the Enterprise Weeks in November and May. Highfurlong is committed to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to develop a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship as a key competence. Businesses and society in general require individuals who can be innovative in their approach and adapt to change with a range of problem-solving skills. Such skills are an essential part of student preparation for adult life and the working world. We believe that successful entrepreneurial learning will occur when it is embedded in the curriculum alongside Work Related Learning, Information Advice and Guidance (careers), citizenship and the Personalised Learning Curriculum Pathways.

Starting Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2005
Budget and financing sources

£600 per month received from the authorities and £10,000 over the past five years from a business person from out of our local area

Human resources

The programme mobilises all internal actors of the school as well as external actors

  • Senior Leadership Team and all staff
  • All pupils were involved
  • Parents and families
  • Collaborative partners and Business partners
  • Governors
  • Enterprise Manager and Co-ordinator

Highfurlong has organised their education activities around entrepreneurial education

The development of entrepreneurial attitudes and competencies is organised through learning and teaching across the whole curriculum. The aim is to develop motivation students and allow them to learn with increasing independence.

Highfurlong staff share the same understanding of entrepreneurial capabilities and have developed an environment where students take responsibility for their own actions to experience and develop understanding of the world of work in all its diversity, and where they participate fully in entrepreneurial activities, including those which are explicitly oriented towards entrepreneurship, and in which success is the result of 'hands-on' participation. Through personalised learning opportunities, Highfurlong supports appropriately focused career education to develop enterprise learning as part of a coherent programme for vocational and work related learning. Entrepreneurial education was gradually integrated into the curriculum :

  • Before 2005 some entrepreneurial activity were occasionally organised.
  • 2005 Progress Supported Employment funded an initial training with NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), an organisation that provides entrepreneurship education programmes for young people mostly from low-income communities.
  • Business groups were created such as car washing, gift hampers, staff lunches and adapted sports training and are self-funded.
  • 2007-12 - HERO (Holistic Enterprise Realising Opportunities) Project provided the structure, Continuing Professional Development and funding across the authority.
  • The whole school community is involved
  • Business sponsorships is established to counter the end of the HERO project

Significant links to Work Related Learning, Personal Development, Life Skills, Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG strategy) and Citizenship.

Find out more on the full case study


Progress Supported Employment a not for profit Limited Company with Charitable statusfunded initial training for staff

NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship)

The Hero project (Holistic Enterprise Realising Opportunities) from the Blackpool authority provided funding, training and resources

David Clay, DST sponsored the programme

Success factors
  • Personalized learning
  • Flexibility/Innovation/Creativity of staff and students alike
  • Confidence and self-esteem/Control/Independence
  • Team work and collaboration between public and voluntary sectors

Acquiring transferable skills/ Motivation/Real life learning meant the possibility for the students to earn a wage. This has increased their motivations

  • Ofsted Outstanding Special School in 2006, 2009 and 2014
  • 2008 Excellence in Enterprise Award Warwick University
  • 2009 Work with Chamber of Commerce – Young Chamber
  • Voltage Project with Lancaster University
  • Launch of E Commerce Project Blackpool Sixth Form
  • Starshop Enterprise in collaboration with Yorkshire Bank
  • Regional Award (North of England) Teaching of Enterprise 2010
  • National DfE Teaching Award for Enterprise 2010
  • Enterprise article published in SEN Magazine issue 51
  • Highfurlong filmed for Cabinet Office
  • Excellence in Enterprise Education Award 2013 (Centre for Education and Industry) National Standard for Enterprise
Joanne Martin,