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Falla Park Community Primary School

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Falla Park Community Primary School
Falla Park Community Primary School is in a area of high deprivation. We have high pupil premium numbers and rising numbers of children with Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language too. The school is an average-sized primary school. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for support through the pupil premium is well above the national average. Many of the families do not work and this is an ongoing thing throughout many generations. Due to the area of the school and the issues people in the area face, we were involved in the Primary Careers Pilot and as a part of this development we decided to develop children's essential skills to support this. Children lack in essential skills and any support in this area was going to support our work and the outcomes for the children in our care. As a member of staff that has been in the school a long time, I know that we have tried things like this before. I hoped for better results from an Skills Builder to support the staff and the pupils to develop these skills.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has been essential in developing the skills of the children as well as teachers and teaching assistants through CPD. The whole year of activities has supported every role in school to develop at the same time and at a pace that is sustainable. Making this a school priority has also supported this area and the Senior Leadership Team and governors have had a good developing understanding of the programme through the training, governor reports and the teaching of the skills in lessons. Overall the impact has been huge. The children are talking to me about their skills development, and children and staff know what skills they are strong in and where they need to work on. The whole school approach has been a success to embed the skills into the curriculum. All this work, and the supportive staff at Skills Builder, has made the whole process easy for me as a lead teacher within school. The training structure to this year's programme meant that staff implemented aspects at different stages of the year - making it easier to do in the smaller steps. Parents are getting to know the skills too and links to essential skills and job searches have involved the wider community in the work we are doing.
Keep it simple
To keep it simple, all staff were introduced to Skills Builder through the training provided by Skills Builder Partnership. This was in manageable steps and the staff were not given too much to do at each step. All classes were given the symbols for each skill to be displayed in every classroom. Symbols displayed in other areas of school supported the discussions in school around the focus skill to be developed each term/ half term through all year groups. As part of our Careers and Aspirations Booklets, I included the skills and steps for reference and easy assessment as the children move through school. Each week, children were given certificates in assemblies led by the head teacher. This kept Skills Builder and the skills focus in everyone's minds. All staff being involved meant all staff were able to recognise and reward children when demonstrating a skill.
Start early, keep going
All classes have had direct teaching of essential skills. In nursery, we have focused on a few of the skills - Listening and Staying Positive being the main ones. Throughout the rest of the school, the staff and children have worked on skills each term and half term to develop throughout the year. Parents have been involved through our social media and Class Dojo apps. As part of our rewards on Class Dojo, staff have made the skills part of the feedback and have rewarded children for showing the skills each week. This information also goes to parents and carers each term, and the skills we are working on have are shared with the community via social media.
Measure it
Staff have been using the Skills Builder Hub assessment tool to assess the class at the start and the end of their topics. Progress is evident across the school. Pupil voice has been supported as part of continued development - children have been able to talk to staff and myself about the skills and their progress too. Children are eager to know the next skill that we are going to develop. Children also have their individual assessment tools in their Careers and Aspirations Booklet. These are discussed together with staff and shared with next teachers, new schools and parents in parental meetings. Children in some classes have also done individual needs analysis of the skills and looked at their strengths and areas to develop from their findings.
Focus tightly
At the start of a new skill introduction, staff use the online resources to assess then deliver lessons at an appropriate step for their children. These lessons are then developed and supported in the follow up work and discussions over the term and activities to support the skills step. The inclusion of weekly assemblies supports this as children and staff continue to think about this over the term. Children are supported in different ways in the classroom as appropriate. Careers Days make sure all staff plan and teach skills development, and staff are given time in the timetable to do this. This has been important as class timetables are tight and support to give opportunities is a must. PSHE includes Careers and essential skills development throughout.
Keep practising
Careers Days throughout the year ensure there is time given to the children and staff to develop their essential skills; all children to take part in activities and lessons for the skills they are developing at the time. Skills development is now in all curriculum planning documentation, showing links to the skills that can be developed through activities we are already doing. Skills Builder also is forms part of the Careers and Personal Development curriculum planning for whole school development. After-school clubs now have laminated sheets to show skills that could be developed and an instruction sheets to support. Visitor support sheets are also used to help model the language they should use with pupils.
Bring it to life
Career Days activities look closely at the skills people use in their jobs and in the world of work - children look at skills demonstrated and analyze these. These include visits and visitors. Our Careers and Personal development curriculum plan makes sure opportunities and events are happening every term are appropriate to every class and touch upon all 8 essential skills. Being part of extra curricular activities in Design Technology and Science support this area too. For example, year 4 and 5 children have taken part in a STEM challenge with Beamish - Crank it Up; essential skills have been developed throughout and the children have visited the building site next to the school to link to real life experiences, before using their essential skills to build their own cranes using construction kits.
What's next
As we continue into the new academic year, our priorities are to continue to embed the skills into our every day teaching and curriculum areas, look at what worked well this year and what we need to change (through staff meeting discussions and feedback) and trying to involve the parents more in our work on essential skills. I intend to look at the report formats for the children at the end of the year and include Skills Builder in some way - making essential skills an important area to give feedback to parents about their children and ways to support them further. Challenge Days looking at particular areas and skills will also be used in the coming year to support classes and children where needed.
North East England
United Kingdom