Tap to open menu
The Framework
Return to Showcase
Visit website


Kingsbury Green Academy

This content was written by
Kingsbury Green Academy
Kingsbury Green Academy has a higher than average percentage of students who access pupil premium and special educational needs support. The school is based in rural North Wiltshire and is rapidly improving. Our careers vision is to Challenge - Aspire - Network and one of our strategies is for pupils to challenge and be challenged to develop their employability skills, courage and confidence, being able to articulate positively about themselves. One of our milestones is to integrate a skills framework into the school where all teachers advocate the key employability skills in their lessons and pupils are able to make links with their learning to the working world.
Overall impact
I feel that Skills Builder has brought about a common language that has connected the Careers Department with the Curriculum Departments. It has created common ground where we can talk about the same areas for development and find links to employability that can be strengthened across the school as a whole, rather than just relying on the central careers team. Skills Builder has given us a central framework where we can share experiences and outcomes and share success stories that can be then implemented in different subject areas. It has given us a way to communicate with parents to celebrate students' successes with a clear focus and familiar language. The credibility and evidence behind the essential skills has given us a confident focus that we can use to communicate with employers, who can then understand how we are trying to support the students and make them work ready. Employers are then keen to support this and use the same language, particularly when they see other organisations doing the same. A highlight is seeing teaching staff integrating Skills Builder in new ways that have come from them. For example, one teacher is using it on her board as part of her rewards system during her lessons. Another highlight was careers champions creating skills videos of themselves to put on social media, demonstrating the skills that they were honing during lockdown. This gave a positive message out to pupils, parents and the community and gave a wider Careers Team feel.
Keep it simple
All classrooms have the Skills Builder skill icon poster on the walls, plus more detailed step posters in some displays. Teachers are building the skills icons into their class lesson resources and the icons are now an official part of the Learning Cycle PowerPoint presentation template. We have a Skill of the Term focus on our newsletters that go out to parents and our employer links. Social media careers posts always highlight the relevant skills icons. As well as integrating the skills into curriculum lessons, they are integrated into our careers programme activities, such as work experience and mentoring programmes. Students have been shown skills summaries in tutor time periods and Year 8 students have completed a Challenge day. The scholars programme from Years 7 - 9 integrates Skills Builder as part of the process to gain points towards the award by developing the essential skills.
Start early, keep going
Skills Builder is introduced and then continually referred to and skills developed in the PSHE careers lessons from Year 7 - Year 13. Students set themselves targets in careers lessons, highlighting which skills they would like to work on and develop in particular. Students also develop and keep going in the other careers activities, such as Takeover Day in Year 8 and 9, work experience in year 10 and 12 and through mentoring programmes such as the Year 9 West of England mentoring with Herman Miller. For work experience, employers write on the placement details form how students can develop each of the essential skills during the placement. Parents are informed about the skills through weekly social media posts and termly newsletters that highlight the skill of the term. Also students are awarded with skills certificates that parents will see when they bring them home.
Measure it
Students reflect on their essential skills during PSHE careers lessons and determine which they would like to develop by writing an action point in their Careerpilot account. Careers Advisers, students and parents can see this action plan when it is sent out after a careers personal guidance meeting. Careers Champions are using the Skills Builder Framework to help determine the level of resources to use with their students. The Skills Builder icons and steps are incorporated into the work experience reflection booklets so pre- and post-work experience students can assess their ability and development. Employers assess the students at the end, awarding them with a Skills Builder certificate in the area that they developed the most. All feedback surveys incorporate questions about the essential skills, so we can see which students are most confident in and which they feel they would like more support to develop. This insight helps to focus the skills development plans for the following activity and future year.
Focus tightly
We have a number of programmes where the Skills Builder steps are incorporated. For example, in the West of England mentoring programme, the Herman Miller mentors are educated about the Skills Builder Framework and bring the skill development into their sessions so they can give them direct focus. In the work experience programme, students complete preparation sessions that focus on the skills modules that are at the relevant step. In the scholars programme, Year 7-9s use the skills steps to focus their development and ask for their teachers to sign off their examples when they have used the skill as described. We have specific developed documents for these programmes that integrate the relevant steps and icons. We also use the Skills Builder short lessons and summaries to focus on the skills and aid development.
Keep practising
Through curriculum lessons, the tutor programme and the careers activities, students have the chance to recognise the skills and practice them. This continues into out Sixth Form where Skills Builder development modules and reflection are being integrated into their Enrichment part of the curriculum. We have integrated a Challenge Day into our Year 8 PSHE timetable that supports building the skills through a day where they can explicitly practice them. Class PowerPoints are being updated and teachers are either referring to the skills and how to develop them, using the skills posters or via the skills icons on the learning cycle PowerPoint presentation. Students have the chance to practice them in the WEM mentoring programme and in the Key Stage 3 scholars programme, plus during work experience. We have a number of tutor sessions for careers throughout the year where key Skills Builder lesson modules are planned to help students practise the areas they find most difficult.
Bring it to life
The employers we work with are asked to integrate Skills Builder into their messages wherever appropriate. For example, in preparation for work experience, each employer spoke about one essential skill in a pre-recorded video, explaining to the students why it is so important in the workplace. They also wrote about each skill, relating it to the placement and how the student will be able to improve in this area during the placement. We are giving out Skills Builder certificates during work experience to highlight and help students to see how they are using their skills in a working environment. During our careers assemblies, employers also highlighted the skills, demonstrating how they use them in the work place. The work that students do with the mentors who work for Herman Miller, also helped the students to see adults using the skills for their jobs and how to integrate these into their CVs. During CV writing careers lessons, students focus on their skills section.
What's next
The plan going forwards is to maintain sustainability and keep up the motivation. Ensuring that this year's initiatives are cemented next year and that case studies are collected that show the impact that Skills Builder is having on our students. I plan to monitor a Year 7 tutor group and watch their progress over the next few years as a case study. The plan is to continue supporting the careers champions as they integrate Skills Builder more solidly into their departments, training up their own teams more fully and celebrating their success stories and helping with any barriers or challenges. I plan to regularly speak to students and parents to gauge how Skills Builder is filtering through and how they feel it is preparing them for the future. The challenge is to ensure that all staff members are trained, engaged and passionate about the impact that Skills Builder is having on the success of our school development plan in a really positive way.
South West England
United Kingdom