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Ash Manor School

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Ash Manor School
Ash Manor School is a community school that has recently shown steady improvement over the last five years. Student attainment and achievement is something we are really proud of; however, we felt that we wanted to fully prepare our students for life after Ash Manor. Whilst we know students learn a variety of skills across the curriculum, it is felt that they do not always understand they are learning and using these. We wanted to use Skills Builder to formalise these skills and enable students to be able to articulate their demonstration of them in all that they do.
Overall impact
This programme has benefitted our students most of all. They have improved their ability to speak about their experiences and articulate which skills they have developed and demonstrated in anything they have done over their time at school. This includes being able to identify where they have used these skills within the curriculum and any other extra-curricular activities they have done. Our form tutors have developed in their role by linking pastoral care with the delivery of the curriculum by facilitating discussions whereby students are identifying these skills. Our wider community has benefitted from our excellent students participating in their sports teams, volunteering role and other activities.
Keep it simple
We have given time in Tutor Time for students to receive a fortnightly session on Skills Builder topics. Form tutors have had relevant training and have initially assessed their groups, chosen which sessions are suitable for their groups and delivered activities that meet the needs of the students. We have printed the logos of the 8 essential skills and have displayed these on tutor room display boards. We are using verbal praise and encouragement within these tutor sessions and have begun discussing how the students are using these skills in their lessons and across the curriculum so they see these links. There has been a lot of disruption due to Covid-19; however we, have persevered and ensured that we have continued to embed the use and understanding of these skills with our students.
Start early, keep going
We began this year piloting Skills Builder with Years 8, 9 and 10. This has been a successful pilot that we will continue with next year; so next year Skills Builder will be delivered to Years 8-11. During lockdown, Skills Builder optional tasks around staying positive were set to students via our online work setting system, Satchel One. Parents have access to this and were able to support their children to complete these tasks.
Measure it
We have used the Skills Builder Hub as our main resource for planning and delivering these Skills Builder sessions. During lockdown, we switched to the home sessions that were made available online by Skills Builder. This enabled students to have the same experience as they would in school. Tutors have been measuring the understanding of these skills with the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub and have been encouraged to do these at varying points over the year.
Focus tightly
To embed the programme, we decided to ensure Skills Builder had a regular slot within our tutor time schedule. This allowed students to have regular access and exposure to these resources and discussions around the key skills they use. The regular sessions have meant that these 8 key skills are becoming part of students' everyday vocabulary. We purchased a Skills Builder Challenge Day event to take place for one of our Personal Development days in Year 9 and 10. Students were off timetable and took part in activities chosen for their year group. The Challenge Day consolidated all of the sessions that the students have received throughout the year and provided more definitive context for how these skills can be used, demonstrated and spoken about with confidence by the students.
Keep practising
Students are encouraged to partake in extra-curricular activities, such as sports teams, academic clubs, activities such as cooking or crocheting, the Combined Cadet Force, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, etc. These have been somewhat limited due to Covid-19; however, many students are still doing lots of these as well as additional teams, awards and projects outside of school (many that support the volunteering, physical and skills sections of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award). As part of Tutor time this term, we have facilitated discussions where students identify lessons and activities in which they use and demonstrate these skills.
Bring it to life
Through discussions in tutor time and from the Challenge Day, we aimed for students to be able to identify the links between the session where they have seen these 8 skills and how they are using and developing them within their lessons and in any other activities they may do. They will subsequently be able to speak about these skills with confidence and give examples of how they have demonstrated these when moving on to life after Ash Manor School.
What's next
Our next steps are to continue to embed this programme [through a Digital Membership] to ensure all students are able to recognise their development and use of these skills; and be able to articulate this when they move on to colleges, universities, jobs, and any other next steps after their time at Ash Manor School.
South East England
United Kingdom