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Wanstead High School

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Wanstead High School
Wanstead High School is a community school of approximately 1500 pupils in east London. This year we have relaunched our vision for personal development, and as part of our strategy wanted to focus on pupil awareness and development of core essential employability skills from Key Stage 3 onwards. We see this as a key element of our personal development strategy, and a key tool in bringing together the academic, pastoral and careers curriculum, as well as enrichment, in an offer focused on the development of the whole pupil. Skills Builder had been recommended as a valuable tool in achieving this, and we were therefore both pleased and excited when our application for the Skills Builder Accelerator was accepted.
Overall impact
Pupils, teachers and parents in Year 8 are now more aware of the essential skills and their importance. This has enabled all parties to see the relevance of the academic curriculum to their personal development and vice versa. A highlight this year has been the role that the programme has played in engaging and building the confidence of our disadvantaged pupils, in particular through opportunities that have inspired them, such as the Employer Q and A
Keep it simple
We focused on four of the essential skills through weekly tutor time sessions, and have begun to incorporate them into the assemblies that were delivered by tutor groups, as well as using them in careers-specific assemblies. We provided opportunities for pupils to reflect on the importance of the essential skills in the workplace by participating in a Skills Builder Q and A. Pupils were also provided with regular opportunities to reflect on their skills development through Skills Builder Benchmark. We featured Skills Builder as part of a personal development evening held for both pupils and parents, which included awards for pupils that had been exemplary in their use and/or demonstration of the essential skills.
Start early, keep going
We introduced Skills Builder in Year 8 in the first instance, and after a successful first year will be rolling it out to all of Key Stage 3 next year as part of their pastoral programme and our broader personal development strategy. National Careers Week assemblies that were delivered to all year groups focused on the essential skills and their importance to personal growth and development.
Measure it
Year 8 tutors have delivered weekly short lessons that have focused on the essential skills and next steps in their pupils' development of them. We have also used Skills Builder Benchmark to aid pupil reflection, and some Year 8 tutors have used this to inform and adjust their class score for proficiency in a particular skill. Older pupils in our 6th form have been encouraged to reflect on their skills development through the tool available on Unifrog.
Focus tightly
Skills Builder sessions have been written into the Year 8 pastoral programme, focusing on a different essential skill approximately each half term. Tutors have utilised the lessons available on the Skills Builder Hub to deliver their weekly sessions, and we have received positive feedback from pupils (via surveys and focus groups) on these.
Keep practising
We have extended the programme beyond the weekly sessions to include Year 8 assemblies and featuring it in a parent information event, which included pupil awards based on the essential skills covered. The essential skills have also been used in elements of the academic curriculum, in subject areas including PE and Languages.
Bring it to life
The essential skills featured in an assembly for National Careers Week delivered to all year groups, and 30 of our Year 8 pupils participated in a Skills Builder Employer Q and A during this Week. Subject-specific lessons were also planned as part of this Week, and teachers were encouraged to use My Learning My Future from the Careers and Enterprise Company; the resources for which heavily reference the essential skills.
What's next
We will be embedding the essential skills firmly within our Key Stage 3 programme next year from Year 7 to 9, within both tutor time and assemblies, and would like to link them with year group educational visits. We are also looking to continue to embed them within our personal development offer, in particular our careers programme and the various events that we host to support this across the academic year.
Greater London
United Kingdom