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Secondary

Marden High School

This content was written by
Marden High School
Context
We initially became involved with Skills Builder due to a bid by our CIEAG lead which coincided with a project with a local (Cobalt) business park. Both of these opportunities reflected a commitment to ensuring, as well as developing students' academic and pastoral skills, that our students are ready for further study and the world of work. We feel the essential skills are important in building on 'hope, agency and leadership' for all of our learners.
Overall impact
Some of our staff have used Skills Builder essential skills as a focus of their excellence questions and then shared this with other staff through CPD. Within the Year 7 delivery of the listening skill it has been rewarding to see the literacy leaders deliver the sessions with high engagement from the students. In many cases the students have been curious about how they can develop building the other skills too.
Keep it simple
We have built the skills into many aspects of school life e.g. from their use on our 'housestyle' lesson template to using them in classroom displays and as skills students have demonstrated during our 'Marden's Got Talent!' and transition events. More explicitly we started a pilot group in Year 7 where staff could use the skills hub to assess their form group and deliver key skills during form time. For the pilot we focused specifically on the skill of 'listening.' Each form group have 'literacy leaders' who have been responsible for delivering the skills competencies to their form group.
Start early, keep going
We have a link on our website to the Skills Builder parent hub and the Head teacher has communicated this via the school newsletter. All Curriculum leads were asked to consider how they unpack the skill of listening in their curriculum areas and identify a time when this could be explicitly taught.
Measure it
The Year 7 form tutors have used the hub to measure the progress of students. This has been really insightful in terms of highlighting where students have made progress in their understanding and application of the skills. Student voice has also been interesting. Feedback from students suggested that they wanted to explore the other skills in form time which will lead into Year 8. We also used the skills as part of an evaluation of creativity and wellbeing day for Year 9. It was clear from this where students felt they had developed e.g. speaking, listening and creativity and less so for example with leadership. This provides useful feedback in terms of the impact of the day and how it may be adapted in the future to build a wider range of essential skills.
Focus tightly
The Skills Builder hub has been an excellent resource in terms building essential skills through direct instruction. Focusing tightly on listening has allowed students to build this skill. The head of Year 7 and learning mentor have also used the hub to build skill in certain pastoral areas e.g. the skill of listening when friendships may have broken down.
Keep practising
Essential skills have very much been built into the delivery of the Year 7 form time and staff sign post for students when they are using them across the curriculum. Students can see how the essential skills are built into extra curricular activities, for example, through 'Marden's Got Talent!'
Bring it to life
Working with employers at our local business park (Cobalt) has identified real life examples for students where they can see the skills at work with employers. We have used past students to create a series of videos that exemplify how these skills are used by employers. This work will be shared with students next academic year.
What's next
We have reviewed the Personal Development curriculum and next year will teach it with a focus on the Skills Builder skills. For example much of our CIAEG curriculum will be taught under 'aiming high.' Staff will specialise in key skills and unpack the essential skills alongside the curriculum skills and content. Curriculum leaders have also identified where essential skills can be unpacked alongside their curriculum. A group of staff have expressed interest in becoming Skills Builder champions and will lead some CPD on this later next academic year.
North East England
United Kingdom