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Grange Primary School

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Grange Primary School
Grange Primary School is based in Hartlepool. We are fully committed to ensuring each and every child achieves their full potential, through a fun, enjoyable and exciting school experience. We are an additionally resourced school, which caters for the needs of children with Physical and Medical needs and children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and have a commitment to inclusion. Our school's motto, "Grow, Persevere, Succeed, Be the best that you can be," reflects the high standards we have for ourselves and run through our values of: teamwork, resilience, passion, kindness, care and compassion, respect, honesty, self-belief and self-awareness. At Grange, we understand the value of preparing our students for future success and employment, and we work to provide every student with the encouragement, support, and self-assurance they need to realise their full potential. We understand that success in life is linked to the ability to creatively solve problems, to self-manage, to communicate and to work well with others. We have adopted and embraced the Skills Builder Framework in order to promote the development of these talents through a common approach to the eight essential skills students will require for the workplace. The Skills Builder approach is embedded throughout school life from Nursery to Year 6 and key terminology is used consistently across school. The explicit teaching of the skills has ensured that pupils now have a better understanding of their existing skills, how to build upon them and identify how skills are used and practised in many different settings.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has had a significant effect on education in our school, whilst being simple to follow and put into practise. Pupils are more confident in talking about their skills and have a better understanding of what each skill entails and why they are important. Staff members have expressed their appreciation for the resources' readiness for use without preparation and the concise structure of the lessons provided by the Accelerator programme, which has given them structure and tools when needed. The programme has given children the opportunity to think about how they might utilise their skills in the wider community as part of our school's termly community events. This has enhanced the overall Skills Builder experience and given the children's learning a sense of direction.
Keep it simple
At Grange, Skills Builder is part of our School Development Plan to support our Wellbeing Curriculum driver. The teaching of essential skills has been embedded into our teaching and learning policy and our school curriculum plans. The explicit teaching of skills is supported by teachers using the short videos and activities on the Hub, which promotes uniformity in skills teaching throughout the school. All classrooms have the 8 essential skills posters on display and teachers make reference to and highlight these as needed during lessons. Weekly assemblies reference the 8 essential skills so that pupils can make clear links between what they are learning and how this makes links with the wider world and future employment. Parents have been made aware of the Skills Builder programme on our school website which also makes reference to the Homezone to support learning at home.
Start early, keep going
We have embedded the essential skills across school from Nursery to Year 6. Speaking and Listening, two of the eight essential skills, have been the focus of attention in the Nursery, while all eight skills are emphasised from Reception to Year 6. Teachers in Early Years have concentrated on modelling skills and using language that fits while utilising a guide that our school developed to help the development of the skills in our Early Years provision. From Year 1 to Year 6, the emphasis has been on explicitly teaching the skills through the Hub lessons, while also supporting our school's Oracy curriculum, PSHE curriculum and Zones of Regulation approach. To compliment their different needs and abilities, the children in our SEN class have had access to explicit teaching of the skills twice weekly in incremental steps.
Measure it
At the beginning of the school year, we assessed and identified the starting points for teaching children the essential skills using the Skills Builder Hub assessment tool. At different points throughout the year, staff have updated their initial assessments to track the progress their classes have been making. Staff have been encouraged to build skills with their pupils, focusing on the areas that need the most development or to support a curriculum focus. This has helped us to ensure that opportunities to build the skills are not being lost. The children are given opportunities to discuss what a skill looks like in practise and to identify why and how they would need to use the skill in their future. In some classes, children identify the skills they think they will use at the beginning of a unit of work and link this to future careers. This is then followed up with the children identifying if they have utilised or mastered the skills at the end of a unit of work.
Focus tightly
All teachers have a weekly timetabled Skills Builder lesson which focuses on the explicit teaching of the essential skills. As a school we have been focusing on our Oracy curriculum, which meant that initially there was a natural focus on Speaking and Listening. This has really helped to develop these skills across school and ensure that the children get regular opportunities to practise them. As Skills Builder has become more established within school, teachers have been given the autonomy to focus on directly teaching the skills that need developing with their class as needed, using the assessment Hub to identify strengths and weaknesses. The essential skills have also been built into our Grange Foundation Curriculum, to highlight which skills should be taught within a unit of work.
Keep practising
We identify deliberate opportunities to practise the skills as often as possible, to supplement the explicit weekly dedicated teaching time. Pupils have been given opportunities to build their skills as part of community projects, whole school events (Queen's Jubilee celebrations/ World Book Day) and after-school clubs. Teachers have the autonomy to use natural opportunities to reinforce applications of the essential skills, using the posters as visual cues as needed. In Early Years, teachers use the posters to highlight the skills the children will be using at different points of the day, for example highlighting the Listening poster at shared story time or the Teamwork poster at tidy up time. In some classes, Class Dojo is used to give points linked to the skills. This gives children the opportunity to talk about the skills they are building at home with their parents.
Bring it to life
To build upon the Skills Builder programme and enrich skills experiences for the children in our school, we utilise a variety of school projects to support pupils awareness of how the skills relate to wider life. Every term, we have a community project which provides the children with the opportunities to make a difference within school, the local area or the wider area. Children have had employer encounters inside and outside of school, such as visits from the Police Force, Fire Brigade and local housing group. Children have also had experience visits linked to history, the local art gallery and visits to a local church as well as opportunities for residential visits. We have developed links with local businesses such as Thirteen (local housing group) and Equans to ensure that children get the opportunities to see and hear about how employers and employees use the essential skills in their everyday working lives.
What's next
Moving forward as a school, we will continue to build upon our Skills Builder experience and this will continue to form part of our School Development Plan. In order to provide children a complete understanding of developing skills throughout their lives, we will be exploring and aiming to continue to build upon the connections we have built this year with local businesses and are exploring possibilities to forge connections with local colleges. We will continue to relate the skills to real life opportunities and experiences as much as possible so that pupils can continue to understand why the essential skills matter.
North East England
United Kingdom