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Ormiston Bushfield Academy

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Ormiston Bushfield Academy
Ormiston Bushfield Academy is smaller than the average-sized school. It is situated on the south side of Peterborough and 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, we are dedicated to helping them develop into well-rounded individuals in all aspects of their lives. Skills Builder has been fully embedded within our STEM curriculum at KS3 and the language of essential skills used by some members of the teaching staff. Through the use of social media, year teams and parent champions, skills are referenced and responses have been very positive. The next stage in our journey would be full staff engagement with all teachers providing regular opportunities for students to practise essential skills in the wider curriculum, crossing into different subject areas.
Overall impact
The overall impact can be measured in the improvement of reading ages and confidence in reading aloud in class. It can also be ascertained through the depth of knowledge and creation of a cultural awareness amongst students and their readiness to undertake wider reading. Other highlights have included the virtual trip with Wates for our year 10 separate scientists, who relished in the interaction with employers, and the positive feedback about Skills Builder from our Parent Champions.
Keep it simple
To raise awareness of the essential skills posters have been displayed on classroom walls and in common areas such as house bases. Teaching staff have received training on how to define and build them. Students in year 7 and 8 have been fully introduced to the Skills Builder Framework and aware of the specific steps involved in some skills as Skills Builder has been fully embedded into our new STEM curriculum. The language of skills is used consistently and highlighted through the use of icons in lesson materials. Year 9 and 10 students have also been exposed through tutor time sessions using the framework and resources in conjunction with careers sessions. Social media is used to highlight skills, mostly on a weekly basis. We share individual skills with parents, carers and students providing ideas on how to develop these away from a classroom setting.
Start early, keep going
Strategic planning and policy development to ensure the language of essential skills is used across all areas of the academy is a focus from September 2022. Year team leads have discussed and chosen which skills they would like year groups to focus on for terms 1 and 2 starting with a re-introduction to skills in assemblies. The STEM curriculum can be used as a model to break this down into what we want students to be able to do at each key stage using the Skills Builder Framework as a way of having clear statements to work towards. The Skills Builder Framework has also been used as the basis for a parents champion session. This was positively received and followed with a question and answer session.
Measure it
Group-level assessment by a teacher has worked well for those teachers using the resources to reflect on the skills of their groups as a whole. This is less time consuming, and gives insights into the needs of the group with suggested resources. Formative assessment is used regularly and feedback provided to students when engaging in activities such as debate, presentations and group work. Some teachers 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. Currently, effort and achievement is recognised in relation to building essential skills and recorded on SIMS by teaching staff. This data was used by year teams when selecting a skill to focus on in the next academic year with individual year 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. Best practice will be shared in whole staff CPD sessions and within department meetings including use of the Skills Builder Hub for formative assessment and as a planning tool. Dedicated time is planned into tutor time sessions and is available to teach essential skills throughout the academic year. Planning and curriculum maps show that some teachers/ departments dedicate time to the teaching of skills, pitching teaching at an appropriate level (for example, in STEM and Science). As a more specific example, a year 10 class in Science received dedicated time in term 1 to work through the Listening passport developing this skill through focused and explicit teaching whilst also covering curriculum content. This was then revisited in later lessons throughout the year.
Keep practising
The OBA 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 be 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 and learning walks will provide feedback to teaching staff and build in the expectation that essential skills should be reinforced in lessons whenever possible.
Bring it to life
This year we have begun to make some provision of experiences to apply essential skills. This included work experience modules with year 9 and 10 and a virtual trip with a group of year 10 students. We have a challenge day planned for July and work experience for our year 12 students during the last week of the summer term . A number of subject areas use project work using the identified effective components, especially for transition between year 12 and 13.
What's next
Using Skills Builder's Speaking and Aiming High categories for house point rewards and directly linking them to the Accelerated Reader program. We would like to create an Accelerated Reader library space and enable sixth formers to extend their Leadership skills in helping to run it for younger students and to recommend titles and authors. Specific training will extend the general library assistant training that is currently given to the bronze Duke of Edinburgh candidates who volunteer in the AR section of the library one hour a week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Extra-curricular activities are also being mapped according to skills developed outside of the classroom.
East of England
United Kingdom