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City of London Primary Academy Islington

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City of London Primary Academy Islington
COLPAI is a growing 2 form entry primary school situated in inner London. As we grow we would like the Skills Builder programme to grow with us, instilling the essential skills in our children's lives and work across the curriculum. We felt it was a great fit with the ethos of the school and compliments the school values. In addition to this the data and evidence shows that children and young adult with these skills will progress further in life.
Overall impact
The whole school has really gotten on board with the Skills Builder Programme and therefore we have felt a big benefit. Across the curriculum, teachers are able to include the skills the children will need for that lesson in their inputs. Whether it be speaking, listening or creativity the children instantly know from the icons and the vocabulary used what they need to do to succeed. The programme provides great stepping stones to break down the skills children will need to use for the rest of their lives. A particular highlight are the Skills Builder projects. Coming off timetable for two days to complete it means the children and teachers can fully immerse themselves in the tasks. The children are so excited to do the projects and can articulate what skills they are doing and need to work on.
Keep it simple
Skills Builder Lessons are taught weekly however curriculum planning also has skills builder steps on them and teachers include them in lessons across the curriculum at least once a week. In every class the icons are on show to constantly refer to, throughout lessons. There is also a Skills Builder display, on the ground floor, celebrating previous projects, advice from students on skills and interviews with professionals on how they use the skills. This promotes the skills as the children pass by this several times a day. To celebrate the use of the skills, stickers are given out to students in Skills Builder sessions but also other lessons to celebrate the use of the skills. Monthly assemblies celebrate the children with certificates for one child from each class. A Skills Builder policy is also on the website for parents and visitors to learn more about how we implement Skills Builder and the impact it makes.
Start early, keep going
In EYFS, icons are displayed around the classrooms and referred to during different play for learning situations. Also the EYFS stories are shown and discussed in carpet sessions. The 8 skills have been broken down so one or two skills are focused on each term ensuring all skills are covered over the year. Every Monday (KS2) and Tuesday (KS1) from 8.40 - 9.00 teachers have Skills Builder timetabled. The parents receive weekly Skills Builder challenges as part of the home learning.
Measure it
After each session of Skills Builder, teachers assess where the children are with a thumbs up/ thumbs down survey. They will then update the hub with their assessment of how the children are doing in each skill. As a result of this they are then able to use teacher judgement on whether to move on or work on that skills some more.
Focus tightly
The 8 skills have been broken down so one or two skills are focused on each term ensuring all skills are covered over the year. Every Monday (KS2) and Tuesday (KS1) from 8.40 - 9.00 teachers have Skills Builder timetabled, using the online short lessons and tasks. The whole school also has two days off timetable to complete a Skills Builder Project which they can choose according to the needs of their class.
Keep practising
On all the curriculum planning a Skills Builder step, tailored to that year group, has been included. This then reminds teachers to include them in lessons at least once a week, and make links across the curriculum . All extracurricular activities run by COLPAI staff have been linked to a Skills Builder skill so that it can be referred to throughout the session. This is communicated to Parents to give them the option to sign up to an afterschool club in the knowledge it will be working on that skills amongst other. Everyone really benefits from two days off timetable to complete a Skills Builder Project. The children and teachers are fully immersed in the project and feel a great sense of pride at their finished projects whatever they maybe.
Bring it to life
Often we have visitors in to talk about their jobs, either in an assembly or class visits. They are encouraged to refer to the skills they use and how they use them. Every class has access to a bank of Skills Builder workshop questions to ask visitors during trips, talks and workshops to encourage them to find out more about the skills in real life context. The visits include professional architects, authors, scientists and explosion specialists. Upper Key Stage two took part in the Skills Builder career talks, where they got to hear about different professions and ask them questions to get a better idea of the skills they would need. Children are encouraged to practise the skills at home with weekly homework set, focusing on the skill for that half term.
What's next
At COLPAI, we will continue with the things we have put in place this year so they become second nature and really hope to see a further development in the children's skills sets. New staff will be fully inducted and supported to implement the Skills Builder Programme. As we will have a year 6 next year, I hope to connect them with more industry professionals and secondary schools to experience how important these skills are to achieving your goals in life.
Greater London
United Kingdom