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Flagship School Insights: St Mary's CofE Primary 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.

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St Mary’s CofE Primary School 

St Mary’s CofE Primary School in Wigan has been working with Skills Builder since 2015. They use the 8 essential skills to support their students on their academic learning journey, to raise aspirations and to explore how essential skills apply to future careers. 

Skills embedded across provision

The eight essential skills are deeply embedded throughout the provision and curriculum at St Mary’s. Children from Reception through to Year 6 have opportunities to build and develop their skills as part of their everyday lessons. 

Each class has created their own long-term Skills Map where the teachers choose when in the year they will focus on certain skills based on their students areas of development. St Mary’s runs a project week each year where children come off their usual timetable and focus specifically on skills. Each key stage chooses an appropriate project focus, delivers it and then shares what they have done with others in the school. Students’ project work is also shared with parents and guardians to celebrate skill development. 

“Because the skills are embedded in our curriculum the students are able to recognise which skills are being used and understand which skills need to be developed further. It's been wonderful to see how their confidence has developed throughout the year, particularly in terms of speaking in front of others.”
  A teacher at St Mary’s. 

St Mary’s have used their extra curricular activities, particularly their sport based clubs,  to further develop their students' understanding of how the skills are applicable outside the classroom. The essential skills are discussed with visitors to the school, such as religious leaders, and students relate the skills to different jobs they find in their community. Additionally, during the year 6 residential, students really focused on how the essential skills could help them overcome different challenges and applied the skills in real world situations. 

Reflections on the Year

When asked about the schools’ flagship journey their Education Associate - Connor commented “St Mary's CoE Primary school has worked incredibly hard to raise awareness of the skills beyond their school through many means. One particular instance is greater parental/carer involvement of their children’s skill development through invitations to their Project weeks, updates via ClassDojo, as well as progression reports and regular certificates sent home. 

The school would provide many external opportunities for their students to apply and reflect upon their essential skills. However, they became an advocate to raise further awareness of the skills by providing upskilling sessions to the external facilitators just prior to the sessions. This enabled them to fully understand the importance of the essential skills and their application in, for example, their world of work.”

You can read more about St Mary's CofE Primary School on their case study here.