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Morecambe Bay Academy

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Morecambe Bay Academy
As a school, we are passionate about a curriculum that delivers the knowledge and skills to ensure all students can confidently compete with their peers. Morecambe Bay Academy is an 11-18 school, we are dedicated to ensuring the very best life chances for all our students by equipping them with all the skills they need for future life. We chose to use the Skills Builder Accelerator programme this year to begin to build the essential skills students need to support them in later life. The programme has also been used to focus their return to normal school life following the prolonged periods of absence from school and the classroom.
Overall impact
We have begun this year with Year 7 using form time and curriculum time to incorporate the essential skills into activities. Form tutors use the resources and have reported improvement in the use of the skills and increased confidence from students using them throughout the year. The students are positive about the form time activities and see the value of them in building skills outside of the normal curriculum. Staff are becoming more consistent in their approaches to using them and finding them easier to incorporate into lessons through the sharing of good practice.
Keep it simple
We have posters up in Year 7 form rooms and in some curriculum areas. We have trained staff on the concept of using the essential skills when planning lessons where they can be easily incorporated. Year 7 students and Year 12 students have been introduced to the Skills Builder Framework. Students are rewarded by form group and given certificates in assembly.
Start early, keep going
By introducing the skills in Year 7 and building this into Year 8 next year, we are setting the expectation that these important employability skills will be built upon throughout the student's school life. We have publicised the Home Learning Hub (Homezone) to parents via the newsletter. Progress has been tracked and monitored using the Hub. Subject leaders and teaching staff have used the icons in Year 7 schemes of learning to demonstrate where an activity is using an essential skill and then this is recorded on the lesson PowerPoint or resources also.
Measure it
Form tutors have produced group level analysis with their tutor groups. The older students in Year 12 use the essential skills as a framework for the meeting they have half termly with their industrial mentors. The older students have been introduced to Benchmark and are encouraged during enrichment to complete their own assessment of skills.
Focus tightly
We have dedicated form time is set aside every week for using the resources. Each half term has focused on a different skill starting with Teamwork in Autumn to encourage the students to bond with their form and settle into secondary school. Explicit teaching has started in some curriculum areas.
Keep practising
Staff are beginning to build the language into lessons and we plan to build on this further next year to ensure greater consistency. Icons are used during lessons and in assemblies. The Year 7 group into Year 8 will continue to use the skills and build on the foundations of Year 7. Some classrooms display icons and refer to them, however we will build on this further next year and are producing some displays for all classrooms to highlight skills addressed in each lesson. Stickers are also used in some lessons and we will produce these whole school next year to encourage more staff to reward when a skill has been well used in a lesson. Next year the skills are published in the planners for Key Stage 3 so the students have a reminder of the framework with them.
Bring it to life
We have used the work experience packages with success this year for all students who needed a virtual experience when they couldn't find a placement. Coupled with some employer engagement to support with the packages for the various different industries, this ensured all students got a workplace experience. We have also used the business entrepreneur activity Start Up Success for a drop-down day with Year 8. This was to introduce the importance of employability skills and demonstrate over the course of the day how all the different skills were needed to be used for the activity. Students were able to see their own strengths and weaknesses in leading, and presenting on their business ideas. By training the industrial mentors on the framework, it has meant that our employer volunteers have been able to push the essential skills throughout the sixth form too and express the importance of their development from an employment perspective as well as from ourselves as educators.
What's next
Going forward we intend to ensure the essential skills are built into the Year 8 planning for the next academic year, using icons in planning and resources. We will produce the stickers for in-class use, to highlight to students when they have used a skill well in class. We will ensure greater consistency across departments by sharing good practice and ideas. We plan to use the Skills Builder framework to support in the development of oracy in lessons. It would also be good to push the use of the essential skills through extra-curricular activities as well as in lessons and form time.
North West England
United Kingdom