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Ofsted calls for business teaching to be more hands-on

The teaching of business education to 14-19 year olds needs to be more ‘hands-on’ if it is to engage and inspire young people, according to the findings of a new Ofsted report.

The study, ‘Developing young people’s economic and business understanding’, of over 100 secondary schools, revealed students in over half complained they were unable to use their practical business skills in assessed coursework. Despite the popularity of the courses, students also expressed concern about a lack of contact with employers and businesses.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, explained: "Business teachers must be given the training they need to produce inspiring lessons. The best lessons actively engaged students through case studies of real businesses, role play, games and simulation."

The report was particularly critical about teaching standards, with a third of lessons found to be thorough, but uninspiring. Doubts have also been raised as to how students can demonstrate their understanding of the subject through just coursework. As a result, Ofsted is now calling for schools and colleges to develop the use of IT and other resources to enliven teaching.

Mrs Gilbert continued: "It’s really encouraging that our inspectors found so many promising newly qualified business teachers with industry experience too. Students frequently complained that their courses did not include enough direct contact with businesses and ‘hands on’ experience. Hopefully these new teachers will be able to use their industry links to benefit students."

Jason Seebaruth

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