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Looe Community Academy

This content was written by
Looe Community Academy
We are a small secondary school in Cornwall that is part of a small MAT. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds but we have many students who do not have the aspirations to move away from Cornwall. Our aim was to help students see the link between subjects and their future pathways and how skills learnt in these subjects can support their decision and choices.
Overall impact
Students can recognise their own skills and how they use them in class. For example, asking students to show you they are listening, they will now look forward at the teacher and stop talking. Staff are using consistent language with students and in more than just the classroom. This means that students are seeing that what they do in one classroom can be transferred to another. Primary students are coming to us in year 7 knowing some of the skills they have been using and ready to show how good they are already. They understand what these skills means so we can now move forward and build on these instead of teaching and explaining what they mean. Parents are becoming familiar with our terminology and know how to find out how to help children use these. One highlight was when we took students to Cornwall skills show. They had a card they had to carry around the stalls and it had all the skills on there. they had to state which stall/activity they used each skill, then enter a competition. When given the card one student said- we use these skills at school, i know these. Another highlight was seeing the options booklet with all the skills shared with parents, Some parents told me it really helped their children to choose what they wanted to do as they thought their child was creative or good at problem solving so it help understand the subjects.
Keep it simple
The essential skills are explicitly referenced in our teaching and learning policy, as well as in our half termly focus, each subjects' mid-term planning and their summary documents. The skills are used and developed in co-curricular clubs options booklet. Each subject highlights top 3 essential skills, for parents and students. During Transition Day, departments offer activities to feeder primaries with skills links and Year 6 students are awarded with certificates that recognize their skills. Additionally, our Positive Futures Evening display posters of the skills they will be developing. Parents were also shown these. Our key to success evening shared a presentation with KS3 parents about how to support their child at secondary school with their essential skills. Training shared on MAT (SMART) INSET day about how Looe uses skills throughout the community. We host regular assemblies to promote skills and showcase how students are using them across the academy. A careers newsletter is sent to all parents with explanation of Skills Builder and links to the platforms. Our reward system, Satchel:One, allows teachers to award each skill.
Start early, keep going
Tutors assess tutor groups at start of a half term on the focus skill. For the next weeks (once per week) of the half term tutor delivers lesson on that skill at the level for the tutor group from the Hub.
Measure it
Tutors make initial assessment on the Hub at the beginning of the half term on the focus skills, the reassess at the end of the half term. Email reminders are sent to staff to remind them to reassess students each half term. Our Year 9 Options day workshop allows students to assess themselves on Benchmark.
Focus tightly
Teaching and learning policies and personal development requires all teaching staff to deliver skills in tutor time on a weekly basis. They are explicitly taught using Hub lessons and regular monitoring on the Hub assessment tool. Subject curriculum summaries focus on an essential skill each half term and how to develop this skill within their lessons.
Keep practising
Summary documents for each subject show how they will use focus skills within schemes of learning and lessons/extra-curricular clubs give additional opportunity to develop skills, with the requirement for 2023/24 for each extra-curricular club to focus on up to 3 skills to develop and reward with house points and certificates for developing and using these skills. An extra-curricular booklet will be shared with parents and students for all students to choose what club or activity they are going to take part in each half term. Additional reflections happen half way through the year to allow students to reflect on how they have used the skills and how they can set targets for the rest of the year. PSHCE lesson specifically assess the development of skills each half term.
Bring it to life
During Year 11 Positive Futures evening, students are spoken to about the skills they would develop when selecting their options, with posters up around the hall to explicitly refer to. Their CV workshops used the Universal Framework skill steps to help construct CVs. Year 11 had mock interviews whereby the employers were given the a background information sheet on the essential skills beforehand. Students prepared about how they can, in particular, develop their speaking and listening skills. Year 10 work experience- students complete a work experience booklet with reference to each skill for them and the employer to reflect on. Those who did not find a placement in Year 10 had in-school work experience where they would complete 2 virtual work experience modules from the Skills Builder Hub. For our Year 9 students, we ran a creative careers day that had skills objectives to meet by both staff and outside employers. Year 8 STEM day used the Climate Change and Future Transport Challenge Days, and students reflected on their use of their skills throughout. Year 7 took part in the Cornwall Skills Show and students recorded activities on Careerpilot with the skills that they used throughout the day.
What's next
To increase the use of skills outside of subject lessons. Extra curricular activities all have a skills focus and students will start to assess their development in these activities as part of their regular reflection of their progress in all aspects of school life. To work with the feeder primaries to help recognise and develop skills for primary students
South West England
United Kingdom