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Fairburn Community Primary School

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Fairburn Community Primary School
We had been teaching life skills for quite a few years but we were frustrated that it was not always is a focussed manner. Our children do not come to school with resilience, team work or speaking and listening skills. Not having these skills was proving a barrier to learning. Skills Builder provides a clearly structured framework in which to teach the children progressively the essential skills they will need in their future. It allows progress to be checked and evidenced by providing staff with a clear starting point as well as an defined teaching sequence.
Overall impact
The children's confidence has really improved and they are more aware of the skills to initiate conversation and actively listen. Parents are very interested in the programme and have remarked about the children's ability to speak to other adults. We are very proud of the fact that visitors to our school often comment about how polite the children are. An example of this has been a Year 6 residential day where the instructor remarked that the children had listened and responded to each other so well and better than any other group.
Keep it simple
After returning to school from lockdown, we discussed the importance of the skills specifically Speaking and Listening and how they would have a raised awareness during the return to school curriculum. Staff discussed strategies for raising awareness and parents were informed about this tin the information for the return to school plan. Displays were put up in all three classrooms showing not only the focus skill but also the remining ones so that they could be referred to within lessons. All opportunities to reinforce the speaking and listening skills have been taken by all staff at all times ie, lunchtimes, transition times and between not only staff and pupils but the pupils themselves as well.
Start early, keep going
During this last year, we have introduced Skills Builder to Year 1 and they have begun to not only have weekly focussed lessons but also an emphasis has been placed on the skills within their planning in the moment provision and supported by all staff.
Measure it
Post-it notes have been placed on displays detailing children's actions ie Macey listened carefully to other people's opinions in a class discussion. We have also used the assessment tracking system and the pupil passports so that records of achievement can be maintained. This has not only evidenced the learning but also provided a basis for future planning. A platform has been provided for teachers to pass on information to each other.
Focus tightly
We have had weekly taught sessions which have been referred to at each stage of future interactions with the children ie 'Do you remember what we learnt last week? Can you try not interrupting Sam and give him a chance to speak. Great.'
Keep practising
The skills have been referred to in Drama lessons. We have a dedicated drama teacher who is building these skills into her sessions so they can be reinforced. Other projects this term have been a DT project where the children have had to work together to agree ingredients for a smoothie recipe they are creating. The Y6 children are replicating a Greek Taverna for their parents in a meal next week which they have designed and made from scratch.
Bring it to life
Though there is a desire to apply essential skills to the wider world, this principle has not been a focus for us this year given the difficulties COVID-19 restrictions have created.
What's next
There are four next steps we would like to focus on going forward. This includes introducing the skills to Early Year Foundation Stage, incorporating the skills into after school clubs and wider community engagements, rewarding for essential skills in award assemblies and writing essential skills into the curriculum policy.
Yorkshire and the Humber
United Kingdom