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Secondary

Hugh Christie School

This content was written by
Hugh Christie School
Context
We are a non-selective secondary school that have above average disadvantaged students who all benefit from the extra skills that the accelerator framework provides. Our aim is to give pupils the edge when leaving us and believe that these essential skills are just as important as academic success for them to make it in the world and enhance their future career paths.
Overall impact
Following the pandemic these skills have been really valuable. A highlight was during an off timetable Skills Builder Challenge Day witnessing the children deliver presentations, especially when they were not keen was remarkable. Many students worked outside their comfort zones and gained a lot from the experiences. With many departments starting to use the programme within their development plans and units of work has highlighted the importance throughout the school. We have seen impact amongst the pupils through their confidence and participation in a range of activities otherwise daunting for them.
Keep it simple
We recognise the value of essential skills: We demonstrate that achievement in the essential skills are valued alongside academic achievement. We develop the essential skills as part of our strategic planning and policy development. All departments have elements of the skills built into their department learning journeys and policies when it comes to planning lessons. Assemblies are undertaken to embed the skills to whole year groups. Stickers have been produced for the majority of teachers who recognise and reward student effort and achievement in relation to essential skills.Posters are on display throughout the school to give visual clues to the students with these also included on PowerPoints and assessment material.
Start early, keep going
All year groups and classes have regular and planned opportunities for the learning and practising of essential skills through weekly tutor time activities and two Skills Builder days included within the school calendar to assess the Skills through project based learning. This model has been in place for two years now and is proving successful and valued by the children.
Measure it
Majority of teachers regularly use formative assessment to prioritise and inform the teaching of essential skills through the hub or alternative format designed by the Skills Leader. There are more teachers who use their judgement in some of these assessments and forward planning.
Focus tightly
There is dedicated time available to teach essential skills during tutor time and challenge days. The majority of teachers our teachers engage in focused and explicit teaching of essential skills through their lessons and tutor time activities. Pitching of teaching at an appropriate level is evident through lesson observations and tutor time drop-ins.
Keep practising
We do ensure that the language of essential skills is being used across the whole school with common shared standards. We do include visual cues and reminders to encourage teachers to make reference to skills in other parts of their teaching. For example, we do have the essential skills posted up on the walls in the classrooms, and within the student planner. We do also build in the expectation that essential skills will be reinforced in the design of lesson plans and curriculum planning. Our written curriculum makes reference to opportunities for practicing essential skills across all subjects.
Bring it to life
We do make provision for all students to have experiences to apply essential skills. we do include two project-based learning, off-timetable days, to undertake either a Challenge Day or project as well as employer encounters through Work Experience for Year 10 & 12 with workplace or university visits in Years 8 & 9. Some students do use opportunities to apply and develop their skills outside school, for example, we run a Leadership Diploma in Year 9 that has many crossed links with the Skills Builder Framework.
What's next
Review the consistency throughout the school and look to imbed the framework more deeply and sustain the positive approach so far. We would want to give the children more opportunities outside the classroom as part of extra-curricular approaches and provision by linking the skills to clubs that may be running.
South East England
United Kingdom