By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Return to Showcase
Visit website


Firs Primary School

This content was written by
Firs Primary School
Firs Academy is a multicultural school and is a two form entry school that consists of 347 students. We got involved with Skills Builder as we want the best future for our pupils. There has been literature that suggests that through using Skills Builder throughout the curriculum it can provide strong and positive outcomes for pupils in later life.
Overall impact
It has had a positive impact at Firs. This is due everyone in school feeling more confident to teach and develop the essential skills and Firs has taken a true whole school approach as we now live and breathe the essential skills throughout the day. Children have also become more confident and will independently use he language relating to the skills. For example a Year 1 child was scribbling in his book and his partner sitting next to him said, "You need to aim high when writing!". As a school we have enjoyed the Skills Builder Projects and we are all really looking forward to our Crime Scene Investigation Challenge day.
Keep it simple
We have upskilled teachers with knowledge and ideas of the essential skills through Continued Professional Development sessions for teachers.waysThis enabled teachers to share ideas and ask questions. Language is consistently used throughout the curriculum from Reception to Year 6. The essential skills are displayed in every learning environment including the hallways. Throughout the school we have now interlinked the skills with our recognition board. When children are developing well within a skill they are recognised for their achievement by moving their name up on the recognition board. A focused Skills Builder lesson is delivered on a Wednesday which focusses on a specific skill based on the assessment tracking data.
Start early, keep going
Assessment tracking gives a class overview of strengths and skills to develop. From this teachers select activities from the Skills Builder Hub or using the skill challenges to then develop skills in class. For example, Year 1 needed to strengthen Speaking and Listening so they completed a Listening challenge - share your favourite season with a friend and then had time to create a poster to present. And then in the following week, children presented what their favourite season was and why to the class. This was then further developed as children took their posters home to present to their families and then they asked their families what their favourite season was and why. We are in the process of rolling out a Skills Builder Padlet page that parents can access, complete challenges and share skills they have developed at home.
Measure it
We use the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub to monitor where each class are within each skill. This has helped inform teachers planning of what skills will need to be focused on. It has been helpful as a starting point to focus on specific skills that need developing as a class. Each teacher can see the skills that need developing more for their class and know the step within the skills that lessons need to be pitched at. This is very helpful as it supports teaching throughout the curriculum and ensure a consistent approach throughout the school.
Focus tightly
All teachers provide a Skills Builder lesson every Wednesday. This gives teachers a chance to explicitly teach essential skills that need developing for their class. This session is on every teachers timetable to ensure consistency of a focused Skills Builder lesson. As teachers use this session to develop essential skills based on the assessment on Skills Builder Hub, the teacher can pitch the lesson to match the next step needed within that skill.
Keep practising
Children are constantly encouraged to use and develop their essential skills through links to the recognition board. Children are striving to develop their skills and be rewarded for their achievements. Every classroom has the skills logos displayed where students and teachers refer to them throughout the day. For example a teacher may say, "In this lesson we will be developing our Listening skills" or the teacher may ask the children "What skills do you think you are developing or what skills are you going to be using?" We have previously used the Skills Builder Projects such as Groovy Gardeners to explore the essential skills and this year as a whole school we are holding a Challenge Day using the Crime Scene Investigation resource - this will include the whole school dressing up.
Bring it to life
We do many things at Firs, some examples would be a no pens day, creativity day, fundraising, Skills Builder Projects and Challenge days. As well as visits from the Police, Fire Service, swimming and summer fetes.
What's next
We'd like to ensure that extra curricular activities (after school clubs) refer to the essential skills. We'd also like to foster more parental involvement and link the essential skills to more workplace visitors.
West Midlands
United Kingdom