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Ryhill Junior, Infant and Nursery School

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Ryhill Junior, Infant and Nursery School
Ryhill J, I & N School has about 250 pupils from age 3 - 11. We are a one form entry school with a 56 place nursery. Last year we developed our new curriculum and put Skills Builder at the heart of it. Here at Ryhill we feel that it has never been more important to build a set of essential skills to succeed in life for our children and young people; the ability to creatively solve problems, to self-manage, to communicate effectively, and to work well with others. These are skills that are needed to do almost anything well. The need for these skills is clear, but there was still a gap - too many of our children were not building these skills to the level needed to ensure they do not miss out on opportunities to thrive in other parts of their lives. We began teaching the eight essential skills from Skills Builder.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has given us the guidance we needed to achieve our aims of: providing a clear skills based curriculum to facilitate the wider skill set of our pupils; to engage with employers in order to give our pupils ambition for their future and to increase standards in the basic skills of reading, writing and maths The Skills Builder programme is at the heart of everything that we do at Ryhill and the essential skills are taught and applied through our curriculum. It is helping to raise the aspirations of our children and equipping them with the skills that they need for their future lives.
Keep it simple
The 8 essential skills are taught throughout the year and are mapped out in our long-term plan. Prior to teaching each skill, teachers use the assessment tool to decide which step the children should work on and they then follow the planning and use the resources from the hub to teach the skill in a weekly skills lesson. We introduce each of the eight essential skills with a whole school assembly and the focus skill is displayed in every classroom and outside the hall. This information is also shared with parents through our class newsletters that are sent home every half term. Examples of how the children have developed the skill is then added to each display, along with the expanded step that each class is working on. At the end of teaching each skill, certificates are awarded to two children from each class in assembly and shared with parents on Dojo. Teachers then reassess each skill to look at the progress made. This year we have introduced a Skills Builder section on our reports.
Start early, keep going
Children begin their skills builder journey as soon as they enter nursery and it continues right through to Year 6. Each class focuses on the teaching of the same skill at the same time. The step that the children work on is decided after using the assessment tool. The children have a skills builder lesson each week and parents are aware of the skill being taught through newsletters and on our Dojo pages. Ideas are given to parents as to how to engage with the skill at home and Dojo points awarded for anyone completing the challenges at home.
Measure it
Our priority this year has been to ensure that every class teacher uses the assessment tool before teaching each skill and then again to reassess at the end. This has been a valuable way to monitor progress and to ensure that each class is teaching the most appropriate step for their children.
Focus tightly
Each of the 8 skills are taught during the course of the year in a weekly skills builder lesson from nursery to Year 6. A range of resources are used from the Skills Builder Hub and as well as the discrete lessons, teachers are constantly looking for ways to reinforce the skills in all curriculum areas. Teachers put the skill icon that is relevant for lessons alongside the learning objective and we also have skills stickers that can be put on work where the children have demonstrated a particular skill well. We are currently mapping out the skills for each subject on our medium-term plans to ensure that we look for every opportunity to embed the skills and use them in context.
Keep practising
We have used Challenge Days, Projects and Virtual Trips from the very beginning and have found these to be an extremely valuable way to give the children the opportunity to practise the essential skills being taught in class. We have had such positive feedback from the children and staff about these opportunities. We hold 3 Challenge Days each year and the projects are put into our medium term plans, again a total of 3 projects across the year for every year group, This half term I have introduced a Skills Builder after school club which has been extremely popular and successful. I have focused on a different skill each week and begin with a story from the ideas on the homezone. I then choose one of the challenges to complete. After each session I put photos of what we have done on Dojo along with the challenge that we did for other children to complete at home with parents/carers.
Bring it to life
We complete 3 Challenge Days each year and every class completes three projects every year. Our KS2 children have also had the exciting opportunity to experience Virtual Trips with a range of employers which has given the children an insight into the world of work and the skills they will need for the future. We were fortunate enough to also take part in two Q&A sessions with employers and it certainly opened the children's eyes to the many opportunities available to them and raised aspirations, which ultimately was our aim when we began Skills Builder.
What's next
We feel that skills builder has had such a positive impact on our children that we want to continue to look for further ways to embed it into our curriculum and keep the momentum going. We feel that the support we have received over the last few years from our Education Associate from Skills Builder has been so valuable that we would once again like to continue with the Accelerator programme and maybe look for further ways to engage parents and the wider community.
Yorkshire and the Humber
United Kingdom