By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Return to Showcase
Visit website


Blythe Bridge High School

This content was written by
Blythe Bridge High School
Blythe Bridge High School & Sixth Form is a secondary school in Stoke-on-Trent and part of the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust. Our school ethos is Pride, Respect and Kindness and this is incorporated in the whole of our school community. We began to use the Skills Builder essential skills in our careers provision and then applied to join the accelerator programme to improve our approach and outcomes for our students.
Overall impact
After just one year of following the Accelerator programme, we have seen an impact from the essential skills being used in all aspects of the school community. The programme has supported the school in not just displaying the skills on the wall but how they can be used in educating our students on how important the essential skills are in their future pathways. The impact has not just been seen by students but staff too, it has increased their knowledge and confidence in embedding the essential skills in their practice so that it supports a consistent approach across the school. Alongside increased awareness and use of the essential skills, as a school the programme has shown us how we can build into our curriculum tracking and ways to effectively measure progress made against the eight essential skills.
Keep it simple
Essential skill posters are displayed in all learning environments to support a regular sign posting of them in learning activities. They are referenced in assemblies for all year groups at the start of the academic year. We have launched ?Skills Builder Stars?, where all staff in school including support staff can reward students for moments when they display good qualities of an essential skill. Essential skills are displayed on social media posts especially our extra-curricular activities. The language of the essential skills, including skill icons, is also shared on social media posts including Facebook and LinkedIn in an attempt to increase awareness and engage wider stakeholders, including parents. The use of the essential skills on LinkedIn posts have created new networking opportunities with external practitioners who have contacted to find out more information.
Start early, keep going
The ethos of start early matches the vision of our careers programme already embedded in school. It is a priority for our school to create a culture for our students of thinking about employability skills and their education. Essential skills are referenced in curriculum plans and a detailed scheme of learning has been merged with our current citizenship curriculum to incorporate teaching and monitoring of the skills throughout all KS3. We have also piloted introducing essential skill activities during our transition days with Year 6, this will support in setting our expectations when they join us in the September.
Measure it
Essential skills have been mapped to the citizenship curriculum. During weekly lessons students receive teaching of the skills alongside the content of the citizenship curriculum and these are assessed and tracked by form tutors. We have also built in assessment and referencing of the skills to our work experience programmes. In our Year 9 Out to Work Day, students reflect on how they have observed and used the essential skills during their workplace visit. In Year 10, visiting staff and employers assess the students progress against each skill for the whole week. Our curriculum leader for citizenship uses Hub reports to check on progress of all tutor groups to ensure consistency across the curriculum. During our Year 6 transition, students are tasked to receive signatures on a card when they have displayed an essential skill.
Focus tightly
Majority of staff regularly include the essential skills in their lessons with support of classroom displays and visuals on the work. In citizenship there is teaching of the skills and monitoring from tutors and the head of citizenship. Our autumn term teacher training sessions focussed on career champions across all curriculum areas to ensure that essential skills are being referenced in curriculum plans. Essential skills have been present and linked to many school events this year including a Year 8 drop down day, the school annual careers fair, Year 9 options evening and work-related learning opportunities. We have a Year 9 SEND careers focus group, which is operating in its second year, the whole focus for this group is to explore their interests, personal skills and how they measure against the essential skills.
Keep practising
Strategies embedded so far will continue and be driven by career champions across our school community. There have been examples within observations this year where essential skills have been present in learning. Career champions have set Skills Builder targets to measure progress in curriculum areas and give vision to our school priorities. Essential skills have been mapped and used in many extra-curricular activities and will continue to grow across all. The new reward system will raise and profile and celebrate the achievement of students against the essential skills. CPD in school this year has been allocated for Skills Builder; careers champions, tutors and whole school staff have received CPD on use of the essential skills, sharing of good practise, teaching and monitoring of the skills. Essential skills have already been linked to our chess, escape room, Warhammer and dance club. We will continue to roll this our across all extra-curricular clubs where staff will identify an essential skill focus.
Bring it to life
We have linked the skills to many events this academic year. A particular strength was our Year 8 Enterprise day where all tasks were explicitly linked to a skill. We piloted an approach with our partnerships during our annual careers fair and included them in promoting and identifying essential skills in their industries. Assessing students against the essential skills for their work-related learning activities supports the importance and relevance of the skills that we celebrate in school. We have strong partnerships with a local care home and Port Vale Football Club, where students from different curriculum areas complete volunteering work linked to the essential skills.
What's next
Next year, we will continue to embed best practice as part of our Accelerator+ programme. We plan to strengthen the current strategy through effective deployment of careers champions, developing good practice from identified areas into more to increase overall consistency and impact. We will continue to monitor and develop the essential skills provision in citizenship in KS3 and reflect on what this could look in KS4. We are also considering ways to embed the essential skills to all work-related learning activities in Year 12 and 13. Finally, we will use our flexible support to identify how Skills Builder can be used to support new school initiatives such as Tomorrows Teachers.
West Midlands
United Kingdom