Buzz Learning is a small, friendly school and college specialising in preparing young people with SEND for adult life. We do this through the provision of a broad and balanced learning experience which promotes our learners' educational, spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development. Whilst we recognise qualifications to be important, we also recognise the need to build essential skills in our learners. These include the ability to creatively solve problems, to manage themselves, to communicate effectively and to work well with others. The Skills Builder Accelerator programme provided the platform we needed in our commitment to building high quality essential skills education. Our aim was to build a skills based framework and align it to our current curriculum plans. We are now equipped to model best practice and deliver on our ethos which is to enable our learners to be all they can.
Together with strategic support from Skills Builder, we have developed a complete implementation strategy for embedding high-quality essential skills teaching. Our learners now have opportunity to employ the essential skills in their learning during lessons, on work placement and during work experience. This has enabled our learners to become more positive, sociable and resilient in their learning and daily lives. Through their skills development, learners have been enabled to synthesise knowledge and use it in new situations such as during work experience. Our data shows that the programme has improved achievement of core aims and non-accredited activities. Pupil voice has been positive with 90% of learners expressing their enjoyment of using Skills Builder. Staff voice has been equally positive with all teachers stating their like of the structure of a skills-based framework. The programme has had a positive impact on learners' ability to self-reflect on their progress in learning and share their success stories with application of their skills in their daily lives. An important part of the programme was to foster opportunities for teachers to watch, learn from and model effective practice. It provided a platform for staff to share and lead learning whilst creating an atmosphere of cooperation and support. One staff member volunteered to work as 'Skills Champion' to lead on aspects of the project. The Accelerator programme has provided opportunities to develop links with the wider network, essential for a new school such as ours. Collaboration with external partners has ensured that the programme is delivering its intended impact. We have also built-up partnerships with employers to plan the overview of the Skills Builder framework, drawing on research to formulate a clear plan and the development of skills across the curriculum. This has been shared through staff training, with governors and with parents.
Working in partnership with the Accelerator Programme has allowed us to pioneer a deeply integrated, long-term approach to essential skills education by structuring a whole-school programme. The impact of this is our learners develop the eight skills explicitly and progress can now be measured year on year. We have plans to further establish close links with key stakeholders and employers so we can provide our learners with opportunities to further build and contextualise essential skills and practise them in a specific work context. After success of the initial part of the programme, we will now lead a new phase to integrate the Skills Builder Framework into an online platform. We have developed a three-year plan for embedding skill development to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks. As part of quality assurance processes, we will continue to review progress over the year to continuously drive improvement with using the framework across the organisation.