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Flagship School Insights: Pioneer House High School

Schools and colleges working with The Skills Builder Partnership embed the eight essential skills into their provision. Research shows that these highly transferable skills improve students’ outcomes in education, the wider world and future careers. We celebrate best practice in essential skill provision through Bronze, Silver and Gold Skills Builder Awards.

A handful of schools and colleges go beyond best practice outlined in the Award Guide, to have an impact beyond their gates and into their community. This blog series celebrates our five Flagship schools’ fantastic work.

Flagship Status Emblem

Pioneer House High School

Pioneer House High School is based in Northern Moor, Manchester. It’s a school for children aged 11-19 with significant learning difficulties. Their curriculum is built around their aim to prepare their students for independent living and future employment as well as ensuring they become active citizens. The Skills Builder Framework is used to teach and discuss employability skills with students and parents, providing clear next steps to stretch and challenge.

We were pleased to showcase Pioneer House in our most recent Impact Report, which looks back on the academic year 2021-22. You can download the report here

Widening Impact

All staff members at Pioneer House are involved in raising the awareness of the essential skills. Teachers deliver skills lessons and make explicit links across the curriculum. In addition, Teaching Assistants and Lunchtime Supervisors have also been trained to spot and reward skills during lessons, breaks and lunch. This ensures that there is consistency in skill language across the school and that pupils understand how they are developing them at all times and in different situations.

Not only has the school fully embedded the essential skills into their own provision but they have also taken numerous opportunities to promote the benefits of teaching the skills to a variety of different stakeholders.

Meeting with several schools local to greater Manchester, Pioneer House has spoken on good practise, advocating the use of the Skills Builder Framework and demonstrating how it has been built into their own curriculum offer. Alongside this, they have presented at the Careers and Enterprise Company Community of Practice, as well as advised other schools on how to incorporate skills into education in an impactful way. They are strong advocates for a joined up approach across education and we continue to be grateful for their ongoing support. 

When asked about the best part of their programme a teacher from Pioneer House said “Using skills builder within work experience settings and taking it out into the wider world as a tool for future life.”

Pioneer House has also reached out to local businesses to widen their impact. They have taken up chances to work with Manchester City Council and presented at a BW3 - Business Working with Wythenshawe - forum for business. This has led to increased contacts with employers and work experience placements for students, during which they follow the Expanded Universal Framework for their skill development in the workplace.

Reflections on the Year

Their Education Associate - Bethan - had the pleasure of supporting them to reach their Flagship status and had this to say about the school: 

“Pioneer House worked incredibly hard to raise awareness of the skills outside their school by engaging with local employers and other schools. They have managed to have an impact beyond their own school by encouraging and supporting others to align their work with the Universal framework or become members of the partnership themselves. Their enthusiasm to share their learnings of how to build essential skills and create meaningful experiences for young people is infectious to see and brings us one step closer as a partnership to our mission that one day everyone will build the essential skills to succeed.”

You can read more about Pioneer House on their case study here.