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Bonners Church of England School

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Bonners Church of England School
Bonners CofE Primary School and nursery has about 120 pupils from age 2 - 11. It is a small, village school serving the village of Maresfield. EYFS and Key Stage 1 have single year groups and Key Stage 2 has mixed age classes of Years 3 & 4, and Years 5 & 6. Last year we began to implement careers-related learning into our curriculum to fit in with our learning journeys, to expose our pupils to many different types of careers and the skills they need to develop for these jobs and to inspire them to work towards a goal. Alongside this, we began teaching them the 8 essential skills and wanted to develop and embed this this year as part of preparing them for the future world of work.
Overall impact
As a school we have embedded careers-related learning and the Skills Builder approach into our school. It has formed part of our school development plan and has been added to our termly planning and timetabling. Having received training, staff felt confident to begin explicit teaching of these skills. Before this, it was just hoped children would, over time, gradually become better at listening, speaking, etc or just accepted that some children didn't listen or couldn't work well with others. Now we are helping them to develop these skills and preparing them for their futures as well as helping them become better learners. We are providing them with opportunities to practice these skills and make them relevant to real life and careers. We have involved our parents by getting them to come into school and talk about their careers with a focus on the skills they use on a daily basis, and we have kept them informed through sharing our termly plans and in our newsletters about the skills we are learning each term. We have also involved parents in working on these skills with their children by using the home learning tasks on Seesaw during lockdown. The children have been able to see how the skills help them now with their learning but also why these skills are important in the future world of work. We aim to inspire them for their future and teach them the skills needed for this.
Keep it simple
The 8 essential skills are displayed in each class and there is a display in the hall with the current skill being taught. We begin each new skill with a whole school assembly to introduce it. This is shared with parents in our newsletter. We teach one skill at a time which forms part of our termly plans and use the assessment tool to select the appropriate step to focus on with our classes. We follow the lessons for the step we are teaching and use the language provided in the lesson plans in the Skills Builder Framework. At the end of the skill, we reassess the class to see progress made. Staff have received online training in how to use the Framework and all classes use this approach. Children are rewarded at the end of a skill by receiving certificates in a celebration assembly and a photo of this is shared with parents on Seesaw and in our newsletter. Teachers are also able to comment on the achievements of pupils in terms of their essential skills in reports.
Start early, keep going
All pupils from Reception to Year 6 are taught the 8 essential skills, with the whole school focusing on the same skill at the same time, using the steps appropriate for them following assessment by each class teacher. This is timetabled for 1 session a week for each class. These skills are fundamental to their learning in school as well as in their future lives and have been embedded into our termly plans and our school development plan. Parents have been involved by sharing home learning tasks on Seesaw to practice at home. Parents are kept informed of what skills each class is covering in our newsletters, on our termly topic grids which are shared with parents and in our celebration assembly where photos are shared on Seesaw with parents.
Measure it
The Skills Builder Hub assessment tools for each skill are used before beginning each skill to ensure that the teaching is right for the majority of pupils in the class and then adjusted after teaching that skill. This way progress can be measured for each class to see how effective the lessons have been. This has been really helpful in choosing which step to begin teaching and in seeing progress the pupils have made. Pupils are also asked to self-reflect on how they have improved in that skill or used strategies they have learned to help them be successful.
Focus tightly
Skills are explicitly taught in a dedicated lesson each week by each class. This way we can help pupils become better at, for example, working as a team, listening to others or speaking out in front of others, and so on, rather than hoping they will just become better at it with age. We are giving them the tools and strategies to actively work on these skills. Having had the training and having access to the Skills Builder Framework has enabled us to deliver effective lessons with good resources and activities to carry out to improve these skills which they will use throughout their lives. Planning for these sessions on our termly plans and sharing these on Seesaw with parents ensure that all classes are teaching the skills each week.
Keep practising
The school curriculum gives opportunities to practice these 8 skills throughout the school day. Teachers make reference to the skills in different lessons and activities and make it explicit when they can use these skills and see them in action. This makes the skills relevant to the children's lives. The Skills Builder lessons give opportunity for explicit teaching of the skills, but the wider curriculum gives opportunity to put the skills into practice and use strategies taught in everyday life to develop their skills. As well as our usual weekly lessons, children have been given the opportunity to practice these skills in events we have throughout the year - for example, our 7 billion ideas project, the Fiver challenge, Kit car racing, sports day and school plays. When any problems arise, teachers make reference back to the skills and remind children of what can be done to resolve them, such as working as a team or listening and get the children to suggest strategies that we have learnt that may help.
Bring it to life
Alongside teaching the 8 essential skills, we have over the past 2 years been implementing careers-related learning into our curriculum. Links are make wherever possible with what we are learning to the world of work and the skills required for the careers we are learning about. Before lockdown we had parents with specific careers deliver a whole school assembly where they talked about their job and the skills needed for that role, including an animator and a banker. We also had visits from the police and NatWest bank to do the same. Some classes have signed up to FarmerTime and get a virtual visit to a farm every 2 weeks to find out about a career in farming. We have also signed up to Primary Futures and hope to have further visits and visitors once restrictions are lifted.
What's next
The Skills Builder approach has been established successfully throughout our school, including in EYFS, and during this year we have amalgamated with the nursery, so next year we plan to also introduce it to the whole Early Years team. As restrictions are lifted, we hope to have more visitors to school and visits to work places, with a focus on the skills that are needed for that career and keep up the good work we have begun over the past 2 years.
South East England
United Kingdom