Enterprise can have different meanings in the context of The New Zealand Curriculum. The definition of enterprise as authentic learning is one that applies across the curriculum and can be seen in its mission, values, principles and objectives. Fundamentally, enterprise is an approach that reflects The New Zealand Curriculum’s description of effective pedagogy. When done well, an enterprising approach gives students challenging, relevant, engaging and meaningful ways to solve problems, and work with others and manage themselves.

The case studies in this report demonstrate that leadership is a key aspect to developing enterprise learning in secondary schools. Principals and boards are vital because enterprise approaches benefit from a supportive professional culture. Teachers need to be able to take chances with enterprise approaches. Teacher-leaders on the staff can provide this type of support, based on their own experience of using an enterprise approach and their success in engaging a variety of different learners.

Not all teachers have embraced an enterprise approach to learning. This is a fundamental professional development challenge for school leaders. All the schools in this evaluation used different ways to support teachers and to encourage them to make classrooms more relevant and engaging, more student-centred and enterprising.

There are some challenges in using an enterprise approach to teaching and learning. Teachers have to develop constructive relationships with business and community partners. They need to develop authentic assessment to reflect what students have actually learnt, and they need to make sure they have the right resources to complete their learning tasks. These challenges are significant but they should not mean that secondary teachers can ‘opt out’ of enterprise approaches to learning. The New Zealand Curriculum and the alignment of the achievement standards point to enterprising approaches being appropriate in all curriculum areas and at all levels of secondary schooling. Similarly, enterprise represents a significant way of delivering the key competencies.