We joined Skills Builder in 2021 and achieved Gold within our first year. Our 'Skills Champion' has over 5 years experience working in partnership with Skills Builder and has implemented and embedded skills-based practice successfully at Millbrook. In the past 2 years, the Skills Builder programme has had a significant impact on our pupils, the school, and its wider community. Pupils aspire to be and do more, broadening their horizons and experiences beyond the school gate, and considering careers which may have been previously unheard of. In a deprived, and multi-cultural demographic, skills-based language is shared, and there is a shared sense of ownership over the programme. This means that every pupil thrives through their achievement of skills in every lesson and through our community and employer links!
The Skills Builder programme has had a significant impact on the school, and its wider community. Pupils aspire to be and do more, broadening their horizons and experiences beyond the school gate, and considering careers which may have been previously unheard of. In a deprived, and multi-cultural demographic, skills-based language is shared, and shared sense of ownership over the programme means that every pupil thrives through their achievement of skills in every lesson. Headteacher (Kirsty Osman) said: Skills Builder provides our pupils with the appropriate language necessary to unlock a world of opportunity. Skills are embedded, celebrated and are accessible for all ? enabling all pupils to aspire beyond their current means. Skills Leader (Natalie Tranter) said: The Skills Builder programme, and its ever-growing community of champions, provide all children with the language necessary to access, and achieve in a vast range of careers that were once unheard of. We believe that the Skills Builder programme provides children with skills for life, skills that will unlock future aspirations and opportunities in our ever-changing world.
The essential skills are embedded within the teaching and learning at Millbrook, and its wider community. All of our classrooms have interactive Skills Builder displays and the visual representation and language of skills are a key feature across school - in our curriculum design and delivery, assemblies, workshops, employer events and through parental and community engagement. By using a shared language of skill, and placing a great emphasis on its visual representation in school, the programme has gained prominence and there is a sense of shared ownership in its use by staff, pupils and the wider community. We also use the icons within our curriculum planning. Every lesson contains a skill step or objective that is explicitly taught and assessed. Our curriculum design is written with skill statements assigned, and are written into each subjects long-term and medium-term plans - enabling staff to provide consistent reinforcement and assessment of skill in every lesson.
Through a carefully planned curriculum, skills and future employability feature heavily and essential skills are taught with purpose and consistency. Our Medium Term Plans and lesson delivery centre on skill, with some learning objectives written with a skill focus. This has been particularly relevant in core subjects such as Maths and Reading, but has cascaded into all Wider Curriculum subjects. In every lesson, our subject PowerPoints reference significant individuals to make relevant connections between the lesson objectives and future employment. All pupils participate in Project Week and Challenge Days. This starts with our 2-year-olds in Nursery - reinforcing skill-based language at the earliest age, and making natural connections between the curriculum and the essential skills. Our Upper Key Stage 2 pupils participate in regular employer events, attend our annual Careers Fair and work with subject-based employers - e.g. engineers, authors, musicians and sports coaches.
Subject leaders map the essential skills to ensure explicit reference within their curriculum subject; however, teachers take overall responsibility for the skill step taught which is in line with ongoing assessment and skill reflection. As a RWI school, the speaking and listening skills are used daily by EYFS and KS1 and are referenced through visual icons. Kidz Cove offers before and after school childcare for Millbrook pupils in a safe and welcoming environment. This is facilitated by support staff, who reference the essential skills. The same happens in sport and music clubs facilitated by staff. All teacher led clubs provide opportunities for students to practise the skills. In 2022-23, we have increased the number of external employers delivering subject-specific teaching and clubs. For example, coding within ICT, musicians delivering choir, sports coaching from Shrewsbury Town, cooking and nutrition implementing a tuck shop and journalists delivering a newspaper club.
Through daily reference to significant individuals, project week, employer visits and our Careers Fair, pupils have planned opportunities throughout the academic year to bring their skills to life. Within each lesson, consistent skill rehearsal and practise enables them to apply their essential skills with intent during our additional provision offer. This extends to our school councillors and prefects who are keen to demonstrate their leadership in upper KS2. We recognise that skills-based language is beneficial to learning, but can often support pupils beyond the academics and this has been recognised through celebrations and achievements.
In 2023-2024, we plan to invite schools from our local area to join our skills partnership for the Careers Fair. We also want to increase Skills Builder profile through visual merchandise - e.g. banners, flags - so that all employers that we work with can reference the programme in their workplace to increase the number of employer partners working with the school and the Skills Builder programme.