Year 10 – Industry Day

My 15 year old daughter brought home a letter yesterday telling me about Industry Day:

In conjunction with our Work Related Learning programme, we have organised Enterprise Days in which all year 10 pupils will participate.

Hidden curriculum lesson 1: Enterprise is not about freedom of expression and choice – it is about complying with the policy dictats of bureaucrats. You’d better get used to following orders.

Teams of personnel from Industry will be coming into school to help run the days which aim to introduce pupils (to) aspects of Enterprise education.

Hidden curriculum lesson 2: Forget being a living, breathing person full passion, aspiration and imagination. Once you are in Industry (why the capital – Orwellian reference perhaps?) you are just personnel in teams. This way you don’t have to exercise any autonomy – you just have to follow orders. Enterprise is a bit like a strange cult – we will introduce you to some aspects. But others had best remain a mystery….

Hidden curriculum lesson 3: Understand the power of language to obfuscate and confuse. I am a professional in enterprise education and I have no idea what ‘aspects of Enterprise education’ are.

Activities will focus on developing skills such as team building and communication and will be an excellent preparation towards work experience and the world of work.

Hidden curriculum lesson 4: There is a thing called the ‘world of work’. It has laws, practices and ways of being that are different to the rest of society. You had better know how to conform.

Hidden curriculum lesson 5: If you struggle with team work and communication then the world of work/enterprise/Industry is not for you. You had better develop your potential to survive in other worlds. See Hidden curriculum lesson 14 below

Pupils will be working in teams and your child will take part in the Industry Day on one of the following days…

(and yes the first one is on April 1st – perhaps the whole thing is a spoof!)

Hidden curriculum lesson 6: There is little room for the individual in Industry. They had better learn how to smooth of the sharp edges and get along with people. We wouldn’t want too many ‘rugged individualists’ in Industry. Forget what George Bernard Shaw said about all progress depending on the unreasonable man. In industry we are polite, formulaic team players.

It is intended that pupils will not follow normal timings for the school day. The day will be as follows:

08:45am – Sign in at Reception

9.00am – Industry conference starts

10.50am – Break

11.10am – Conference resumes

1.00pm – Conference ends – pupils involved in the Industry Day should go home

Hidden curriculum lesson 7: The world of work is dominated by the bosses clock. You will do as you are told – when you are told. Because employers are benevolent you will get a break.

Hidden curriculum lesson 8: If we do not have enough for you to do you will be laid off early.

Hidden curriculum lesson 9: You had better get used to confernces in Industry. They are a lot like lessons – but longer.

In order to give the pupils a chance to experience some aspects of the world of work the pupils will be required to:

  • wear appropriate clothing for business; for the boys this could be simply school trousers, white shirt and a different tie (The David Brent school of office dress then). For girls, an appropriate example would be their normal trousers or skirts and a plain top (as opposed to the haute couture that they usually wear to school). This should not, therefore involve extra expense and I would stress that this is definitely not a ‘non uniform’ day.

Hidden curriculum lesson 10: In the world of work you will be one of many clones – similarly dressed and equipped to deal with the challenges of the stationery cupboard. In the world of work we will continue to discriminate by gender.

  • sign in at Reception by 9.00am. This will mean that for this day the pupils will enter through the main entrance.

Hidden curriculum lesson 11: We will confuse you by our ambiguity over timings. Although earlier we said that you could sign in at Reception at 08.45am – you must be signed in by no later than 09.00. Got it? Any non-compliance in the first instance will be dealt with by sarcasm. You should be clear that in the world of work though time-keeping is a tool of power and any difficulty you have with it could lead to severe disciplinary consequences

Hidden curriculum lesson 12: The world of work is obsessed with clocking in and clocking off on time – get used to it. Again forget autonomy, initiative and flexibility.

  • behave in an appropriate, business-like manner and follow all instructions from the personnel running the Industry Days

Hidden curriculum lesson 13: Learn to moderate your behaviour when in the world of work. Understanding the mysteries of what constitutes ‘business-like’ could hold the keys to the kingdom of the corner office on the third floor.

Hidden curriculum lesson 14: There are alternatives to the ‘world of work’. These include the worlds of:

  • warcraft
  • benefits
  • crime

If the ‘world of work’ as experienced on Industry does not set your heart racing and your soul singing then perhaps one of these is right for you?

It is no wonder that so many highly committed educationalists who take the development of young people seriously are less than supportive when it comes to ’embedding enterprise in the curriculum’.

If Enterprise champions are pedalling such ill-conceived and poorly thought through programmes they deserve to be left to their own devices.

My eldest daughter went through a similar programme last year. The highlight for her was the ‘Enterprise Wordsearch’. You have to love those teachers for their great sense of irony!


  1. Gareth Sear says:

    Hi Mike

    I like the hidden curriculum. It is interesting to see how my personal journey has changed on ‘Enterprise Education’ I get involved in this, as you can imagine, on a number of occasions each year. Each time I go to a ‘Dragons Den’ where we build young people up to fail in a task that they are not really interested in frustrates me. (Not that there is anything wrong in failing – but it needs to be supported into personal development) I’ve got a similar event tomorrow, and, in your clone comments they will all be wearing suitable business atire. Today I made the choice to wear jeans and trainers to the event. Suits don’t make you enterprising do they?

    What frustrates me more than the ‘Dragons Den’ is what else can be done with young people as ‘Enterprise Education’ rather than ‘This is what it will be like in an office job’ education.

    Any ideas?

    Perhaps we need to talk to the young people first to ascertain what they want Enterprise is to them and how they may want to be enterprising?

    Gareth Sear

    • Gareth
      I think that asking students would be good. But better would be getting teachers clear on exactly what it is that they believe they are being paid to teach. If their learning objectives were well defined we might get a better learning process.

  2. Very funny. A little cynical, but I’d agree that theres a point about people perceiving enterprise and business about conforming, rather than a great opportunity to tap into young peoples’ initiative and creativity. Has your daughter shown this to her teachers yet?

    • Hi Jonathon. Sometimes my passion and anger does come through as cynicism. However I have offered to roll my sleeves and help the school FOC to develop a more balanced approach. The post was not really meant to be funny – because this stuff matters. A lot. Unless we develop much more thoughtful, inclusive and challenging approaches to enterprise education we are in danger of losing the opportunity.

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