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Gilbertstone Primary School

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Gilbertstone Primary School
Gilbertstone Primary School is a two form entry school in Yardley, Birmingham. We have been involved with the Skills Builder programme for a number of years as we believe Skills Builder offers our teachers a clear framework to teach essential skills to our children. Skills Builder has enabled our children to learn lifelong skills that will help them during their time at our school, but more importantly the next stage of their lives. Our children have gained a deeper understanding of the eight essential skills and our teachers promote them at every occasion.
Overall impact
Our children use the language of the essential skills every day. They have learnt the essential steps that are needed in order to demonstrate these skills and can reflect on their ability to show these steps. Our teachers are confident with the skills and regularly refer to them with the children. We see the impact of the skills through the outcomes for our children.
Keep it simple
The essential skills are displayed in all areas of school, including our communal hall. We believe having the skills across school helps teachers to reinforce the language and skill steps with the children. Staff place additional emphasis on a different skill each fortnight and we reward children demonstrating the skills by use of celebration boards and essential skills stickers. Our weekly achiever assembly also follows this fortnightly focus and children are celebrated for demonstrating the essential skills in front of parents and carers. The skills are also promoted on our school website.
Start early, keep going
As Skills leader, I inform staff of the new skills focus for each fortnight. This skill is then promoted across school through collective worship sessions, whole school assemblies and lesson times with the children. Our class projects are completed during our curriculum weeks and the dedicated skill focus for this week is shared with parents. End of school reports also reference the essential skills demonstrated by the children throughout the school year.
Measure it
All our teachers have access to the Skills Builder hub and use the assessment tool to baseline the children at the start of the school year. This allows our teachers to prioritise skills and informs the teaching of the skills too. Teachers regularly refer to the skill step posters which are displayed in each classroom. These are also used to support when planning and reflecting on lessons.
Focus tightly
Our Skills projects are completed during our three curriculum weeks across the year. This week is used to celebrate the skill learning which has taken place over term. We complete a whole school project day every year, which is always well received by children and staff. Skill stories or short activities from the hub are completed on a fortnightly basis during collective worship sessions.
Keep practising
Children are given the opportunity to practise the essential skills every day and we give them many opportunities to apply their skills learning. Each year group has three projects planned per year and these are timetabled into our curriculum weeks. We use short lessons or discussions around the skills prior to the skills being used in the wider curriculum. For example, teachers will remind the children of the importance of presenting ideas clearly prior sharing ideas in D&T or how teamwork should look within a PE lesson. New medium term plans are being developed for our afternoon subjects with the view to weaving the essential skills through these.
Bring it to life
This has been more challenging in the last couple of years due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, we have still made use of year group projects and a whole school challenge day. We have shared the essential skills with our external providers and they have begun to use these in after school sports sessions. Prior to restrictions, our children took part in several employee visits. Projects are completed during off timetable days.
What's next
Moving forward, we plan to fully embed the essential skills across our curriculum by weaving them into our medium term plans. This will further strengthen the delivery of the skills and support all learners in developing them. Most of our teachers complete a baseline assessment to prioritise the right resources for the children. However, this is not always completed on a half-termly basis. This has partly been due to broken years within school but it will be essential, as skills leader, to monitor this going forward in order to ensure children are being taught the correct skills at the right time.
West Midlands
United Kingdom