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City of London Academy Islington

This content was written by
City of London Academy Islington
We are a new primary school in the middle of London and our intake is a mixture of different families. Especially after the pandemic, we believe the skills that Skills Builder teaches the children are invaluable. Everyone is so focused on the core of Literacy and Maths that these skills can be neglected. The data and evidence shows that children and young adult with these skills will progress further in life.
Overall impact
Focussing on these skills has brought to light how much the children need them to access the rest of the curriculum. Having pre-taught Aiming High or Staying Positive, they are more likely to understand resilience for a subject they struggle with. The teachers have really benefited from the breakdown of the skills in the Universal Framework and what each one looks like and involves. The children really enjoy the lessons weekly and like to see how they are progressing through the steps. The highlights were the Skills Builder Projects we have done. They give the children experiences they wouldn't normally get in an average school day and can put into practice the skills they've learnt in a fun, engaging way.
Keep it simple
The school Development Plan includes Fusion Skills (which the Skills Builder programme is supporting to achieve). The school has a monthly skill advertised around the school with posters and in the success criteria of daily work. A child from each class is rewarded with certificates for this skill at the end of the month. Using the Hub assembly resources I have used this to create my own assembly for the focus skill launch. One homework per week is a skill challenge activity. Parents were invited to join a zoom session that talked through what Skills builder involves and slides uploaded to Google classroom. The 8 skill icons are visible in every classroom to remind children and teachers.
Start early, keep going
All year groups and classes have regular and planned opportunities for the learning and practising of essential skills. This is built into their timetables weekly. Each class has also done two projects, over two days.
Measure it
A majority of teachers regularly use formative assessment to prioritise and inform the teaching of essential skills. Teachers have noticed the impact of Skills Builder when the children refer to the skills in other areas of the curriculum. Teacher are secure in the knowledge that assessment inputted onto Skills Builder Hub is accurate. I think we will see the most progress next year when they circle back through the skills they have done this year, and build on them.
Focus tightly
Skills Builder Short Lessons from the Hub are timetabled to happen once a week. Teachers have also built the essential skills into their success criteria in other lessons. We have done two projects in this year, over two days. Teachers then keep referring to the skills learnt, encouraging the children to use them day to day.
Keep practising
After school clubs, run by an external provider, have been given information packs to understand and promote skills in the various activities the children do. Teachers received a training session this year on how they could include the skills in their planning and how this would be presented to the children.
Bring it to life
We have various workshops and trips running across the school and children are asked to write questions to ask professionals they meet, regarding what essential skills they use day to day in their jobs. This includes a long term workshop scheme with Hawkins Browns the architects, which is running school wide over 2 years.
What's next
Next we will focus on: 1) More monitoring of lessons being taught and how it's being integrated into the rest of the curriculum. 2) Learning walks and check ins with the extra curricular activities to see how that could work better.
Greater London
United Kingdom