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Curro Helderwyk introduces entrepreneurial studies as an elective subject

The Curro Helderwyk Independent School has introduced entrepreneurial studies as an elective subject for the first time.

Bruce Whitfield finds out how it works from Lisa Illingworth, CEO of FutureProofSA.

Pupils don't get traditional reports with marks at the end of term.

Illingworth says the document is used to help them reflect on the behaviors and traits they are developing towards becoming effective entrepreneurs.

"Could you imagine the kinds of emotionally robust, healthy, and whole individuals we could nurture if we added a focus of our educational reporting on behavior?"

As far as she knows the elective course at Curro Helderwyk is the first time entrepreneurship has been introduced at a school outside of what government is embedding into the curriculum.

They've been running a pilot for about eight years... but as far as I know this is the first time it's being embedded at an independent school. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA

Their outcomes-based curriculum is custom-built for this programme she says, based on best practice from global organisations in entrepreneurship education.

Then we panel-beat it down into something that works in a blended economy. So, we don't teach kids from the outset to go and look for funding because in our economy that is setting them up for failure. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA

We teach them how to bootstrap, off the bat... how to prototype... the lean startup method in getting their business going... then taking into consideration the environmental factors and the economy that they're going to have to deal with once their businesses are started. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA

She says one of the educators sitting in on a class commented that the kids are not used to being taught like this where there is no "wrong", and there is in fact no "right" answer.

You have to go and figure it out, and test and assume and enjoy the process of learning because that's what entrepreneurship is about. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA

Entrepreneurship is bedded down in behaviour and traits and characteristics, and sorely we lack that in our curriculum. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA

Is there any hope that government could follow FutureProof SA's lead?

We've done some cool projects that give us the indication that there is scalability. Unfortunately the Department of Education suffers from a mindset of "not made here"... With that, the conversation stops... Instead of trying to fight the wheels and turn the national narrative, we're just getting stuck into doing the work. Lisa Illingworth, CEO - FutureProofSA


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