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Isebrook School

This content was written by
Isebrook School
Our school is a co-educational (11-18) SEND school for students with cognition and learning difficulties in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Our aim is to prepare our students for the next stage in their lives focusing on the curriculum and meeting the needs of the individual, providing tailored learning; At Isebrook we want out students to be: Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens and Successful Learners. Isebrook began to work with Skills Builder to support staff and students in identifying one Skills Builder skill to focus on over the course of two weeks, creating a fortnightly focus. Within these two weeks students are taught what the skills are and given opportunities to develop their skillset. Skills Builder continues to be a successful in recording and assessing academic yearly progress with Isebrook. Teachers and support staff gather and build evidence through pictures, observations, video clips and evidence of work. The evidence is matched to each skill to show students are making progress towards achieving the eight essential skills Isebrook felt it was imperative for the development of transferable skills is essential to succeed in education, work and life. This is even more the case in schools with students that have special educational needs. Students at Isebrook need to be actively taught skills frequently to embed learning into their long term memory and allow them to apply skills in everyday contexts. We felt Skills Builder is a very beneficial, worthwhile a meaningful for our students to develop essential skills within the school, community and work experience settings so that they can become active citizens in the wider community and future adulthood.
Overall impact
The essential skills have made a positive impact on students and staff. Staff and pupils are now engaging, enthusiastic and willing to promote Skills Builder within the delivery of learning. My biggest highlight is how students are enthusiastic to take part and take on responsibilities in attending student champion meetings and to share information across key stages. Champions wear their Skills Builder badges with pride and continue to look after these over the half terms. Champions have encouraged and ensured the correct icons are in place for our fortnightly focus, reporting back weekly. Champions review and discuss what is working well and even better if. I felt the newsletters I created made a massive impact on staff and parents, they were easy to read and supported the engagement of learning the 8 essential skills.
Keep it simple
The 8 essential skills are displayed in all classrooms, learning spaces, clubs, offices and work experience settings. They are also added to all staff desktops along with fortnightly email reminders of what skill is being referenced too. This practice encourages students and staff to consistently refer to and reflect back on. Icons are incorporated into all students' Educational Healthcare Plan reviews held with parents and pupils. To encourage consistent approach and language, we promote students and staff to become Skills Builder Champions. A Skills Builder info pack is placed on Class DoJo Parent story, this is further shared and promoted on the school website. Further awareness has been made by creating and sharing Icon focus Newsletters for parents and staff. This shares information on activities you can do within the classroom and at home to further develop the skills. A resource bank has been shared with all staff, including adapted work and in-house certificate designs.
Start early, keep going
At Isebrook School Skills Builder has been launched and promoted and taught across KS3, 4 and 5. All our pupils have access to build upon the essential skills. Isebrook have embedded The Skills Builder Focuses into the curriculum and long-term plans and further incorporate these skills during our employment week and Enterprise class projects. Isebrook is split over 4 pathways across key stages. Pathway 1 & 2 have focus lessons, Pathway 3 & 4 embed throughout the weekly timetable. Information on Dojo and school website has been shared including a parent resource share on how to use these skills at home.
Measure it
At Isebrook, students have access to a self-assessment tool where they rag rate themselves. Previously progress was tracked using the expanded frame which was broken down into smaller achievable steps using emerging, secure and proficient. Isebrook now access a program called evidence for learning and are in the process accessing further tools to measure pupils. We plan to action research evidence for learning and filter icons to see measure students learning and progression. In September, a plan has been put in place with Pathway 3 & 4 pupils to access student launchpad accounts for self-assessment and progression purposes.
Focus tightly
Skills Builder is incorporated across key stages. The Skills Builder focus is shared within lessons and build upon existing knowledge. Pupils will then take part in a recall and plenary session. Lessons include staff awarding Skills Builder house points focusing on EHCP outcomes and short steps. Staff and students record and reflect against the 8 essential skills in preparation for employment lessons and work experience programs that they access and build upon the essential skills. Student have the opportunity to attend virtual workshops, guest speakers, teaching collaboration, tolerance, resilience and self-regulation in the classroom through group/pair work. Isebrook use learning beyond the classroom taking part in off site directed adult practical activities.
Keep practising
Isebrook provides employment focus weeks across the school, identifying skills, pupils creating PPT to share ideas and deliver to other Key Stages. Staff and students prepare assemblies to discuss how Skills Builder has been used that term and take part in virtual work experience workshops provided by Skills Builder. All the essential skills are embedded across the curriculum, including extra-curricular activities such as work experience, enterprise projects, EHCP Target time on a Friday afternoon, off-site visits and community outings.
Bring it to life
Isebrook preparation for adulthood and employment curriculum is linked closely to the development of essential skills. All pupils have the opportunity to engage and work with a range of internal and external employers to further explore the essential skills in real-life contexts. Real-life opportunities include various roles of employer talks, external Job Centre mock interviews, internal person centered planning interviews, work experience tours and placements. Isebrook classes take part in designing their own Enterprise projects and present to The Dragon Team for an investment in their business idea.
What's next
Isebrook are continually striving to consolidate and build upon our successes. We plan to become more consistent when recording data, and in the next academic year we have created designated time to complete progress data, with teaching staff to use further detail when recording and tagging on evidence for learning. Staff will continue to attach evidence to frameworks which will enable filters to identify icon evidence used across the key stages and outside learning settings. We plan to launch launchpad with pathway 3 and 4 pupils and encourage further rewards and acknowledgement from staffing. This must be a regular part of building and embedding this as a culture across all settings within Isebrook.
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