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Castle View Enterprise Academy

This content was written by
Castle View Enterprise Academy
Our mission is that all students achieve their personal best and at the heart of all of our work is the well-being of our students. Through the use of Skills Builder, we have transformed our curriculum so that our students can develop transferable employability skills and the skills they will need to be successful in their future life and work. We see personal development and careers education as a driving force behind the social mobility of our students. We are using Skills Builder to truly integrate careers education and personal development into all curriculum areas and aspects of Academy life. As a result, we feel that we will be able to effectively prepare our students for the next stage in their education, training or employment and equip them with the skills that they need to be successful. Supported by the essential skills, we have have designed a leaver profile for our students which has been developed with our students, employer links, community links, parents, and staff. We have used Skills Builder as a framework for our leaver profile so that we can use the framework throughout the Academy to support students in developing the skills which have been identified by our community as being vital for their future success. Skills Builder is a golden thread which runs through everything that we do including assemblies, tutor time, PSHE lessons, curriculum subjects, enrichment activities (including drop down events and guest speakers) and our extra-curricular provision.
Overall impact
Skills Builder has been truly transformational in allowing us to make significant progress in developing our students' essential skills. Students are able to appreciate the relevance and importance of the skills they are developing. A key highlight has been the strengthening of the students' ability to confidently articulate their skills; being able to cite sound examples and use a common language when discussing their skill development. Staff have been superb; they have really bought into Skills Builder; adapting their curriculum plans to ensure that all students have the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their essential skills and ensuring that they incorporate these into their wider curriculum as well as within lessons. Students really enjoyed the rewards trips linked to the skills and these will be expanded next year. Students will also be asked to feedback from the trips what they learnt to their peers in a year group assembly to allow more students to benefit from these experiences. The use of the essential skills with our business partners has developed a consistency around the messages which employers are delivering through the use of a common language and the inclusion of skills in all workshops (not just those focused on careers).
Keep it simple
The essential skills are embedded throughout the Academy. Skills Builder icons are displayed in all classrooms, on display boards and the plasma displays. This ensures that all aspects of Academy life are explicitly linked to the Skills Builder framework. The essential skills are embedded into all aspects of the curriculum and the wider curriculum. Medium term plans for all subjects signpost where the skills will be taught and a common set of slide decks are used to support this. This ensures that there is a consistency in the language used and how the skills are taught. Staff have received training from the Skills Leader and this has been supplemented by a staff bulletin. Information is shared with parents through the Academy latest news including weekly skills challenges and links to the Homezone. There is a Skills Builder section on the website which includes links to employer videos explaining how the essential skills are used within a range of job roles.
Start early, keep going
PSHE lessons are used to introduce and develop students understanding of each of the skills and their respective steps. Students spend time in PSHE reflecting on their skills and the progress they have made against each skill. This is completed each term. Essential skills are embedded into all curriculum areas. Student voice each term plus 'book looks' of their Skills Builder reflections (in PSHE) evidence that the essential skills are being delivered across all subject areas and that all students have numerous opportunities to develop their essential skills. Parents are kept up to date with students' progress through the use of Class Charts which informs parents when students have been rewarded for demonstrating the essential skills. In addition, parents are involved through parental updates detailing which skills students are focusing on and are signposted to resources to support the development of students skills at home (through emails, latest news and the website).
Measure it
A baseline is established at the start of the academic year for each year group by pastoral teams. Staff are informed of the starting points of each year group to support with the teaching of the skills within their subject whilst maintaining flexibility to reference the most appropriate step for their classes. A further assessment is completed by pastoral teams in term 3 to evidence progress. Skills with the least progress become the focus for the next academic year. Benchmark has been introduced at KS4 to allow students to self-assess their essential skills. All students have a Global Bridge profile and are tracking their experience, events and achievements linking these to the essential skills. Students on trips / visits / enrichment activities are asked to reflect on their experience with a focus on the skills which they used / observed. Self-reflection within PSHE allows students to evidence the progress made against each skill and set personalised targets.
Focus tightly
Essential skills are taught across all subject areas. This is evidenced through medium term plans, teaching resources, student voice and student reflection. A common slide deck which explains the skill, the focus (which step) and reflection questions is used to support delivery and ensure consistency across the Academy. Examples from departments are shared with staff to showcase best practice and share ideas. Student voice and the Academy quality assurance mechanisms are used to evidence that this is taking place. A Personal Development report prepared for Governors each term includes a Skills Builder focus. Resources have been developed in partnership with employers to support students, staff and parents understanding of the relevance of the essential skills including videos and teaching resources. Rewards trips are linked to the essential skills. For example, students who were awarded the most creativity points were rewarded with a trip to a local film studio.
Keep practising
The essential skills are a golden thread running throughout the Academy. Staff use the step language in their lessons (curriculum areas), all classrooms display Skills Builder icons and these are embedded into teaching resources. All extra-curricular activities reference the essential skills; these are displayed on the plasma screens, the website and noticeboards around school. In PSHE lessons, through their Global Bridge profiles and after trips / visits / enrichment events, students reflect on the skills they are developing and how the the wider curriculum can support them to develop these skills. The year 10 work experience log is based on the Skills Builder framework allowing students to identify the skills they will need and would like to focus on during their placement (supported by the completion of Benchmark). Students then reflect on the skills they have demonstrated and set targets going forward.
Bring it to life
Our employer partners have produced video clips which explain how they use the essential skills within their job roles. These are used as a teaching resource and also available on the website for parents and other stakeholder groups. All guest speakers are briefed on the essential skills by the Skills Leader and asked to include the essential skills in their presentations / workshops. This means that students are able to see the relevance and importance of the skills in wider life. It also ensures consistency in the language used. All events and projects within the Academy are linked to the essential skills with icons included on displays, plasma slides. For example, fundraising, house events, sporting events, assemblies. Drop down days and workshops all include specific links to and teaching of the essential skills. Trips and visits evaluations include a section on skills - what skills did students demonstrate, what skills did they see others demonstrating.
What's next
We will continue to share examples of best practice from within the Academy and also through ongoing support from Skills Builder, to continue to ensure that essential skills are at the heart of our curriculum. We are planning on working with more of our business partners to expand the 'real life' examples and case studies that we have to showcase essential skills in the world of work with our students. As part of our student leadership programme, we plan to introduce Skills Ambassadors; students who will work with staff and our wider partners to continue to monitor, evaluate and develop our programmes.
North East England
United Kingdom