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Guardian Angels Catholic Primary School

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Guardian Angels Catholic Primary School
Our school is a one-form entry school based in Birmingham, with an additional bulge class currently in Y6. We have worked with Skills Builder for nearly 6 years now and have really embedded this into our whole-school curriculum and school life. We first became involved with Skills Builder to help raise the aspirations of our students whilst developing skills that will be transferable through the next stages of their educational journey and beyond into the workplace.
Overall impact
We have continued to develop the essential skills across the year in many different ways and continue to further embed the teaching of skills into our curriculum. We have looked to further engage our wider-school staff and highlight the importance of the skills and the vital role each person can play. With more opportunities to go out on trips and engage with our local community, the children have had even more chances to develop their skills in different contexts. By recognising the development of skills as a fundamental part of life at Guardian Angels, we have been able to introduce the expanded Skill Passports (for Staying Positive and Aiming High) as class-based interventions. In the short time that they have been used, the Passports have been able to help children rebuild essential skills linked to cooperative play and self-esteem. This in turn has had a positive impact on these children's learning and relationships with their peers. By further involving wider-school staff in the development and building of the essential skills, we have also allowed the children to maximise their ability to take part in activities that contribute to their skill development. New equipment in the playground - stages, den building, and an outdoor library - have all had a positive impact on children's Problem Solving, Creativity and Teamwork skills.
Keep it simple
Throughout the year, we have been continuing to evaluate and update our practice here at Guardian Angels. We are forever trying to increase awareness of the essential skills for all our stakeholders. We moved to teaching focus skills in pairs starting with Listening and Speaking as we identified that our children often need extra support with their language and reading skills. Having the pairs of skills taught as whole-school focuses allows for consistency and continuity across year groups and for whole-school introductions and assemblies based around the skills. Lunchtime staff have had one-page overviews and skill tokens to award to children. These are then fed back to class and contribute to our whole-school reward system. Pupil Skills Champions are involved in the identification and rewarding of skills, by giving stickers and certificates to their class mates. This is turn helps promote discussion about the skills with parents.
Start early, keep going
We allow for teachers to teach a minimum of two discrete skills lessons from the Skills Builder Hub each half term; these lessons are based on our focus skills which change each half term. In the final term, teachers then take ownership over which skills to revisit in the summer term, based upon the needs of their class. Classes facilitate lesson-time projects which are delivered in classes mixed across the phases e.g. Year 5 and Year 6 mix for their project. Since the summer term, there has been a termly skills builder newsletter that is sent to parents to help continue to develop the awareness and engagement with the eight essential skills at home.
Measure it
Using the dashboard on the Skills Builder Hub, the skills leader adjusts classes so that teachers do not have to baseline each year. Children are able to continue to build and develop their skills from where they left off the previous year. Teachers update the skills builder dashboard at least half-termly to reflect progress that has been made and to identify any gaps that may need to be revisited.
Focus tightly
All classrooms have a dedicated display to the essential skills that includes the logos and the expanded skill steps for the relevant year groups. We have moved to use the expanded skill passports for Staying Positive and Aiming High as class-based interventions for our SEND pupils and pupils that need support with their emotions and social interactions. We regularly check in with our pupils to capture their voice. Each class has a pupil Skills Champion - from Year 2 upwards - to help the class teacher identify and reward the skills when they are demonstrated. We use our Hub reports to monitor teachers engagement with Hub resources and dashboard adjustments each half term.
Keep practising
Teachers nearly always refer to the skills in all lessons and the individual skill steps are including in our foundation books to help children make links between their curriculum work and the skills. Key vocabulary for the essential skills has been pushed with staff outside of the classrooms (e.g PE coaches and lunchtime staff) to ensure that children have constant opportunities to develop their skills in a range of contexts. Teachers have begun to use window displays to further promote the language with parents and other staff whilst children are out on the playground. At the end of the summer term, our Year 6 children began using the Skills Builder Coaching Handbook to deliver mini-sessions to Year 3 and Year 4 children at lunchtimes.
Bring it to life
Projects are completed in phase groups. As we re-establish our links in the parish and local community, our children take part in our Parish Teas that involve our local pensioners. The children will often present a project that they have been working on in class such as the Easter Bonnet Parade. Children also develop their skills through our Lenten charity activities where children work in their class teams to create fundraising ideas and then run this for other classes throughout the week.
What's next
Our next steps include further promoting the skills that have been embedded into our curriculum by using skill stamps as part of our marking and feedback with the children. We also want to increase parental engagement through our curriculum workshops and have a further push on the parent portal. We are looking at holding pupil celebration events such as art evenings and performances throughout the year as extra-curricular opportunities to develop skills.
West Midlands
United Kingdom