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Little Common School

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Little Common School
Little Common School is a large three form entry primary school in East Sussex. We got involved with the Skills Builder Accelerator programme to allow our pupils the opportunity to catch up on these key skills which may have been missed during the pandemic, The skills link very closely with our own school values and therefore we were able to offer further opportunities for the children to work on their resilience, creativity and social skills. Skills Builder has allowed us to connect with the community and offer learning experiences from a range of different career roles and visits.
Overall impact
The Skills Builder Accelerator programme has given our staff the opportunity to really focus on those essential skills for our children and allowed them to understand the importance of these skills for their future. Children have a good understanding of why it is important to be a good listener and be able to solve problems, they can understand how being creative can help us in the future and are very aware of the importance of being positive about themselves and others.
Keep it simple
Essentials skills are displayed in all classrooms as well as a further display in the corridor. The skills are referred to during most lessons and across all curriculum areas. We have focused on two skills each term during our explicit Skills Builder teaching, however, as all of the skills have been interweaved into our curriculum, there have been further opportunities to practice the additional skills. Children are rewarded with skills stickers for showing great use of the skills and weekly challenges from Homezone are sent home via our newsletter for children to continue practicing their skills at home.
Start early, keep going
At the start of our Skills Builder journey, we decided to involve years 1 to 6. However, EYFS was involved in the staff training and lots of opportunities have been provided for our EYFS children to practice the essential skills. Across the school, we have focused on the same skills each term, using the Hub for ideas and our teachers own skills knowledge to deliver explicit lessons once a week. These skills are fundamental to the children's learning and their future lives so they have been a priority to incorporate across our curriculum. Parents have been informed of the focus skills each term from our newsletter and each year groups homework menu has included a skills builder task.
Measure it
The Skills Builder Hub assessment tools have been used to measure the progress of the children. We started our year by completing initial assessments for each of the skills; these have then been updated as each skill has been explicitly taught. Measuring the skills in this way has allowed each teacher to understand the needs of their class and focus their skills teaching as required.
Focus tightly
Skills are explicitly taught in dedicated lessons each week, allowing the children time to practice their skills at the right level for their class. The Hub has given teachers ideas for lessons and was used to incorporate focused lessons on to their medium term plans. Teaching of the essential skills has been threaded into our curriculum and therefore as well as this dedicated time, children are given opportunities to practice their skills in all curriculum areas. Staff meetings and training has allowed us the chance to share ideas and provide examples of way to teach the essential skills.
Keep practising
Our school curriculum allows us to practice the essential skills daily with reference made to the skills in most lessons. Skills icons are displayed on our lesson slides and key questions within lessons allow opportunities for the children to practice their skills. All staff have received Skills Builder training so these skills are not just being worked on in the classrooms but also during our PE lessons, break time, extra-curricular clubs and wrap around care. Our team are exceptional at finding opportunities for children to practice their essential skills throughout the school day.
Bring it to life
We have provided our children with opportunities in all year groups to not only use their essential skills but also to see how they can help them within their future life and career. External visits and trips have taken place across the school, ranging from EYFS practicing their essential skills in role play using Tinystreet to having talks and visits from the fire brigade, police and seeing how the skills can be used in the community. All year groups have been on trips this year and staff have found opportunities to make the skills explicit during these visits, For example on a trip to the zoo, children were able to speak to a zoo keeper about their role and what skills they need for their job.
What's next
Our next steps for teaching the essential skills is to continue working on them across our whole curriculum. We would like to find further opportunities for the children to practice the essential skills and to see the importance of them for their future through further careers visits.
South East England
United Kingdom