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Darwen St James CofE Primary Academy

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Darwen St James CofE Primary Academy
We are a single form entry school in Lancashire. We take from 2 yrs up to 11yrs. We are a church school and we work closely with our church and the wider community. We took part in Skills Builder this year as it was an opportunity to broaden our curriculum offer and we also saw it as a link between other initiatives that we already have running in school.
Overall impact
Through using the Skills Builder Accelerator programme, we have seen an application of all the skills we have explicitly taught so far across the curriculum. The other skills are also identified when staff spot the children using them. EYFS has employed a Skills Builder spotter within their class, which is working extremely well as the children are able to verbalise and recognise the skills within each other. We feel that the rewards of skills stickers and adapting our Class Dojo points to link with skills has worked really well and gives another opportunity for staff to ask the children about how they have used the essential skills.
Keep it simple
We started with the leader and SLT training sessions to prepare an introduction to staff. Then we had our first staff training with our Education Associate, Sophie. Staff were inspired and we created a plan of action to make the introduction meaningful and manageable. This included an assembly for pupils, displays and use of vocab around school and across the curriculum and information to parents.
Start early, keep going
All children across school have the display and vocabulary used in their classrooms. We have also made time in the timetable for weekly Skills Builder lessons. This is has proven to be extremely successful as we have seen what they have learnt being applied to other areas of the curriculum. Teachers are now also adding meaning links in their planning to the Skills Builder framework. This is taking time, but will become easier as the framework becomes more familiar to us. Parents get regular updates from us via Class Dojo so they can see the progress that the children are making .
Measure it
We have used the Hub and the resources on there regularly. The children learn about 1 skill at a time; this makes it manageable and meaningful. The teachers assess them on the Hub and then complete the assessment at the end of the half term to measure progress and impact. The skills vocabulary is displayed, we have Skills Builder displays in every classroom and in whole school areas such as the entrance and hall, this helps the children to use the language and apply the skills across the curriculum.
Focus tightly
We have a weekly timetabled slot for Skills Builder lessons. We use the Skills Builder online lesson resources for those, including the videos and lesson activities. We record this in class floor books so we have a bank of evidence to see the progression across school. We have also just recently bought the package deal for Projects and we look to timetable one per term next year to try them all out.
Keep practising
We have just bought the Projects package, we have used 1 per year group so far and the feedback from staff and children has been wonderful. It was evident the skills we had taught as those were being applied during those sessions, but also across the curriculum we can see and hear that language being used.
Bring it to life
We took part in the Skills Builder virtual trip session, we also take part in Primary Futures online sessions and have our own careers events including inspirational speakers and Aim High Day. This demonstrates to pupils not only the importance of their education but also how essential skills contributes to their future as well as the here and now.
What's next
Amending policy documents to include Skills Builder e.g. our marking and feedback policy Looking at where language of essential skills could be linked to our new class assembly format Sharing essential skills more broadly with the wider community through our website Building specific skill steps into planning for the coming year, beginning with humanities subjects
North West England
United Kingdom