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Cardinal Newman Catholic School

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Cardinal Newman Catholic School
Cardinal Newman CAtholic School and Sixth Form is a mixed comprehensive school that has recently been praised by Ofsted for providing high quality careers advice for all pupils. Students and staff work together to create an environment in which the school?s motto ?Caritas? informs every aspect of school and college life. We are aware that academic attainment is not going to be enough on its own to enable our students to thrive in the C21st and so we have begun the process of making the teaching of skills explicit and integral to lessons across the curriculum. By using Skills Builder, we are raising awareness of what these skills are and of how to develop them through our teaching. We are identifying opportunities for skills teaching in a range of contexts; visiting speakers, employers and other providers are all now asked to bring discussion of skills to the forefront in their presentations and workshops. During the academic year 2022-2023 strategies for the development of essential skills has been integrated into our strategic planning and policy development. Skills teaching has been a regular item on our half-termly Careers Subject Champions meetings for example, with the result that now the language of skills development is being used more frequently and with greater understanding by teachers, students and outside providers. As we move into 2023-24 lessons, assemblies and other events such as careers fairs will make more explicit and consistent reference to those skills and how to develop them.
Overall impact
The programme so far has raised awareness of the importance of skills across the community. At our Year 9/10 Futures Fair, 71% of students said that the event had helped them to become more aware of the skills they'll need in the workplace. Of those skills, 88% of students identified 'speaking' as a skill they needed to develop, alongside 'leadership' [80%] and 'teamwork' [77%]. The language of the Accelerator programme has helped teachers and students to identify the skills they need to prioritise and has given them a vocabulary for describing what those skills are and what they involve. A highlight of the year has been the positive way in which teachers on the Careers Subject Champions group have engaged with leading the teaching of skills within their Departments.
Keep it simple
In Tutor Time, students receive regular updates regarding careers opportunities and these have included references to the Skills Builder skills . We have printed the logos of the 8 essential skills and have displayed these on class display boards. All staff attended online Skills Builder CPD. The development of essential skills is part of whole school and departmental strategic planning and policy development; the language of essential skills is now used across many areas of school life. Skills Development is a standing item for discussion at meetings of our Subject Careers Champions group and members of that group have been instrumental in raising the profile of skills teaching in their subjects. Assemblies and other events reference skills; for example at our recent Futures Fair for Year 9 and 10 exhibitors were asked to make explicit reference to the skills they required and in feedback students were asked to identify the skills they themselves need to develop.
Start early, keep going
We began this year piloting Skills Builder with groups chosen by our departmental careers champions. We have prioritised Years 7-9. Next year, Skills Builder will be delivered to Years 7-11, with some trialing of skills-based teaching in Year 12 and 13. From September 2023 skills-based teaching will be fully integrated into the PSHE programme for KS3 and 4; this will equate to 1 lesson a week . There will be a Skills Builder focus session for all years once a term, delivered through PSHE. Starting in September 2023 we are planning to introduce 'Benchmark' and 'Launchpad' to support Sixth Form independent skills practice. Providers contributing to the Sixth Form Careers Days in July 23 are being asked to make explicit reference to skills in their presentations.
Measure it
At present some teachers are using formative assessment to prioritise and inform their teaching of essential skills. These are mostly colleagues in the Careers Subject Champions group. During 22-23 form tutors will begin to assess their groups' command of skills using the Skills Builder Hub. Students will self-assess via Benchmark or Unifrog. This approach will be trialed with one tutor group first. One library slot a half term will be used for pupils struggling to self-assess on Benchmark to give them extra time and assistance. The aim will be for a majority of teachers to be regularly using formative assessment to prioritise and inform the teaching of essential skills by July 24.
Focus tightly
At present some teachers engage in focused and explicit teaching of essential skills. These are mostly colleagues on the Careers Subject Champions group who have been trialling a skills-based approach during the past academic year. From September 23 we will be building direct instruction of skills into lessons across the curriculum in KS3 & KS4. At least once a half term the careers focus in PSHE tutor time which will be Skills Builder. We will be using the short lessons on the Hub as a means of giving direct instruction. We will consider having a focus skill every half term but staff will know they can still refer to the others.
Keep practising
At present some teachers provide opportunities for students to practise essential skills in the wider curriculum, crossing into different subject areas. Discussion of cross-curricular skills has been evident at meetings of the Departmental Careers Champions. From September 23, we will identify how the skills taught by subjects are reinforced by the teaching of skills in form time and through other aspects of school life, such as extra-curricular activities. Temperature walks (learning walks) & appraisals will be used to monitor the teaching of skills and how that teaching is being linked to the curriculum. Subject Leads will receive Skills Builder CPD and asked to identify how they can link it to their area. Leaders and organisers of sporting clubs and sixth form academies will also be asked to identify how their work can be linked to the skills, as will the leaders of the Student Council and Eco-team .
Bring it to life
The school currently makes provision for the majority of students to have experiences to apply essential skills. These include project-based learning, off-timetable days, employer encounters, workplace visits and enterprise challenges. Staff running trips, for example, are now asked to instruct students to interview the people they meet on trips and visits about the skills they require in the workplace. In 23-24, we will make explicit the exact nature of those skills. We are establishing a BEACH network list of parents/friends of the school who have volunteered to join sessions and talk to the pupils - perhaps through 10 minute videos. We will be considering work experience modules/virtual trips.
What's next
By Half-term [Feb 24] we will have: - skills will be explicitly taught to each year group 7-11, with further reference in curriculum lessons - skills icons and displays in some, if not all, of the learning areas. - linked Homezone/Intro to Skills Builder to the school/college website. - Added the skills onto class charts. - Launched benchmark skills self-assessment with 6th form students. By March '24 we will have: - Decided on how best to use teacher training two and which staff should be involved.
South East England
United Kingdom