Ready Unlimited

Rationale and general information

Ready Unlimited is a ‘spin out’ from a local government school improvement programme called Rotherham Ready, which was launched in 2005 to create a culture of education in a northern, post-industrial town. Now it works with schools, colleges, universities and local authorities to develop professional development and programmes that embed enterprise in education.

Starting Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2005
Budget and financing sources

Ready Unlimited is a social enterprise, so it generates income from its work with customers

Human resources

Ready Unlimited has two members of staff, Catherine Brentnall, who designs and delivers programmes and training, and Charlotte Molyneux, who manages admin and logistics.

When large programmes are commissioned, teachers and Head teachers are developed as co-trainers in order to develop capacity.

Ready Unlimited works with a number of university partners to ensure ongoing scrutiny and continuous improvement of its approaches and impact.


Ready Unlimited strategically, integrates enterprise into school life by changing how teachers think about and plan learning. It :

  • transforms the engagement and motivation of staff and pupils,
  • creates a sustainable legacy by developing educators that are enterprising (rather than making enterprise activity dependent on external providers),
  • enables deep partnerships between schools, young people, communities and business,
  • provides young people with the crucial enterprising skills, knowledge and confidence they need for living and working in the 21st century.


Supported by Ready Unlimited:

  • Teachers develop enterprising learning, curricula and culture and involve young people, parents and businesses in the process.
  • Young people are enabled to identify, plan and develop their own enterprise learning and projects.
  • Families and the wider community are involved in this process.
  • Employers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders are engaged to support the development of enterprising and entrepreneurial learning, projects and curricula in schools.

Read the full list of activity on the case study...


A key element of Ready Unlimited’s work is supporting teachers to make deep connections between education, the world of work and business and the wider community. This might involve employers or entrepreneurs setting challenges, influencing curriculum design or working alongside pupils on an enterprise project. Parents are developed as partners in this process so they understand, value and are involved in the development of enterprise education.

Success factors
  • Supporting educators to see that entrepreneurial learning is a powerful vehicle for school improvement. It isn’t a bolt-on activity, but a whole-school approach that impacts on culture and curriculum at every level.
  • Recognising that like any other whole school innovation it requires a co-ordinated approach – driven by senior leadership, supported by a programme of professional development for staff, impacting on all children, and involving the wider learning community, parents and business – and helping school leaders plan for this over time.
  • Providing tried and tested activities, projects and approaches that enable teachers to see quickly how they can adapt their current practice and provision to make it more enterprising.
  • Focusing intentionally on creating an environment which reflects the entrepreneurial ‘way of life’[1], that Gibb (2002) talks about - one where learners experience uncertainty and complexity, make their own decisions and mistakes, and learn through initiating and developing entrepreneurial learning, projects and research.
  • Gathering evidence about the impact of these approaches is important. The move to evidence based education in the UK means that those working in schools need to be able to demonstrate their positive impact on learning and outcomes. There is an ongoing debate in the UK about the value and direction of enterprise education, with government and think tankreports highlighting the lack of robust evidence about the impact of enterprise in education. Time spent on developing and strengthening impact measurement and collecting data is time well spent.

[1] Gibb (2002), CREATING CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENTS FOR LEARNING AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Living with, dealing with, creating and enjoying uncertainty and complexity. Industry and Higher Education, p 135 – 147. 

  • Ready Unlimited’s first project, Rotherham Ready was hailed as ‘more of a movement than a project’ in an evaluation.
  • Rotherham was crowned The Most Enterprising Place in Britain in 2010 for how it developed enterprise culture in the town.
  • Rotherham Ready was evaluated by Ofsted, the English schools inspectorate, which found it inspired school leaders to view enterprise as integral to school improvement and develop learning that was good and outstanding through enterprise.
  • A review of Ready Unlimited’s Derbyshire programme showed that 95% of schools had positive comments about enterprise projects, culture or learning in their Ofsted reports, and were twice as likely to have improved than non-participating schools.
Catherine Brentnall,