Hillborough Junior is a Pupil Premium Reviewer and Lead School of a Behaviour Provision which, collectively, provides invaluable support to schools locally. Hillborough has long been a supporter of educational innovation having been both a Teaching School (until July 2021) and a Beacon School and wishes to remain at the forefront of current research and excellent practice. The school remains a CPD provider for the reorganised Teaching School Hub. Hillborough is an above average sized 7-11 three form entry junior school serving the urban community of the Farley Ward and attracting pupils from across Luton. The school is situated in a deprived urban area. The proportion of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium, EAL, SEND and Free School Meals is well above the national average. Our school vision is: To be an outstanding place of education that is mutually respected and valued by the community it serves where children thrive, aspire to excellence, and develop the habits and values required for life in an ever changing world. We carried out various research into the habits that children need to develop into rounded and confident individuals. We felt that incorporating the Skills Builder approach into our curriculum would enhance and enrich the provision we already offered. We are committed, as a school, to enable pupils to develop good habits and values for lifelong learning, happiness and success. To achieve this vision, the Skills Builder model provided the tools to explicitly teach these fundamentals. It supplemented what was already in place: an evolving PSHE syllabus; careers provision; a habits and values programme and additionally provided the essential cohesion to connect all of these aspects together.
The pupils at Hillborough Junior School are provided with the tools necessary for future employment, regardless of their socio-economic background. This is evident by the numerous correpondence that the school has received from members of the public, visitors and professional organisations. After the Year 6 visit to the London Stock Exchange for a Skills Builder Challenge day, one volunteer remarked: Students were confident speaking to adults. I would not have been able to do this at their age!? Claire deSilva, Head of Community at TESCO said, "I was blown away by the acumen of the pupils, particularly when engaging the CEO with questions." Staff have been enthused by the value of the Accelerator Programme, so much so that they have shared their opinions on Twitter and with school stakeholders. This inspired the head teacher to present to other Senior Leaders across the town about the benefits of engagng in the programme. In delivering initial teacher training, a colleague has enthused new teachers to invest in Skills Builder. There have been many highlights for all involved.
Essential skills are intrinsic to the teaching and learning of the school. All staff, including lunchtime supervisors have received additional training and are well versed in the terminology. Half-termly, pupils gather for a Skills Builder assembly, focussing on a specific skill. Teachers assess pupil competence, establishing a baseline which generates a weekly lesson. The targeted skill is embedded into curriculum plans and informs wider learning opportunities. A weekly achievements assembly celebrates pupil progress. Icon posters are displayed throughout the school. We have continued to engage parents, signposting them to Homezone through our website and by communicating through half termly Skills Builder homework assignments. Information regarding the skills is regularly shared on Twitter?and our website. End of year school reports refer to pupils utilisation of skills across the curriculum.
All pupils have regular and planned opportunities for the learning and practising of the essential skills. In addition, during weekly enrichment afternoons, we deliver an enhanced provision for an SEND group. Skills Builder steps are incorporated into IEPS, utilising the expanded framework, where it specifically benefits pupils? development. The SLT have implemented Skills Builder across the curriculum, creating opportunities for split screen teaching. Staff identify relevant starting points based on the universal framework, ensuring that delivery and content are appropriate. All pupils have the fullest opportunity to practise, develop and embed essential skills so that by the end of the key stage, they have the growth mind-set to enable them to successfully move onto the next stage of their learning journey and beyond.
Building on previous learning, staff explicitly teach skills in weekly, dedicated sessions, reflected on timetables. These are then planned to be taught contextually within areas of the curriculum. The Skills Builder framework unifies the culture and ethos of the school allowing for the interweaving of our habits and values. Via whole school assemblies, class lessons and homework exercises, chidlren have regular opportunites to build their essential skills. Pupil progress meetings evaluate the impact of the provision provided and these are commented on in end of year reports.
In order to build on the successes of the Skills Builder Programme, we hope to continue links with the London Stock Exchange and TESCO and forge other opportunities to bring the skills to life and promote the benefits to other organisations: - linking whole school writing tasks to Skills Builder Challenge Days - introduce culture books to showcase and record experiences the children enjoy that demonstrate the utilisation of aquired skills - present Skills Builder at a Teachmeet and at the Partnership Day