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The development of entrepreneurial mindsets is becoming embedded in policy across Europe. Previous research has shown the essential role that education plays in the development of such mindsets, and in particular the central role that teachers play in this process.

It requires nothing less than a sea change in the approach to education, emphasizing active learning and the provision of new experiences for students outside of the classroom. For many education systems this represents a fundamental shift away from traditional approaches. Teachers are in the middle of these changes.

They need to be equipped with the right skills, knowledge and attitudes to be able to provide their students with the new curricula, pedagogies and learning environments that they will need if they are to acquire entrepreneurial competencies.

The European Commission pilot action took forward a key recommendation from work undertaken by Member States, EU partner countries and the European Commission in 2009 and 2010 that sought to establish the state of play in the teaching and learning of entrepreneurship education. That work took forward previous thinking and provided an opportunity for policy makers and other stakeholders to take stock of progress and to discuss critical success factors and further developments in the field. As part of this process, teachers were identified as agents of change in making entrepreneurship education more widely available in schools.

In response to proposals made by the European Commission, the Education Council in November 2007 for the first time adopted Conclusions that set a European agenda for improving the quality of teaching and teacher education. Ministers recognized that the quality of teaching is the single most important within-school factor affecting student attainment. The importance of the teaching profession was again highlighted at an Informal Ministerial Meeting in Gothenburg in September 2009 under the Swedish Presidency of the EU and this was followed by the adoption of new Council Conclusions7 in which Member States committed themselves to improving the professional development of teachers and school leaders.

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