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William Tyndale Primary School

This content was written by
William Tyndale Primary School
We have been working in partnership with Skills Builder for almost 10 years. Our main reason for implementing the programme was due to the level of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in Islington and to ensure equal opportunities for all, including children with SEND and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Giving children opportunities to develop their skills, learn about careers, and empower them to learn through inspirational experiences was at the heart of developing our Skills Builder curriculum, ensuring all children are equipped with skills for life. A decade on, many young people in the borough are still not equipped with these skills. A high proportion of children leave the borough to go to Secondary School, exacerbating the ongoing inequality in every aspect of life - notably health, education and economic outcomes. This inequality widened as a result of the pandemic so it remains an ongoing challenge. Skills Builder is integral in equipping children with the essential skills that will give them the tools to succeed. We have fully embedded the values of Skills Builder into our school community, reflecting it in our mission statement: REACH for your Future (Respect, Enterprise, Ambition, Confidence and Happiness).
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has been pivotal in getting our whole school community back to where it was before the pandemic. The framework of the essential skills has guided and supported governors, parents, carers, staff, children and some of our local businesses to move forward. The highlights have been the return to face to face Challenge Days, projects and re-engaging with businesses owners to establish that sense of community.
Keep it simple
The essential skills are linked to curriculum plans and policies, such as our Behaviour Policy and School Development Plan. Governors are updated termly during curriculum meetings and at Full Governing Body meetings about progress and events linked to Skills Builder. All staff receive regular training to ensure high quality delivery of the framework. Parents and Carers have opportunities to learn about the framework and how they can support their child/ren during curriculum workshops. They are also invited to lead assemblies and workshops on an aspect of their career and how this links to the essential skills. Notice Boards outside the school display the skills for the wider community while inside, all classrooms display and make reference to the skills during lessons. We also communicate our Skills Builder curriculum via the school newsletter, Twitter and on Google Classroom. Each week is launched with a Thought, generated by the children, which is linked to the Skill of the Month.
Start early, keep going
Weekly Skills Builder sessions are timetabled so that children are taught the explicit skill step and opportunities to apply the skills are embedded into all subject areas as well as extra curricular activities, for example Playground Leaders where children have opportunities to develop their teamwork and leadership skills. Every year, the whole school takes part in a Challenge Day and an enterprise project, with local business links established so that projects are given a real-life context. For example, Year 1 visit and learn about local art gallery as part of curating their own Gallery and sharing it with parents and carers at the end of the project. In Year 4, children present their confectionary product to business owners of the local ice cream shop and the winning teams make and sell their ice cream in the shop. Other opportunities to apply the essential skills include learning about coding through workshops with EE as part of the Computing curriculum.
Measure it
Every month, teachers update the Skills Builder Hub to inform next steps. There is protected time during INSETs to ensure that all teachers have had sufficient time to do this over the course of the year. In addition, our weekly hub report provides useful data to monitor the teaching and learning of the skills and ensure support is in place where needed. Termly meetings with the Skills Builder governor ensures that the data is monitored throughout the school. This progress data is recorded in children's end of year report so that parents have a good understanding of their child's strengths and next steps. In order to ensure continuity year on year, the class's assessment information is passed on to the next teacher during the handover process. As part of our weekly Skills Builder lessons, teachers enable children to assess themselves against the framework and reflect on their own progress. Skills Builder passports are used for upper KS2 to record children's progress.
Focus tightly
The Skill of the Month format provides the overall structure for a year. From this, subject leaders have designed their curriculum so that the skills are incorporated and referred to in lessons. It also shapes the planning of events such as the whole school Challenge Day, which occurs in November when the focus is Teamwork. Our careers curriculum also runs alongside our Rights Respecting Curriculum and Zones of Regulation. They are planned so that they complement each other with the Rights feeding into the aspect of communication and collaboration while the Zones of Regulation feeds into the self-management side of Skills Builder. From the Skill of the Month overview, weekly lessons, projects and assemblies are mapped out over the year enabling a consistent whole school approach. Weekly timetables have a dedicated 15 minute slot to ensure that the Skills Builder skills are taught explicitly. The lessons on the hub enable teachers to deliver these lesson with no extra planning.
Keep practising
Our Subject Leader teams meet fortnightly to work on different aspects of the curriculum. Part of this work includes curriculum monitoring and ensuring that the skills are visible in their curriculum area. We ensure this is in place through curriculum walks, class displays, observing the language of Skills Builder through video recording technology and discussions with the children. All curriculum overviews highlight the Skill of the Month and Right of the Month so that they are embedded into the curriculum and planning. Curriculum workshops for parents and carers make reference to the skills so that all stakeholders in our community are using the language of the skills both in school and at home. Our Skills Builder Ambassadors in Year 4 and 5, support younger children during Challenge Days and during project work, as well as sharing their learning with visitors. This year we have shared our Skills Builder work with delegates from India, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Bring it to life
One of our Skills Builder curriculum strengths are our long standing partnerships with local businesses. These include working with the Little Angel Theatre, skin care company, Malin+Goetz, and our most recent partnership with Bridgeside Lodge, a residential care home. Our curriculum enables children to work with professionals in their field and to have hands-on experiences of these businesses. This takes the form of working with business owners in school and in the workplace. At the theatre, children learn about how technology is used to create a show. Working with Malin+Goetz, the children design and make a new fragrance and packaging. In Year 5, the children work with designers, architects and a visual effects team to reimagine their local area in 2050, using creative problem solving to find solutions to climate change. Finally, in Year 6, the children work with Malin & Goetz to design a new fragrance.
What's next
Our next steps are to incorporate the skills into performance management for staff and to continue to raise awareness of Skills Builder with schools and businesses in the local borough.
Greater London
United Kingdom