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Brook Green Centre for Learning

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Brook Green Centre for Learning
Brook Green Centre for Learning is a SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) school for young people aged 11-16 who have cognition & learning and social, emotional & mental health needs. Through the Skills Builder program students are provided opportunities to explore, discuss and apply the essential skills across the whole school curriculum. The development and recognition of the essential skills help to prepare our students in their chosen pathways provides students with confidence and continuity in their next steps.
Overall impact
Being able to access the extra support and whole staff training from the team at Skills Builder has empowered and informed all staff to be able to relate, use and deliver Skills Builder across our whole school to all of our students in various different ways. Being able to break down employability into smaller familiar skills makes the development of these skills accessible to everyone, including those at home. Skills Builder has provided a platform for a whole school foundation for employability skills. Throughout the year it has been inspirational to see the pride that some students have had when they have been awarded a Skill sticker and had their efforts recognized. Also being able to use the hub reporting to see the logged improvements made across the whole school.
Keep it simple
Skills Builder is integrated across the whole of Brook Green; as part of our lessons, wall displays, the bases for our Challenge weeks and as part of our formative feedback. Every class and classroom has a set of Skills Builders stickers, which enables every member of our school community to award others when examples of skills are witnessed. To support this further there are displays in each of the Key Stage Areas. These displays also aid to advertise our Skill of the week. Staff are reminded of the skill in the weekly staff briefing. Weekly reward time is also influenced by Skills Builder, with activities being offered having to link to the Skill of the Week. Tutors plan activities that demonstrate and practice the skills of the week. Through the school blog the school shares the links to the Skillsbuilder online platforms for resources to be accessed from home.
Start early, keep going
All of our students from year 7 to 11, use and access Skills Builder throughout their learning. Each subject area includes references to the 8 essential skills within their planning and delivery. Developing the essential Skills has become integral to our tutor program with tutors selecting and completing activities from our Skills Passport. At Key Stage 4 students develop their awareness of the essential skills not only through their core subjects but also whilst working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards and throughout any Careers related learning.
Measure it
Being able to focus on just one skill at at time, as a whole school, from the introduction of our 'Skill of the week', has made it easier for staff and students to highlight and recognize the separate qualities of each skill. To reinforce the recognition and in celebration students are awarded stickers, which are put in to their work to record where and when that skill was used or witnessed. This provides consistent visible feedback. Tutors have a key role in the delivery of Skills Builder at Brook Green, as they often use their tutor times to discuss & share the separate skills and record their group's progression their using the hub report and through student's Skill Passports. Despite the varying needs within each group progression is noticeable and evidenced through the 'Hub' reports. Teachers and TLAs have also had training on how to use the Skills Builder platforms for their groups.
Focus tightly
Each week all students have at least 2 Tutor time sessions in their timetables which is allocated time to work on essential skills along side other tutor-based activities. Alongside our core curriculum offer, this year we also offered a 'Preparing for Adulthood' program, which focusses on life-skills. This program is aimed at students who may not be studying for external examinations, eg. GCSEs. This program uses an audit tool and Unit Awards to record and show development of 'Skills for Life', be it preparing food or planning a journey. To support our staff 2 one hour CPD sessions focusing on the use of Skills Builder are included in our annual staff CPD. This time enables staff to share practice and remain up to date with the different platforms and resources, thus enabling Skills Builder to be incorporated into each subject area and their curriculum. New for this year we have also set up a project at a local farm where groups of students are given the chance to use the essential skills.
Keep practising
Throughout the year students have opportunities to apply their essential skills not only in their daily curriculum but also as part of collapsed timetable days such as Numeracy Day, World Book Day, RE (Religious Education) Days, STEAM Days (Science Technology Engineering, Art and Math), activities completed during National Careers Week and during our end of school year Challenge week. Activities on offer range from orienteering, to baking, to entering the 'Spirited Arts' Competition, and participating in our 'You're Hired Scheme. 'You're Hired', is where students write a letter of application to join our Brook Green Café Team as part of their English Curriculum, if the student wishes, the letter can be put forward for an interview, as part of the interview students are asked to describe what skills they have for the role being applied for; each year we look to appoint 4 students to join the Café team.
Bring it to life
All students have the opportunity to visit places of work or meet with employers. Where possible these encounters are tailored to the student's expressed interests in order to ensure that they are relevant. These encounters are recorded in their individual employability record. In this record, students have time to reflect and respond to their experiences. This helps to provide evidence for future employers and assists with Post-16 college applications & interviews. Students in years 9 and 10 also develop their core skills outside of the classroom as part of their Duke of Edinburgh awards. Work experience placements are completed by year 10 students and again in year 11. In year 10 students complete 1 day a week for 6 weeks whereas in year 11 students complete a block placement to combinate everything. Within our school setting, we have a small Cafe on Friday mornings where students use their Enterprise skills to make and sell coffee and ice-creams.
What's next
We want to continue to build on the success of integrating the essential skills into the separate subject areas and their incorporation into the 'Life Skills' program. Staff engagement and delivery are paramount to our ongoing success with Skills Builder. To support this further CPD and time will be made available during the school year for all Teachers and Teaching & Learning Assistants. Using the Skillsbuilder hub reports has really demonstrated how our student's employability skills are developing; we now need to utilize this data further to influence the activities set with the 'skills of the week'. Going forward we will also develop our Poole Farm project and how student's experiences there develop our students.
South West England
United Kingdom