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Pioneer House High School

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Pioneer House High School
Pioneer House is a specialist support school for students 11-19. Pioneer House provides education with a vocational focus for students with significant learning difficulties alongside a mixture of other special education needs or disabilities; e.g. autism, ADHD, SEMH needs or visual/hearing impairments. We have worked alongside Skills Builder for over 6 years. Skills Builder and the focus on employability skills and preparation for adulthood and work is integral to our curriculum.
Overall impact
Work experience placements continue to be tracked and monitored effectively to ensure that work placement providers are aware of the needs of the students attending and personalised targets for students which include the skills. The Skills Builder Framework is consistently applied in the lesson structure across school. Curriculum Leaders have also identified how module plans for each subject link to Skills Builder, the Gatsby Benchmarks and also specific careers. Current Compass plus report continues to show that the school meets the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks in full. Compass Plus is being used effectively to track and monitor all Careers related activity within school. The spring terms has seen engagement with Equans, Kier, Cardinal Logistics, Big Ideas and the DWP to support the development of Employability skills across all key stages and to give real working life experiences to the students. The school continues to explore new external work experience opportunities and has engaged with BW3, MADE and The Growth Company to explore opportunities for further employer engagement. We have supported several schools locally and nationally in various guises from ongoing support through our DHT as an SLE for careers and through advisory conversations where we mention and reference Skills Builder throughout. These schools/educational providers include: Southern Cross, Carrington Riding School, Undershaw school, Manchester DISC College. We have shared the work we do around EHCPs and Skills Builder with visitors from Singapore. We also discussed Skills Builder as part of GMCA's 'future's for all' which promotes work for SEND young people. One of our past students created a video as part of this ( The DHT is making a speech next week at Greater Manchester Enterprise Advisor Network meeting and will be talking about Skills Builder within this.
Keep it simple
The skills are used in every lesson across the school and are part of our 'shared expectations' of what should be included in every lesson. Students, staff and parents alike use the language of skills as it is threaded into many of our systems including our residentials, our work experience systems and our behaviour system, where students and staff can give praise to students, specific to the skills.
Start early, keep going
Our work experience programmes have undergone development over the previous year, and are linked to the skills. KS3 have opportunities to apply for and complete class jobs as well as having opportunities to apply for projects. An example is a project we did recently with Digital Advantage, which was a working group that redesigned our cafe space. KS4 complete experiential work experiences on site - all students apply and interview for these positions. KS5 have a breadth of work experience offer including on site and off site work experience. We've developed further links with many employers including charity shops, 2 salons, a boutique, a farm and a community centre.
Measure it
Students complete reflections within work experience programmes where they reflect back on targets and the skills they have used/built. Every half term, students each get two 1:1 tutor sessions to discuss with their tutor their EHCplan targets, which includes the Skills Builder targets, in preparation for employment section of their EHCP.
Focus tightly
In KS3 students have discrete lesson focusing on the skills each week. Work experience programmes in KS4 and KS5 provide explicit development of skills. EHC plan tutorials also support the development of skills. Students also take part in projects, including Digital Advantage, and Challenge Days and Virtual Trips.
Keep practising
Practising of skills also takes place in lessons, work experience programmes in KS4 and KS5.
Bring it to life
The skills are brought to life through through Projects, Challenge Days, Virtual Trips and residentials. Work experience, visits to employers/work places, Careers day, and visits from employers are all linked to the skills.
What's next
We will continue to develop the work experience programmes for KS4 and KS5 that are linked to the skills. This will include forging deeper connections with the work experience placements we have got, to work towards having work experience placements across the week for KS5. We would like to further develop and tighten the KS4 work experience system and programme to include application, interview, and a rolling plan of jobs to apply for each term, with the language of the skills weaved throughout. We are going to launch The Strawberry Fox' community cafe and begin having timetabled community groups in with a view to opening up further to open up to the public eventually. We will continue to be a part of the picture across Greater Manchester and further afield to get sustainable next step destinations for young people with SEND, including employment opportunities.
North West England
United Kingdom