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Bader Special Academy

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Bader Special Academy
Bader Special Academy is a SEND (Special Educational Needs) school for pupils aged 5-19. We first opened during the pandemic in September 2020 in a small building before moving in January 2021 to our purpose built school. As a whole school, we have developed our Change Maker principles which enable us to guide the practice that we feel is right for our pupils and their families. Our ethos of Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Ready supports all pupils in recognising the skills needed for their future and the transitions that they face in their lives. The Skills Builder programme supports our aim for all pupils to be well equipped for the challenges that they face in life after Bader.
Overall impact
As a new school it was important to us that we established links with the local community and in reaching out to employers to work collaboratively with the us, ensuring that the focus was on bringing enrichment to life and in securing experiences beyond the classroom that brought about enthusiasm and inspired our pupils. The programme has given teachers and students the opportunity to focus on the essential skills and supported having consistent approaches to everything that we do. The emphasis on raising resilience, self-esteem and confidence was vital to us as we knew our pupils needed this to be ready for education. The programme has allowed us to demonstrate to pupils what the key skills are and what they mean to them. For example, pupils know what it means to stay positive and why we encourage this key skill.
Keep it simple
Whole school assemblies are held weekly, with a focus on celebrating the skills they have achieved and what makes us and them proud. Across the school all classes use Class Dojo to celebrate successes, these are linked to our school ethos statements. We have mainly focused this year on our Upper school pupils for the introduction of Skills Builder. All pupils in our upper school are accessing the passports in their PSHE lessons for our termly focus. We also recognised the need for policies to reflect Skills Builder. Therefore, our Careers policy has the essential skills running throughout, with the same consistent language being reflected in our planning documents. Our enrichment programme was devised using the framework so that providers are using the same skills builder language.
Start early, keep going
Our pupils across the school have regular planned opportunities to access a skills-based curriculum and we recognise that developing skills are an important part of all aspects of learning across the school. The focus has been on our upper school for the framework and our lower school pupils are continuing to work with external agencies to develop essential skills, for example, through music, sport and gardening.
Measure it
We continue to look for ways that we can measure the impact of the framework and the work that we develop. The resources supplied by Skills Builder are used throughout upper school but it is the extended framework which provides us with the most structure so that we can design lessons, activities and support progress with all pupils. We have developed pupil learner profiles where step specific objectives are displayed and progress is monitored within their PSHE lessons, with the ownership being on the pupil. Through our Annual Review process, we have started to explore the future for our pupils, with essential skills being linked to the outcomes which are specific to each young person. This enables us to reflect and review annually and monitor progress being made.
Focus tightly
Through the changes to our planning documents we are able to identify personalised real-world applications, which is defined as social knowledge and community engagement. It is through this that we can focus on the skills needed, the outcomes expected and to identify the change maker principle drivers. This approach is reflected across school from age 5 to our upper school pupils. We have continued to adapt our timetables and classes so that skills are being taught in PSHE at appropriate levels, enabling step specific learning with classes.
Keep practising
All pupils across the school are given opportunities to practice essential skills are part of enrichment plans, collapsed timetable days such as World Book day, RE (Religious Education) days, Pi Day and through our Pupil Parliament meetings. The students participate in a number of enrichment activities such as Martial Arts, Music performance, Basketball and in being visible in the community. All of which enable pupils to develop confidence, social knowledge, independence and in supporting them to recognise the achievements in themselves. All pupils participate in skill specific work, which is adapted to meet their needs both in and out of the classroom. For example, exploring nature through a project with an external agency, which was designed at various stages depending on which class were participating. We valued the importance of consistency and how language used across school would effectively support our pupils in securing the understanding of each skill level.
Bring it to life
We have a real focus on ensuring our pupils achieve no matter what the intended outcome is. We continue to look for opportunities to develop essential skills, as we truly believe that the Change Maker principles link to the framework and will be the drivers for success. The language is used in context which allows effective modelling from adults and plentiful praise given for pupil achievement. One area we have been successful in bringing Skills Builder to life is our vocational curriculum. We have seen our pupils attend Horse Riding, a nature reserve where key skills are supported and embedded. The Arts transitions project sees the skills in the classroom being brought to life through performance in the community and a shared passion through the creative employers that we work with. We have worked closely with our employers to develop a taught curriculum that embraces the needs of our pupils, whilst embedding the core principles of the Skills Builder Extended framework.
What's next
For us at Bader Academy we never settle for anything and constantly create ways that broaden the knowledge and skills of our pupils and support their families in helping them to achieve. Hopefully as we progress as a school we continue to look for further extra-curricular opportunities that enhance skills development and enable our pupil to thrive. For example, Orienteering and Duke of Edinburgh. As the school and Trust continue to develop, the role of Careers Advisor across the MAT will be pivotal in supporting our pupils even further in their skill development, with the hope that we will have a fully embedded Essential Skills pathway for our pupils.
Yorkshire and the Humber
United Kingdom