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Northstowe Secondary College

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Northstowe Secondary College
As a new school, we are building our curriculum from scratch. We firmly believe that an enriching curriculum is one that blends powerful knowledge with key skills. The Skills Builder Accelerator Programme helps us to measure this and provides a focus for all staff to reflect on the skills they are teaching to help students become more actively aware when they are learning about and using key skills.
Overall impact
We have enjoyed developing the awareness of the skills with our students, many of whom do not realise they have been developing their skills. Once they realise they have been, and have more self-awareness, it's really rewarding.
Keep it simple
Within our 'How to Thrive' lessons, we have introduced the students to the language of Skills Builder. Working through the Skills Builder Hub, and with the support of the Unifrog platform, students have been introduced to these skills. They have evaluated each of the skills and the contribution the last year has made to their learning in and understanding of these skills. We also have a brief overview of all the skills displayed on our boards around the school, so students are exposed to the terminology daily.
Start early, keep going
All of our learners have produced an end of year reflection video to send home to parents. This has been based around essential skills and how they have shown evidence of these skills this year, and where they would like to improve next year. We also ensure our enrichment activities, such as sports clubs after school use the terminology. Our PLEDGEs programme offers a bronze, silver and gold award for areas such as leadership, participation and giving. Students benefit from the skills and personal qualities developed through completing this scheme.
Measure it
We use the Unifrog platform to record mentoring and to record levels of competency in the different essential skills. This allows us to track how much our students are engaging with these skills, and will allow us to see how they move forward as they progress through the school.
Focus tightly
The essential skills are built into the 'How to thrive' curriculum which involves students engaging with weekly core skills and PSHE lessons. These sessions see our students being introduced to the key concepts of the essential skills and teachers made use of the Skills Builder Hub resources.
Keep practising
We regularly build essential skills use into our How to Thrive curriculum (weekly core skills and PSHE lessons for all students). Within PE, we also focus particularly on Leadership and Teamwork. In our Tutor time curriculum, we have been focussing on Listening and Speaking (our 'Your Voice Matters' oracy project involved a whole school debate competition) and preparing for their end of year reflection presentations. This has then fed into other subjects, with English and History both regularly referencing the Listening techniques learned during the 'Your voice matters' project. We also use extra curricular activities to expose our students to the skills and terminology.
Bring it to life
This year, all our students are taking part in a Skills Builder event. Year 7 are completing an 'Operation Moonbase' challenge day which has allowed them to explore the essential skills in relation to wider life experiences. We also use the skills terminology in our careers events and ask employers to focus on the skills.
What's next
We hope to implement the skills further within our curriculum, adding the skills stickers to our teaching resources to show students when they are developing their skills.
East of England
United Kingdom