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Boston Endeavour Academy

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Boston Endeavour Academy
We got involved initially because we were keen to enhance our Careers and Independence programme and to develop our Careers Related Learning opportunities. We also felt that it would be a great way to support our pupils to achieve our school mission of maximising the learning and development of our students, supporting them to become happy and fully-included members of their community. Skills Builder came highly recommended to us by the Lincolnshire SEND Employment Officer.
Overall impact
The impact has been that most of our pupils are now familiar with the eight essential skills. Some of our pupils have a more secure knowledge of the skills through completing the eight essential skills passports to support, inform their vocational profiles, plan for their futures and achieve their aspirations. Teachers and class leads have a good knowledge of the essential skills and refer to them regularly throughout the school day. This has been further developed through the signposting of the essential skills icons which are displayed in all classrooms, the cookery room and hall. They are even referred to during assemblies, making it increasingly clear that Skills Builder has become a key feature in our school. All classes have made progress on each of the essential skills over the course of the year. This has been tracked on the hub and the results have helped to inform future planning for all classes. Many of the students in Post 14 have been able to not only clearly see the progress that they have made, but also be able to identify their next steps.
Keep it simple
We have embedded Skills Builder into our Horticulture, PE and Cookery lessons. Each class receives two out of the three lessons which are led by experienced TAs. The essential skills icons are clearly displayed in each class, the hall and cookery room and are referred to throughout the school day. In addition to this, the essential skills icons feature and are referred to on every assembly PowerPoint. They are referred to every Friday during assembly as a reminder how we have worked on and made progress with the skills throughout the week. By featuring the icons around school, the pupils are able to link their learning to the essential skills. Many of the students in Post 14 complete their essential skills passports and use these to map their progress and identify their next steps. Skills Builder is referenced on our website within the Careers and World of Work area. It also features on our Careers Offer and on all medium-term plans.
Start early, keep going
The essential skills were introduced early in the academic year by the Careers Lead during a whole school assembly to make the pupils aware of them very early on. Following this, the skills have gradually been embedded into more areas of the curriculum and are now used more widely, for example, by the Post 14 department who have worked on a challenge with PepsiCo. This has given them the opportunity to further develop their skills and the motivation to "keep going". With the skills being built into assembly, specialist lessons and other areas of the curriculum, the pupils are able to see how the skills support their learning and develop their skills. We make it clear that this is an ongoing process!
Measure it
We measure our progress in a number of ways including the following: 1. A spreadsheet used in the Post 14 department which tracks progress towards the skills in addition to the CDI Framework and Gatsby Benchmarks. 2. Completion of the essential skills passports where progress can be clearly seen and next steps identified for individuals. 3. Use of the Skills Builder Hub to add progress for each class. 4. Medium term plans are annotated and used to inform progress made and next steps. 5. The Careers Lead identifies next steps for whole classes and shares these with teachers and class leads. 6. Moving forward, progress towards the essential skills will be discussed with parents as part of their child's EHCP review process.
Focus tightly
Each term we select three Essential Skills to be focused on tightly per half term during the Horticulture, PE and Cookery lessons. This allows us to support classes and individuals to make progress and to consolidate areas of focus within the Essential Skills. In addition to this, the pupils are given opportunities to build their skills in other areas of the curriculum as outlined in the previous sections. Having the logos on display in all classrooms, key areas and during assemblies makes them easily accessible and placed firmly in the forefront of teachers minds so that they can refer to them frequently. By having the logos on display in classrooms, teachers can refer to them and highlight where progress has been made towards the skills that day during a round up of the day. Assemblies give the pupils great opportunities to revisit their hard work towards the skills during the week and they enjoy being part of a celebratory experience where we recognise pupil achievements.
Keep practising
During a recent project, one of the Post 14 classes were given the opportunity to take part in the PepsiCo challenge where they designed their own crisps, including the flavour and packaging design. The class presented their finished product during a Dragon's Den style activity to the judging panel. This gave them the opportunity to practise all the Essential Skills which were highlighted in the PepsiCo challenge plan. Over the course of each term, all essential skills were covered, and pleasing amounts of progress was added to both the Skills Builder Hub and the individual passports. Over the course of the last two terms, we have also implemented the essential skills in two-hour lunchtime clubs, including football club, art club and IT club. The clips are very well attended by pupils, and this has given them the opportunity to come even more familiar with the Skills Builder vocabulary and to have the opportunity to "keep practising"!
Bring it to life
Over the course of this academic year, we have developed our practice so that Skills Builder has become a significant part of the pupil's learning opportunities and experiences. This has included ensuring that Skills Builder is added to all medium-term planning and our careers offer. In addition to this through extensive use of the icons, we have been able to ensure that Skills Builder is interwoven into all areas of the curriculum. Several of our students from our post 14 department have had the opportunity to take part in work experience. The use of the essential skills as a focus and a means for generating next steps has been invaluable. The students have been able to clearly see the progress that they're making with work experience and all careers related learning through the completion of their skills builder essential skills passports. The PepsiCo challenge certainly brought Skills Builder to life in our setting!
What's next
Following on from the work that we have implemented this academic year, we would like to continue to embed Skills Builder into our curriculum so that we can continue to develop the confidence of the staff members and to support the pupils to continue to build upon the great progress that they have already made towards the essential skills. We would like to ensure that the pupils in the post 14 department continue to complete their essential skills passports alongside their vocational profiles so that they can make further progress towards achieving their aspirations! We have already made great steps towards embedding Skills Builder into our careers programme. Moving forward, we would like to ensure that it is used in all aspects of careers related learning for the whole school.
East of England
United Kingdom