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Dawlish College

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Dawlish College
Dawlish College is an 11-16 inclusive secondary school based in Devon. We have always had a strong careers provision here at Dawlish College and believe in a broad and enriched curriculum for every student to develop to their full potential. Skills Builder is one of the key tools we currently use to focus our students on their core skills and abilities. We then build on all skills to prepare them for the world of work. We work on employability skills from the very beginning of Year 7, so they can prepare early on for their future careers and have a clear understanding of employability skills being important, just like academic qualifications are.
Overall impact
The main highlights of the accelerator programme this year are when teachers and tutors see the benefit it brings to the College and all of our students. It begins to have real value when the essential skills alongside subjects and qualifications are recognised as important by teachers and students alike. Having positive feedback from tutors and students has made the effort of rolling this programme out across the college worthwhile. Supporting tutor time, creating PSHE lessons, training staff, especially online, has been time intensive so getting the results I'm seeing towards the end of this academic year is extremely pleasing. Overall, seeing the essential skills being put into practice is the most rewarding highlight. When students, parents, employers and teachers are working collaborately on one of the strands of the essential skills, it all comes to life! We should through continued work on the essential skills, see improved employability skills in our students in the future.
Keep it simple
We have had a thorough focus on the speaking and communication strand of Skills Builder and have embedded these skills by delivering Skills Builder through aspects of our PSHE programme and through the whole school tutor programme. We are developing consistency with the use of Skills Builder across the college. Students have an awareness that achievement in the essential skills is valued alongside academic achievement. Skills Builder posters are being placed across the College to help highlight their value and encourage consistency across the College.
Start early, keep going
We have been coherent with our approach to Skills Builder and have ensured that skills developed are then put into practice. For example; we focused on speaking and communication this year with our Year 7 cohort and this leads onto a series of one-to one coaching and mentoring sessions with business professionals. The business coaches, together with the skills developed through using Skills Builder work on a project with our Year 7 cohort, called 'About Me'. This focuses on them selling their core skills and abilities through a presentation. Teachers, students, parents and business professionals have worked together to deliver this initiative to help build on key employability skills.
Measure it
We build the essential skills into various projects that we then put into practice, helping to bring them to life for our students. I will measure the impact of the 'About Me' initiative mentioned earlier in this case study with the business mentors in a debrief session. We focus on different essential skills with different year group, dependent on need. The wider objectives of this activity are: 1 - To enable our young people to identify and articulate their strengths, skills and values in positive language to adults. 2 - To enable young people to understand this is an important life and work skill to help them achieve their future goals. 3 - To increase levels of confidence, positive thinking, ambition, attitude, and self-awareness. 4 -To enable young people to present to an audience.
Focus tightly
We focus on specific skills with different year groups. We currently have dedicated times throughout the week to deliver the essential skills to all our students here at Dawlish College. We have 20 minutes per week allocated to this for every tutor group in each year group. We have a focus on specific steps and I drop into a year group, each week to ensure that our teachers have to tools and resources available to deliver Skills Builder. Sometimes I demo a session just to get them started.
Keep practising
We provide students with the opportunity to use Skills Builder in the wider curriculum and create PSHE sessions using the essential skills as a key area to develop. When creating lessons with Skills Builder, the essential skills form part of the activities within the lesson. For example; looking at decision making and linking this to a PSHE lesson on taking options.
Bring it to life
The core purpose of About Me initiative with year 7, mentioned previously was to make sure students have experiences linked to the essential skills. Objectives of the initiative are detailed in (3). Feedback from this initiative from teachers, parents and students has been positive overall. Business coaches developing the essential skills gave the following feedback: '“This was remarkably effective on-line, I wasn’t sure it would be as successful as it was. I was so impressed by the student’s positive manner and the high engagement with this. They expressed themselves well and were so polite and friendly, it was a pleasure to coach them.”
What's next
I'd like to link the essential skills learnt in each year group directly to a project involving work experience or employer engagement. To improve consistency of the delivery of the 'Skills Builder Programme' across the College. To ensure that we can now focus on the Silver Award, moving forward, using the Skills Builder Principles Matrix to help with this.
South West England
United Kingdom