By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Return to Showcase
Visit website


Ormiston Bushfield Academy

This content was written by
Ormiston Bushfield Academy
Ormiston Bushfield Academy is smaller than the average-sized school. It is situated on the south side of Peterborough. It is part of the Ormiston Academies Trust. The proportion of pupils with SEND is above average. The school also has an above average proportion of pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium funding. The school operates its own inclusion unit called Atlantis House. This provision is solely for pupils of Ormiston Bushfield Academy and is located in a separate building opposite the main school. We recognise that education is about much more than academic progress. The world into which our young people will emerge will present them with many challenges - and so, through high standards of presentation, behaviour and respect and teaching and development of essential skills we are dedicated to helping them develop into well-rounded individuals in all aspects of their lives. We began our Skills Builder journey by achieving a Silver award in the last academic year and this year hope to achieve Gold.
Overall impact
From a pastoral perspective, the interdisciplinary project for year 7 has been a really valuable way to embed the scheme. As these have been termly, students have had to consistently refer to the building blocks and are therefore more familiar when the same terms/steps have been referred to in lessons. Many departments have commented that having consistent terminology and a clearer focus of skill development alongside academic study has helped students to become more rounded. Essential skill development and praise for this has also made learning more inclusive with students rewarded positively. The display material reminds staff and students of the skills and can be referred to regularly, this has led to a growing understanding that these skills are transferable. Collectively we are being far more proactive in ensuring that the language used reflects that of the accelerator programme and matches to the skills we are focusing on for any particular session. A highlight would be the use of Skills Builder grids with a lower ability year 8 set. They are enthusiastic to self assess to monitor progress and highlight which skills they wish to further develop. Parent Champions have also attended a session introducing Skills Builder and the feedback was very positive.
Keep it simple
The essential skills are embedded within teaching and learning policies and curriculum plans across the academy and are referenced in the academy prospectus, student planners, curriculum ladders on the academy website and within our mapping documents for extra-curricular and enrichment activities. The language of essential skills is used extensively across all areas of academy life and among all members of its community including our alternative provision. Assemblies, staff meetings, parent meetings and other events regularly reference the skills. Examples of this include a parent champion meeting and sixth form assembly to launch UCAS and work experience and through the use of social media. We are in the process of sharing individual achievement in skills as part of our reporting cycles. We reward effort and achievement in relation to essential skills recording house points on SIMS as part of our student reward program.
Start early, keep going
Strategic planning and policy development and regular staff CPD ensure the language of essential skills has been a focus from September 2022 and forms part of our 5 year plan. This document in conjunction with the curriculum ladders on the website and other documents such as tutor time plans show that all groups and classes have regular and planned opportunities for learning and practising essential skills.
Measure it
Teachers and tutors regularly use formative assessment in teaching and learning and are able to identify which essential skills students need to develop, providing the opportunity for this to take place on a regular basis according to need and curriculum or SoW links. Whilst some staff members use the Hub to do this, some also record in a tracking document in student exercise books or in their own records. Feedback is provided to students in relation to skills when engaging in activities such as debate, presentations and group work. Our sixth form students also deliver 'tutor takeover' sessions where they are provided with information and next steps to improve their public speaking. Teaching staff and tutors also use self assessment with their students for individual skills and use this as an opportunity to discuss strengths and areas for development with individuals and small groups.
Focus tightly
Teachers have received and will continue to receive guidance and regular training to enable them to feel equipped to build skills directly and have access to the tools and resources required to do this. These have been downloaded onto a shared drive to enable staff to easily find what they are looking for without the need to log into the Hub. Best practice is shared in whole staff CPD sessions and within department meetings and co-planning sessions, including use of the Skills Builder Hub for formative assessment and as a planning tool. Dedicated time is planned into the tutor time sessions rota for all year groups and is available to teach essential skills throughout the academic year. Curriculum maps show that departments dedicate time to the teaching and development of skills, pitching teaching at an appropriate level (for example, in STEM where best practise can be seen).
Keep practising
The academy expectation is that the language of essential skills is used across the whole school including extra curricular opportunities, with common shared standards. Visual cues and reminders will remain and teachers will be encouraged to make reference to those skills in other parts of their teaching for example, when preparing for our annual arts performance, during debate club and society meetings. The essential skills will remain present in student planners for them to refer to and the expanded steps will be displayed in classrooms where possible for referring to specific steps. Lesson observations, department reviews and learning walks provide feedback to teaching staff and build in the expectation that essential skills should be interwoven and reinforced in lessons whenever possible.
Bring it to life
The Academy makes provision for all students to have experiences to apply essential skills including the premium resources we have access to such as the work experience module with year 9 and 10 tutor groups. We have used a virtual trip with year 10. All year groups are involved in a minimum of weekly reading sessions with their tutor to practise listening skills. We have a challenge day planned for July and work experience for our year 12 students during the last week of the summer term. We have also used employer encounters particularly with year 7 an example of which is a visit from Anglian Water. Year 7 students also participate in an interdisciplinary project every term which spans a period of 2-3 weeks and Skills Builder is embedded within this. This will be rolled out to year 8 next year. Year 10 students are currently in the process of reflecting upon their work experience placement with a particular focus on essential skills seen in the workplace.
What's next
Although skills are heavily represented in most lessons some staff feel that a step for further development could be linking to activities completed at home and matching levels to a students ability. We are also in the process of transitioning to Microsoft teams which provides further opportunity to embed into department resources.
East of England
United Kingdom