Social enterprise in education

Guest post

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Education Studies
Category: Education

1 September 2016

Julia Carr is the course leader for the BA (Hons) Education Studies. She discusses our new Education Enterprise module and what it covers.

At Anglia Ruskin, our business school has a great track record in the area of enterprise, we were even elected Entrepreneurial University of the year in 2014! Many of our students have gone on to create projects, win competitions and start their own business. However, enterprise is not just linked to the business sector and can be relevant to many career areas including education. In this blog, I want to tell you about social enterprise and how it is explored in a new module on our BA (Hons) Education Studies. So first things first…

What is Social Enterprise?

Social enterprise is a more ethical and sustainable way of doing business. It involves dynamic, innovative, independent businesses that deliver specific social goods or services. Social enterprises aim to make a profit, just like any independent business. However, rather than handing these profits to investors, social enterprises reinvest their profits into their social purposes.

Social enterprises trade in all markets, including the education sector, in many countries. Examples of education social enterprises include:

  • English language tuition programmes for various ethnic groups
  • Computer coding programmes for children
  • Literacy provision for children and adults
  • Skills for working life
  • Support for pupils at risk of exclusion
  • Support for pupils at risk of underachieving
More about our module – Education Enterprise 1: The Role of Business in Education
The module focuses on developing students’ understanding of social enterprise and business in the education sector. We will focus on the idea of businesses that are connected to the educational needs of a local community and that have aims linked to social justice.

Social justice is a central theme that runs throughout the course. We investigate the ways in which a person’s identity impacts on their experience of the education system and whether everyone has an ‘equal’ experience – or do some people miss out?

Social enterprises aim to fill the gaps in the education system which are often caused by the rapid change and the needs of a wide range of learners. These gaps may be in terms of access, pedagogy or learning tools. Social enterprises can find creative solutions to fill these gaps and bring about a more socially just education experience.

Students will improve their understanding of these ‘gaps’ in their local communities, and will also gain an awareness of the enterprises that are already addressing similar gaps.

Your career matters

As we roll out more education enterprise modules, the focus will be on helping our students develop the practical skills vital to working within this area of the education sector. We hope that our education enterprise module(s) will encourage our students to either build a career with an existing social enterprise / education business – or to start one of their own! Anglia Ruskin University has links to social enterprise organisations who can offer guidance and support to students who wish to start their own social enterprise locally, nationally or globally.

We as a team are very excited about this new, dynamic focus for the BA (Hons) Education Studies course and I hope you enjoyed finding out more about social enterprise in Education

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