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Newcastle College

This content was written by
Newcastle College
The Skills Builder Award has proved an invaluable external framework for Newcastle College in supporting the planning, development and implementation of essential skills as part of the college's curriculum footprint over two academic years since 2019. The college used the initial 8 essential skills to benchmark and create its own set of Knowledge, Skills and behaviours (KSB) appropriate to the development needs of our students. Our aim is to signpost these skills at every opportunity for students to see the relevance and context when working through activities and experiencing meaningful engagements with a range of key stakeholders as part of their course. This intention was to ensure that our students are fully aware of the importance of developing new skills, personal characteristics and behaviour traits associated with their intended career destinations. The sequential structure of the 5-guiding principles easily aligns to our own academic structure and operational calendar.
Overall impact
Using the Accelerator Programme and embedding the 8 essential skills against our own skills framework has allowed the college to self-assess itself on what it delivers and identify where improvements still needs to be made. This has not been without its challenges over the last academic year where students have been taught remotely. The impact on this has been a reliance of student independent learning and subsequently this has led to the wider understanding of why essential skills is important.
Keep it simple
Every student as part of tutorial engagement, receive a reflective log book promoting the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB) required to achieve well. The 8 essential skills were used to formulate our KSB framework. Aligned to our teaching and learning policy and quality assurance plans, the booklet is used to review and evaluate progress by the student and personal tutor. Parents are informed through termly progress reviews and parental engagement activities.
Start early, keep going
Planning of skills development resources is aligned to engage all students irrespective of academic level. Promotion and application of skills takes place at every stage of the career’s guidance journey whether during prior-enrolment in schools, on programme or at exit to inform progression.
Measure it
All Newcastle College teaching and learning delivery is centred around 12 teaching, learning and assessment indicators to achieve success. The delivery model focusses on the purpose of learning and the mechanisms that are incorporated as consistent practice for students to learn. Formative assessment of learning takes place through regular student discussion including 1to1 interactions where action plans are agreed.
Focus tightly
College policy and procedures relating to teaching, learning and assessment underpin the emphasis on high quality delivery. Every student receives a weekly timetable based on developing essential skills as they progress through their course. eTrackr is used by students and staff to record their initial targets based on their current abilities and qualifications. Lessons are planned through the creation of a detailed schemes of learning.
Keep practising
Students are proactively encouraged to demonstrate and apply their understanding of essential skills through a broad range of contextualised vocational projects, work experiences and interactions and engagement with employers as part of the overall curriculum offer. This also includes internal skills competitions as part of NCG, progressing to external national recognition in World Skills competitions.
Bring it to life
Employer engagement and exposure to the world of work is used so students are aware of what is required in their chosen vocation. Virtual work experiences allow students to engage with employers online, providing opportunities for students to communicate directly with employers, demonstrating e.g. listening and speaking skills, creativity and problem solving. This enables student groups from different curriculum areas to work together to resolve business challenges.
What's next
Our aim next academic year is to ensure essential skills are at the heart of developing quality improvement plans linking to our intent strategy across Newcastle College and wider college group. Operationally this will impact on the updating of our cross college Careers Advice and Guidance Framework and development of skills delivery as part of our rollout of T-Levels. Key milestones will be identified over the year to review and reflect on progress using student and employer voice as feedback.
North East England
United Kingdom