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Belvue School

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Belvue School
We are a secondary special school for pupils with a cognitive disability within the moderate to severe range. Many of our pupils have other associated difficulties including ASD, challenging behaviour and medical conditions. The principle aim of our school is to prepare our young people for life after school, within both work and leisure. We aim to ensure that our pupils leave school as independently as possible with the right skill set to give them every opportunity to thrive. The Skills Builder programme therefore perfectly complimented and supported our aims.
Overall impact
All staff and students are now fully aware of the terminology and what each skill covers. They link the work they are doing in class and elsewhere in school to the skills and have a clear understanding that these skills will support them in future life. Young people are able to identify when they are using a skill and reflect on how effectively they are deploying that skill.
Keep it simple
The Skills Builder Programme was incorporated into the School Development Plan so that all stakeholders were aware of the programme and its importance. All staff, including governors were trained on the Universal Framework and how it complimented the aims of the school and the outcomes for adulthood that form the foundation of our curriculum. Parents were also introduced to Skill Builder through our Parent Empowerment programme. All the classrooms have the skills displayed, and they are also displayed in the hall, cafe, corridors and entrance to the school. At the beginning of each lesson, teachers refer to the skill being taught as part of the lesson and in the plenary, pupils are asked to self-assess their performance in the lesson against that skill. Each half-term there has been a focus on a particular skill that is introduced in assembly and during Vertical Tutor time. That skill is then taught and practiced during our weekly designated learning skills lessons.
Start early, keep going
The programme has been rolled out across the school from Year 7 to Post 16. Each half-term there has been a focus on a particular skill that is introduced in assembly and during Vertical Tutor time. That skill is then taught and practiced across the school during our weekly designated learning skills lessons and then generalised across the curriculum. Special events such as the Christmas Fair were organised so that all the pupils could apply their skills in a practical context,e.g. running a stall. Pupils were rewarded for gaining new skills through certificates and celebratory assemblies.
Measure it
Staff baseline pupils in all the key skills using a combination of observation, reflection from pupils and information from parents and other staff. Pupils use a self-assessment tool to measure their progress in lesson against the focus key skill, progress is also measured on Earwig, our assessment database. We also ensure that progress is recorded in individual pupils Record of Achievement using photographs and statements.
Focus tightly
We focus on one skill a half-term and explicitly teach that skill once a week during a learning skills lessons. The focus skill is also introduced in assembly and practiced during Vertical Tutor time. That focus skill is also identified and practiced during other lessons and pupils are encouraged to use the self-assessment form to evaluate their progress in the lesson towards meeting that skill
Keep practising
We use a variety of approaches including activity weeks e.g. Arts and science week, special enterprise days including Christmas and Summer Fate. We also offer a range of extra-curriculum activities including residentials, day trips and sporting events. Essential skills are taught across the curriculum and during the unstructured parts of the day e.g. lunch-and breaktimes as all staff, including SMSAs are trained in Skills Builder.
Bring it to life
All activities undertaken in school both within the curriculum and extra-curricula always identify the key skills to be used or encountered. Young people are encouraged to self-evaluate themselves against the focus skill in any activity at the end of the session and staff give feedback on progress too. Progress on key skill development is shared with young people and their parents through end-of-year reports, annual reviews, and records of achievement.
What's next
Keep embedding the work within the curriculum. We are currently mapping the key skills across the entire curriculum and all curriculum leaders are rewriting their curriculum policy to include the teaching and practice of key skills. We also need to ensure that new staff are trained in the programme and new parents are introduced to the scheme. It will remain as a key focus for our School Development Plan.
Greater London
United Kingdom