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


Bridgelea Pupil Referral Unit

This content was written by
Bridgelea Pupil Referral Unit
Bridgelea Primary School is a school for 107 pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2 offering specialist places for children with an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) identifying Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH). Bridgelea also offers places for Manchester?s children who are at risk of being excluded (APX) or who have been permanently excluded (PEX) by providing the day six-education offer. At Bridgelea we believe that children learn and develop at different ages and stages, and this is reflected in our curriculum and nurturing approaches. Teaching and learning reflect how nurture underpins the curriculum and staff seek opportunities to work with children at their development stage. Language is a vital means of communication and staff are attuned to children to support and challenge unhelpful and negative beliefs about themselves and build resilience.?In September 2022 we started the Skills Builder Accelerator Program to develop and implement a complete strategy for teaching essential skills aligning Manchester?s Skills for Life with Bridgelea?s Rainbow Curriculum.
Overall impact
Staff and children have loved the challenge days and projects and the introduction of the essential skills. They have provided opportunities to develop and talk about the essential skills needed to thrive in the wider world. We have started to develop a shared language and approach and it has supported staff and children to look at the wider skills that children learn throughout the curriculum at Bridgelea.
Keep it simple
We have focused this year on introducing the language around the essential skills, ensuring it is as simple and consistent as possible. This has been enhanced with links to Manchester's Skills for Life. We have agreed on the visuals that support the skills and these are used in assemblies, other events, and on displays around the school and in the classrooms. We share the skills regularly on Class Dojo with parents using activities from the Skills Builder Home Zone. Using the Manchester Skills for Life we have broken each skill down into what we want our children to be able to do at each age, using the Skills Builder Framework as a way of having clear statements to work towards at each step.
Start early, keep going
At Bridgelea School we want to help our children, families, and communities to understand themselves and others more. As a Nurture school, we feel that the nurture principles and approaches support us to develop and embed a nurturing culture throughout the school, enhancing teaching and learning. The essential skills complement this nurturing ethos. At Bridgelea we believe that they are important all the way through education, and at all ages and we understand them developmentally. All classes and children have been introduced to the essential skills this year and have accessed the challenge days, adapted assemblies, and projects. Links between the essential skills and the Boxall Profile developmental strands are intuitive and an area to explore further for example 'Giving purposeful attention' (Strand A) underpins the essential skill of Communication. Similarly, 'Participating constructively' (Strand B) links with the essential skills of teamwork and self-belief.
Measure it
As a school measurement of the essential skills has been the most challenging. Teachers have accessed training on how to complete and use the Skills Builder Framework and we have introduced group-level assessments. Progression using the expanded frameworks has also been shared. To develop this further next year we need to clarify how this assessment can be used to inform teaching across the curriculum and how it compliments existing assessments such as the Boxall Profile. Recognising and sharing progress within the skills with children and parents is also a key development focus moving forward. We are excited to implement the Skills Builder passports in 2023/24 to support children's assessment of skills and enhance the teachers differentiation in the projects and challenge days.
Focus tightly
To support the building of essential skills, the focused time has been available to directly build the skills and to allow for deliberate practice. This has included both challenge days and projects and has been further enhanced with half-term skill foci and assemblies. Teachers have access to training on the Skills Hub and are starting to become familiar with the range of resources that this offers to support the development of skills. Feedback from the challenge days and projects has been that the teachers need to develop more confidence in the assessment of the skills to focus the activities on the children?s next steps. In some cases, the emphasis has been on the activities, rather than thinking about what skills children are learning and whether they are pitched at the right level.
Keep practising
Alongside the focused time on building the essential skills, some staff provide wider reinforcement and practice across the curriculum. The whole school and class displays reinforce essential skills. Opportunities to provide regular opportunities for children to practice and recognise essential skills in the wider curriculum, crossing into different subject areas need to be developed further. A next step in 2023/24 will be recognising the skills in enrichment activities more explicitly.
Bring it to life
The challenge days and projects have supported all children to have experiences to apply essential skills. Some children have also accessed a Virtual Employer session with the Guinness Partnership and enjoyed this opportunity. The school plans a range of curriculum enrichment activities supporting all children to connect with their wider communities whilst developing and practising the essential skills in real life situations. Children will be reflecting on this in their passports.
What's next
Embed the use of the Skills Builder Framework with children as a consistent way of thinking about how the skills are built, step by step. This will be supported by the skill passports and half termly celebrations with children on their progress within the skills. Reinforce the value of essential skills. Ensuring that achievement in the essential skills is valued alongside academic achievement tracking and monitoring of skills. Incorporate essential skills into the assessment and monitoring cycle. Share progress with parents at review meetings and within the end-of-year report July 2024. Increase opportunities for children to practice and recognise essential skills in the wider curriculum. Links between the Boxall Profile and Skills Builder Framework are to be explored further. Links with Primary CIEAG to be explored.
North West England
United Kingdom