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Chorleywood Primary School

This content was written by
Chorleywood Primary School
We are an outstanding primary school who are committed to the development of the whole child. We wanted to equip our pupils with all the skills, mental health and well-being strategies and academic skills and knowledge to succeed and excel in life.
Overall impact
We think the programme has been very successful, despite the challenges of Covid. The Skills Builder approach has really become embedded in school life. Teachers are much more confident to incorporate the essential skills in lessons and pupils are responding well and are now identifying their successes and the successes of their peers. It has really developed into a whole school approach.
Keep it simple
We discuss the essential skills in assemblies of the skills. as well as having displays about them in every class. We also set a weekly skill of the week which is displayed on every classroom door and pupils receive certificates in our weekly celebration assembly for successfully demonstrating that skill. In lessons, we set a skill objective as well as a learning objective. The skills have been build in to the long term subject plans. As part of our Dream Big initiative pupils hear from a range of adults about the job they do and what essential skills are involved.
Start early, keep going
We include all learners in the Skills Builder programme. We have shared information with parents through newsletters and there is also a section on our website about Skills Builder. All classes have displays in their room from Nursery through to Year 6.
Measure it
We use the online assessment tools to track the essential skill levels of the cohort, identifying gaps which will inform future planning. As we have a Skill of the Week, the skills and steps are referred to and revisited regularly. This really aids teacher review and assessment. As successful demonstration of the weekly skill is identified during the week and someone from each class receives a certificate to celebrate this, the children are motivated to demonstrate the skills and identify which step they have achieved. Pupils in each class are encouraged to tell an adult if they identify one of their peers demonstrating the skill.
Focus tightly
We ensure that building essential skills is explicit and structured in several ways: Through promoting the weekly skill, by having discussions in assemblies each week, by using explicit lessons on the Skills Builder Hub, and by sharing a skill objective alongside the learning objective. In classroom monitoring I have observed teachers also asking students which skills will be used in the lesson and what approaches will be used to ensure the skills are successfully deployed. Peer feedback is often used in lessons too: teachers will ask what aspects were really successful and what could be further developed next time. Teachers consistently identify positive role models.
Keep practising
Reference to the skills is consistent in all aspects of the school life and I think the next steps will be to share it with external clubs that run in school. The essential skills are identified in all the long term curriculum plans so this supports the progressive and sequential approach to the curriculum. The weekly repetition allows a constant drip feeding of the skills.
Bring it to life
As part of our Key Stage 2 Dream Big career programme we have asked speakers to identify which essential skills are particularly relevant in their roles and any strategies they have developed to improve these skills over their careers. In preparation for sports week, the sports leader arranged for a visit from an professional athlete who was asked to refer specifically to his use of essential skills in his presentation.
What's next
To build off all the successes so far, we would like to have more involvement of parents and external club leads. We will continue to relate the skills to real life where possible so pupils really see why they matter.
South East England
United Kingdom