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All-through

Jameah Academy

This content was written by
Jameah Academy
Context
Jameah Girls Academy is a highly successful independent girls Islamic school, founded in 2001. The Academy aims to embody intellectual and spiritual development of our pupils from primary up until the end of secondary. At Jameah Girls Academy we are passionate about educating young British women and enabling their contribution to the wider community, building the essential skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their personal and professional lives. We have been working with the Skills Builder Partnership for the past few years to do just that. We have had a whole school focus on embedding the essential skills throughout all aspects of school life. This has ensured that the language of essential skills is being used across the whole school and students are being given a wide range of opportunities to develop these skills and have been rewarded for showcasing these essential skills within their studies.
Overall impact
The accelerator+ Programme has supported our aim to create a balance education in a joyful and purposeful environment. All staff are aware of the importance of the essential skills and create time within the curriculum for our students to learn the skills. Teachers enjoy using the resources and find the Hub user friendly and resources are easy to adapt to incorporate into a lesson. We have benefitted greatly from the flexible support from our education associate, working on our strategy, making references to the skills in our policy and ensuring skill steps are mapped across the curriculum. Our students are confident when talking about their own essential skills, and using the skills in a range of settings, this was apparent in our virtual trip which has been a highlight of our Skills Builder programme.
Keep it simple
We have built awareness of the essential skills amongst our pupils by embedding Skills Builder across our curriculum; with dedicated explicit teaching of the skills in all subjects, non-explicit mention of skills learnt in lessons, clubs, assemblies and extra curricular activities that take place in school. We have visual cues doted around our school to remind pupils of the essential skills through whiteboard icons in all classrooms. We have made parents of pupils in our school aware of Skills Builder through our half-termly newsletter where we mention the skill we are focusing on as well as posting regular reminders on our parent communication platform on how they can support at home. For parents who wish to enroll their children into the school, our Skills Builder Partnership was showcased in our Open Day. We have built confidence in our staff to teach the essential skills by carrying out internal CPD sessions, regular emails with tips and enrolling them onto Skills Builder courses.
Start early, keep going
We began coverage of the Skills Builder Framework with our secondary department through explicitly teaching the short lessons on the Hub. However, after reading and researching insights into the importance of building essential skills from a young age, we expanded our coverage to all pupils, from our youngest pupils in primary to our oldest in secondary. We did this by creating an internal spreadsheet mapping out each skill on the hub and assigning it to a subject for each year group, depending on their age and skill development. Pupils were also given the opportunity to record examples of skill coverage in passports. Students also took part in a fun and engaging challenge day, for the whole school to work together and build their essential skills.
Measure it
All teachers assess students on the hub before and after the delivery of an explicit Skills Builder lesson, this assessment is also used to prioritise and inform the teaching of the essential skills. Using teacher training sessions, and the online teacher training modules on the hub, all staff are aware of the universal framework and the steps for progression. As the skills builder leader, I regularly monitor the hub reports, to ensure that teaching and assessment is consistent across the school. Students also use the passports to self-assess. This self-assessment, alongside conversations with the teacher, forms part of our assessment process. In order to motivate students, assessments are used to reward students through verbal feedback in class and certificates from the hub in end of term assemblies. Subject Teachers also have access to an internal tracking document which prioritises and informs the next steps and any areas for development.
Focus tightly
All teachers provide students with regular opportunities to practice the skills depending on the focus for that term. Staff use the internal spreadsheet as a reminder of which skills need to be addressed during that lesson, with hyperlinks that take teachers directly to the step on the Hub. Teachers use short lessons on the hub to explicitly teach the essential skills and then update the progress of the students in accordance with principle 3. The priority of teaching the essential skills is increased by timetabling them across the curriculum. SLT are aware of the workload of teachers, however the fully resourced lessons on the Hub have reduced this. Our English Teacher said, "Skills Builder did not add to my workload, as an overview was created and lessons were preplanned." We have planned a challenge day from the Hub that will be carried out across the school at the end of the academic year as it focusses on steps 0 to 9, and is differentiated to meet the individual needs of our students. The challenge day will allow staff and students to focus tightly on the essential skills.
Keep practising
Students apply the essential skills throughout the school by having direct links through the wider curriculum . This is done using the skill icon stickers from the hub for topic title pages and classwork. Students are also given the opportunity to record examples of when they have demonstrated progress in essential skills in the skill passports . Students take part in a variety of lunchtime clubs where they can practice specific steps, such as step 9 in speaking in debate club. In cooking club they apply creativity and problem solving steps. These clubs are chosen by the seniors leaders in our school to plug any gaps that the students may have in their essential skills. For business studies, students run an internal café for their fellow students at lunch time. To fund this venture, students requested investment from our governors, through a launch presentation. The essential skills they will practice were mentioned in this launch.
Bring it to life
As a faith-based school, spiritual and academic success is at the forefront of our school ethos so developing essentials skills to succeed is paramount. We give our students different experiences with employers and external organizations to see how essential skills can be used in wider life. Our year 10 pupils took part in a virtual trip in which they designed and pitched workplace inventions to employees at the Crown Estate. Start Up Success will be used as our challenge day for all pupils in our school to apply the essential skills learnt throughout the year. As seen on our twitter page, pupils took part in an employer encounter, step into the NHS, giving the students the opportunity to explore careers in healthcare. All pupils were given the opportunity to take part in a voluntary litter pick around our local area, demonstrating the impact of the essential skills on the wider community. In addition, our KS4 students are encouraged to reflect on their essential skills whilst on work experience.
What's next
We are confident that the 6 principles are embedded across the school and we have maximized the use of our flexible support. We are proud of the achievements we have made over the past 2 years and are excited to use the digital membership next year to support our teaching of the essential skills to our students. As part of my role next year, I will use the universal framework to support our gifted and talented pupils to be challenged appropriately.
East Midlands
United Kingdom