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Landmark partnership to ensure social enterprise is grown in schools across the world

By 6th March 2015 No Comments

The British Council, RIO (Real Ideas Organisation) and SEA (Social Enterprise Academy) have launched a groundbreaking partnership to ensure children, young people and schools globally get the opportunity to engage with social enterprise.

This new progressive partnership will see the development of a universally available digital resource pack for schools with information and activities for teachers to use with pupils.

For countries keen to further the social enterprise opportunities, there will be a programme that includes engagement, policy dialogues and training, plus a menu of additional tools if they want more extensive support, training and accreditation. RIO’s SEQ – the world’s first social enterprise qualification – will also be part of the offer having grown significantly since its launch in 2012.

Underpinning the whole programme will be a Global Social Enterprise in Schools Network to help education settings share, stay connected, celebrate success and learn from each other, no matter where they are in the world.

Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive of RIO said: “Social enterprise is a powerful force and we need to make sure young people right across the world are engaged.

“As a pioneering social enterprise, RIO has worked intensively to develop social enterprise practice in schools in the UK and beyond, including the creation of the Social Enterprise Qualification.

“We’re delighted to be building on this great body of work and we’re really excited to be entering into this new partnership with the British Council and SEA to share our practice as well as our passion for social enterprise with education settings across the world.”

Paula Woodman, the British Council’s Social Enterprise Adviser, said, “The British Council is delighted to announce this innovative partnership with RIO and the Social Enterprise Academy to develop a Social Enterprise Schools’ Pack that will be distributed in 4,500 schools in the UK and overseas. It draws on our partners’ experience in pioneering social enterprise education in schools and our experience of supporting educational excellence and social enterprise worldwide. By providing resources for pupils to gain hands-on experience of running a social enterprise, this initiative will support young people to contribute to a more inclusive, open and prosperous world.”

Sandra Ewen, Chief Futures Officer for the Social Enterprise Academy, also welcomes the partnership. She said, “The Social Enterprise Academy has been delivering its Social Enterprise in Education Programme since 2007, and since then we’ve been amazed by the fantastic social enterprises developed by over 580 schools and colleges. We firmly believe that social entrepreneurs can be found anywhere, but especially in our schools. Through social enterprise young people are being empowered to change their own lives and those of others. We are delighted to be working with the British Council and RIO to help more young people become the social entrepreneurs of the future.”

Formed in 2007, RIO – the Real Ideas Organisation – is a pioneering social enterprise. Based in the south west, but with international reach, RIO has established itself as a leader in social enterprise practice – particularly in education settings – and in the last year has worked with over 50 schools and 2,000 young people. RIO’s work to embed social enterprise in schools has led to multiple awards including a British Academy Schools Language Award and the International Market Builders Award at the Plymouth Social Enterprise City Festival for Plymstock School’s Our Way – a socially enterprising international trade agency designed to get more students studying modern foreign languages.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. On the ground in six continents and over 100 countries the British Council brings international opportunities to life every day.

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