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Oaks Park High School

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Oaks Park High School
Oaks Park High School is a large, mixed, 11-18 comprehensive community school, serving a vibrant and diverse community in the London Borough of Redbridge, sitting at the heart of the local community in Newbury Park. Our child-centered philosophy means we work together to ensure each student is able to reach their potential. We have a strong emphasis on Careers Education, Advice, Information and Guidance and Skills Builder aligns perfectly with our ambition to set our students up for future success.
Overall impact
Using Skills Builder as a school has given us an opportunity to create further positive interactions with our students where we are able to congratulate them on the use of their skills. It also allows students to see the value in every lesson; knowing that in every single class, they are developing the skills that will help them to succeed in whatever their chosen field may be.
Keep it simple
To increase awareness of the essential skills, we have skills posters with the icons and definitions visible in every classroom. This allows teachers to easily refer to the skills and gives students a visual reminder. We have been teaching skills explicitly in key stage 3, focusing on a different skill each half term. We've done this through short lessons in tutor time, reinforcement in lessons and around school, with all staff reminded of the skill in focus and a skills book for students to record their skills use. One skills champion is nominated from each form at the end of each half term and this is published in the newsletter and part of a corridor display. The champions are invited to a hot chocolate breakfast with the headteacher to receive a certificate and discuss their skills.
Start early, keep going
We decided to start with key stage 3 to allow us to embed awareness of the essential skills from early on in our students' journey at Oaks Park, aiming for it to become part of our culture throughout the school.
Measure it
Tutors are using the hub to measure the overall progress of their classes with each skill taught. This allows teachers and students to see progress quickly and easily. Identifying a skills champion each half term also helps model skills attainment to other students. Finally, using a skills book helps students to reflect and gives clear evidence of how students are developing their skills. As of next year, students will have a skills passport in their planner where they can collect stamps to evidence their skills progress.
Focus tightly
Students have explicit instruction during tutor time and are invited to reflect on the skill in focus throughout their lessons, extra-curricular activities and outside of school. All members of staff are encouraged to use the language of that particular skill in their interactions with students both in lessons and around school. That skill will then be emphasised and discussed in subjects across the board.
Keep practising
We have started to write skill steps into the curriculum (initially focusing on MFL and PSHE), outlining the specific steps being developed in particular lessons as a lesson objective. Relevant objectives are then highlighted as an opportunity to practice the skill steps and students are given feedback and time to reflect on the skill.
Bring it to life
We include skill learning objectives' as part of the process when organising trips and setting up extra-curricular clubs and activities. We also be emphasise the skills used in any interactions with employers such as our Lecture Series, Careers Cafés and Careers Fair. Our invited speakers are always asked to discuss the importance of skills in their jobs. Each year group has a drop down day activity, students highlight the skills developed during that day and are offered an opportunity to reflect on how they progressed in each essential skill.
What's next
We have ambitious plans to further embed the Skills Builder framework across more curriculum subjects next year and in more year groups. We will do this by using a focus group of volunteer departments who will collect feedback and then roll out across all departments later in the year or the following academic year. We want our students to be fully literate in the Skills Builder language and to clearly understand how they can enhance their futures through a focus on their essential skills.
Greater London
United Kingdom