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Fairburn Community Primary School

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Fairburn Community Primary School
Fairburn Community Primary School is a small primary school of 88 pupils based on the edge of North Yorkshire. We became involved with Skills Builder about five years ago because we were looking for a way to ensure that our pupils developed essential life skills. We had 'dabbled' in teaching these but had failed to securely embed them into our curriculum in a progressive way. Skills Builder has provided a clear progressive structure we have applied to not only all year groups across the school but has involved the wider stakeholders of our school community.
Overall impact
The impact of the Accelerator programme is very evident across our whole school and wider community of stakeholders. We now have an embedded robust system across the whole school that equips children not only for the next stage of their education but for their role in the wider world in the future. Without learning the essential skills, we strongly feel that our curriculum provision would not be complete because children do not only need curriculum qualifications but essential life skills in order to succeed. More recently, on a day trip to an outdoor activity centre, both a Governor and an instructor commented on the children's ability to both communicate effectively and work as a team to solve a variety of challenges. Staff and Governors have fully engaged in bench marking themselves. They speak favourably about how this has helped them to progress in their own roles be it as a Governor or a school staff member. Teaching/support staff profile themselves for their performance management and feel that this helps them to celebrate and identify areas of personal development.
Keep it simple
Pupils, teachers and parents are fully informed about the essential skills because they feature on long term plans across the school. There is a dedicated webpage on our website and parents are informed termly on newsletters about which skills their child is currently learning. In each classroom, the essential skills symbols are displayed at the front off the classroom so that they can be reinforced in all lessons. A weekly award assembly recognises the skills in practice for all pupils. Governor's are also involved. They and the staff, have profiled themselves using Benchmark. This feeds into Performance Management discussions. School policies including the behaviour policy and our aims and values feature the essential skills.
Start early, keep going
After featuring on long term plans, the essential skills are taught weekly in dedicated skills builder sessions. This happens from Foundation Stage to Y6. Visual displays are prominent in each classroom featuring the skills being taught that half term as well as the step being covered. These are referred to throughout not only the Skills Builder lessons but all areas of school life. Parents are informed termly of their child's skills builder development through newsletters which have a link to to the Parent Zone area of the skills builder Hub.
Measure it
Part of our fundamental values as a school is that each member of staff knows our children well. Staff use the skills builder assessment system along side their knowledge of the children to plan, prepare and deliver sessions set at an appropriate level to each individual child. Because staff teach all subjects to all of their class, they can reinforce the skill being taught into all other lessons. Parents are informed about their child's Skills Builder development in the end of year school report.
Focus tightly
All pupils are involved in weekly focussed teaching sessions of the Skills builder programme. These skills are also highlighted and reinforced across all other areas of the curriculum. Steps are visibly displayed on the classroom wall.
Keep practising
The essential skills are woven throughout the whole curriculum. Staff know the steps being taught as well as previous steps and they look for opportunities to embed them in real life situations both across the school setting and in other curriculum activities. During the last year, after school clubs such as Drama and PE, have also mentioned the essential skills. Staff have discussed the step being focused on with the after school club leader so that all opportunities can be exploited to use them. Visitors to school have also been briefed. Ie a visit from Asda about HGV safety also mentioned how the Asda employees use some of the essential skills in their daily job. Our children partake in a project week each term. This is where children undertake their own learning and present their work at the end of the week. As part of the evaluation at the end of the week, children discuss the essential skills they have used.
Bring it to life
In the Autumn and Summer term, all children across the school partake in two skills builder project days. We use a mixture of challenges and projects to facilitate this. Additionally during the last year, we had a focus on jobs and careers where parents discussed their own roles and responsibilities within their work. We asked them to include how they use the essential skills in their role and displayed this in a communal area. Finally, we link the skills to real life situations through our residential visit and forest school days during the summer term.
What's next
As Skills Builder is fully embedded within our school, we will be continuing to further strengthen this. We have an ECT joining in September and we will be training her to teach and apply the skills across her teaching. We also intend to continue to promote the skills in wider curriculum opportunities.
Yorkshire and the Humber
United Kingdom