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Secondary School
All Saints Academy
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Secondary School

All Saints Academy

This content was written by
All Saints Academy
Context
At All Saints Academy, there is a significant commitment to the personal development of our students. Whilst qualifications are important, we also believe it is important that students develop morally, and in relation to the broader skills which will prepare them for the next phase of their lives. Our personal development provision is recognised as good by Ofsted and reflects our dedication to our students broader development. Work in relation to skill development began a few years ago with the 8 skills from Skills Builder forming the framework for this. We recently took the opportunity during lockdown to completely re-write our curriculum in a creative, thematic approach where individual topics are all centered around a skill and a virtue. There are 11 topics for each year group and every topic has a specific skill allocated to it. The skill then permeates the lesson content to ensure that skill development is integrated rather than a bolt on addition. I made the decision to make a bid to be a part of the Skills Builder Accelerator programme in order to continue to develop our provision with strategic support from Skills Builder.
Overall impact
The Skills Builder Accelerator programme has ensured that there has been a continued focus on developing and strengthening our provision for the development of skills. Students have benefitted from seeing a much more coherent and focused approach to skill development with integral activities for each of the skills which have been consistent across topics. Teachers have benefitted from a much greater insight into the process of supporting skill development and have made excellent use of the comprehensive resources available on the Skills Builder Hub. The Accelerator programme has ensured that sufficient attention has been directed at each of the six principles and the regular strategy meetings with a dedicated Education Associated helped to continually, review and refine our provision to maximise the impact of our skills provision. The biggest highlight for us was to hear that of the many schools that work with Skills Builder, we became one of the schools to achieve the Gold Award, having embedded the skills provision to the level that we have which gives us faith that this commitment to skill development would be recognised by any external stakholder.
Keep it simple
The 8 essential skills are at the center of our creative curriculum model for all 5 year groups. In each year, our curriculum is split into 11 topics, each of which is built around a skills and virtue. Both our assembly programme and character education lessons are all aligned to the skill covered in each topic to reinforce the key language and support development. The subject content for each topic makes explicit reference to the skills and ensure that the skill development is seen as integral by the students. The knowledge organisers for each topic use the language/steps from the Skill Builder Universal Framework so students know exactly what development and progression looks like. Skills are referenced in parent meetings as it is a core part of the curriculum model. Students have taken part in weekly personal development challenges which were set using the Skills Builder Home Learning Hub challenges - these were uploaded to our online platform. Every classroom has an A3 laminated sheet for all 8 skills on display.
Start early, keep going
The creative curriculum model gives all students the opportunity to learn specific skill steps and then apply their skills across the curriculum. Teachers make regular reference to the skill step posters during lessons so that students understand how to progress in relation to each of the skills. The skill steps are broken down across all year groups to show an average expected progression route for all students. In addition to the skills being at the heart of each topic, students have dedicated tutor time sessions on skill development where tutors choose the most appropriate resources for the majority of their tutees and then deliver them. Students have engaged well with these sessions and are given the chance to recorded the reflections in relation to their skill development every Friday in their character education session.
Measure it
All students have a personal development tracker where they record evidence of where they have met the requirements of different skill steps. Students reflect on skill development at the end of each week and where good progress has been made, our sixth form students review the evidence and award students with a badge linked to the specific skill. Teachers use assessment for learning and their own subjective assessments to pitch teaching at the appropriate level. The assessment tool is well utlised by staff to inform their choices over which step and which resources to focus on with their tutees. Baseline assessments for skills are established in this way with the expectation being that there is then a follow up data input to reflect on progress made.
Focus tightly
Students have a weekly tutor session which focuses explicitly on direct instruction in relation to the essential skills. This happens for all students in the school and the content progress through the skill steps as students progress through the school. Teachers use the class assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub to choose the most appropriate resources for students which is predicated on a general assessment of their efficacy in relation to the Skills Builder Universal Framework steps. The students all have a personal development tracker which include all 8 skills and all of the skills steps and each Friday they are given the opportunity to reflect on the development of their skills and provide specific examples of where they believe they have met the skill step.
Keep practising
In the curriculum model, skill activities are built into subject curriculum lessons so that students are given regular opportunities to practise the skill in a range of different subjects and a range of different contexts; whilst the subject content changes, the opportunities to explore and practise the skill remain consistent. Every booklet and lesson PowerPoint has the corresponding skill logo on them as a constant reminder of which skill is the focus of the topic. All electives (extra-curricular activities) are linked to skills which are identified by the person leading the elective.
Bring it to life
Our Year 11 students took part in a 3 day Crime Scene Investigation experience which applied a lot of the Skills Builder skills in a variety of different situations which saw students see how these skills are essential in most, if not all, jobs. Year 7 and 8 students took part in the Operation Moonbase Challenge Day which provided all students an immersive opportunity to test how well they have developed their skills over the course of the year. During the Careers Day for Year 9 and 10, each of the careers input made explicit reference to the skills associated with different careers.
What's next
Going forward there is still a lot of work to do to continue to refine our provision and ensure that each and every student sees the development of skills as a core part of their education. The weekly Skills Builder tutor times have been very effective and moving forwards we will be looking at where else we can allocate some curriculum time for direct instruction in relation to the essential skills. In relation to Principle 3 (Measure It), there is work to be undertaken to quality assure the measurement process whilst focusing on supporting students with close monitoring and tracking of their own development through each of the skill steps. In relation to Principle 5 (Keep Practising), we also want to do some work on making skill practise much more explicit in our elective programme. Finally, it will be good to do some work with employers to bridge the gap between school and future careers so students can practise the skills in a specific work context.
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Secondary School
Ash Manor School
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Secondary School

Ash Manor School

This content was written by
Ash Manor School
Context
Ash Manor School is a community school that has recently shown steady improvement over the last five years. Student attainment and achievement is something we are really proud of; however, we felt that we wanted to fully prepare our students for life after Ash Manor. Whilst we know students learn a variety of skills across the curriculum, it is felt that they do not always understand they are learning and using these. We wanted to use Skills Builder to formalise these skills and enable students to be able to articulate their demonstration of them in all that they do.
Overall impact
This programme has benefitted our students most of all. They have improved their ability to speak about their experiences and articulate which skills they have developed and demonstrated in anything they have done over their time at school. This includes being able to identify where they have used these skills within the curriculum and any other extra-curricular activities they have done. Our form tutors have developed in their role by linking pastoral care with the delivery of the curriculum by facilitating discussions whereby students are identifying these skills. Our wider community has benefitted from our excellent students participating in their sports teams, volunteering role and other activities.
Keep it simple
We have given time in Tutor Time for students to receive a fortnightly session on Skills Builder topics. Form tutors have had relevant training and have initially assessed their groups, chosen which sessions are suitable for their groups and delivered activities that meet the needs of the students. We have printed the logos of the 8 essential skills and have displayed these on tutor room display boards. We are using verbal praise and encouragement within these tutor sessions and have begun discussing how the students are using these skills in their lessons and across the curriculum so they see these links. There has been a lot of disruption due to Covid-19; however we, have persevered and ensured that we have continued to embed the use and understanding of these skills with our students.
Start early, keep going
We began this year piloting Skills Builder with Years 8, 9 and 10. This has been a successful pilot that we will continue with next year; so next year Skills Builder will be delivered to Years 8-11. During lockdown, Skills Builder optional tasks around staying positive were set to students via our online work setting system, Satchel One. Parents have access to this and were able to support their children to complete these tasks.
Measure it
We have used the Skills Builder Hub as our main resource for planning and delivering these Skills Builder sessions. During lockdown, we switched to the home sessions that were made available online by Skills Builder. This enabled students to have the same experience as they would in school. Tutors have been measuring the understanding of these skills with the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub and have been encouraged to do these at varying points over the year.
Focus tightly
To embed the programme, we decided to ensure Skills Builder had a regular slot within our tutor time schedule. This allowed students to have regular access and exposure to these resources and discussions around the key skills they use. The regular sessions have meant that these 8 key skills are becoming part of students' everyday vocabulary. We purchased a Skills Builder Challenge Day event to take place for one of our Personal Development days in Year 9 and 10. Students were off timetable and took part in activities chosen for their year group. The Challenge Day consolidated all of the sessions that the students have received throughout the year and provided more definitive context for how these skills can be used, demonstrated and spoken about with confidence by the students.
Keep practising
Students are encouraged to partake in extra-curricular activities, such as sports teams, academic clubs, activities such as cooking or crocheting, the Combined Cadet Force, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, etc. These have been somewhat limited due to Covid-19; however, many students are still doing lots of these as well as additional teams, awards and projects outside of school (many that support the volunteering, physical and skills sections of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award). As part of Tutor time this term, we have facilitated discussions where students identify lessons and activities in which they use and demonstrate these skills.
Bring it to life
Through discussions in tutor time and from the Challenge Day, we aimed for students to be able to identify the links between the session where they have seen these 8 skills and how they are using and developing them within their lessons and in any other activities they may do. They will subsequently be able to speak about these skills with confidence and give examples of how they have demonstrated these when moving on to life after Ash Manor School.
What's next
Our next steps are to continue to embed this programme [through a Digital Membership] to ensure all students are able to recognise their development and use of these skills; and be able to articulate this when they move on to colleges, universities, jobs, and any other next steps after their time at Ash Manor School.
South East England
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Primary School
Ashdown Primary School
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Primary School

Ashdown Primary School

This content was written by
Ashdown Primary School
Context
We are a two form entry, split site primary school in East Sussex and we got involved with Skills Builder following my year working with the East Sussex Primary Careers Hub. We did a lot of work which focused on teaching essential skills to children at primary age groups and I felt passionately that this should continue at our school.
Overall impact
I think that this has been a really good year for introducing the elements of the Skills Builder approach to the whole school. I am really looking forward to driving this more next academic year, especially now all staff have got to grips with the changes in English and Maths. I am also working with our PSHCE lead to include explicit links to the essential skills in the PSHCE curriculum.
Keep it simple
All classrooms have made use of the Skills Builder Hub to assess some of the essential skills. I have asked the teachers to only focus on ones that are important to their classes on the return to school from both closures. Each classroom has also been given elements of classroom displays which are up and being used by classes regularly. One class has been very creative with this and the skills being used in each lesson are highlighted by activating a light behind the symbol during each lesson.
Start early, keep going
All children within school have been accessing resources on the Skills Builder Hub. Early Years have been accessing some of the skills stories on the system along with the Year 1 classes. These resources have been used differently throughout the school with some classes using some of the lessons for discussion points in various subjects.
Measure it
We have started to use the Skills Builder Hub for assessments, and want to continue to build off this. We have had a lot of change within the core curriculum this year but want to integrate these assessments eventually.
Focus tightly
In our changes to the teaching of reading, there is a large focus on communication and working as part of a team. This has really helped to develop these essential skills within each class and ensure that the children get regular practice of these skills.
Keep practising
We are planning to make fuller use of the Skills Builder projects and challenge days next year. We have been using these skills in our reading and writing lesson and also within PSHCE when having class discussions during our RSE term.
Bring it to life
I feel this is an area that we have missed out on with the coronavirus restrictions this year. We would like to make use of virtual visitors and school trips to really push the essential skills forward at Ashdown Primary School.
What's next
I plan to buy the Digital Unlimited membership which will give us access to lots of projects and challenge days. These can then be used to kick start the use of Skills Builder in the new school year and get a buzz around the school for essential skills. I also plan to hold coffee meetings with parents to discuss careers and potentially a careers fayre towards the end of the year.
South East England
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Secondary School
Ashton Community Science College
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Secondary School

Ashton Community Science College

This content was written by
Ashton Community Science College
Context
Ashton Community Science College (ACSC) is a secondary school situated in the heart of the city of Preston. We are a true community school and provide our students with not only academic success, but also develop their personal skills and attributes for life after ACSC. We have approximately 45% Pupil Premium students and large cohorts of under achieving boys.
Overall impact
We are pleased to see that students now know and can recall key employability skills and are able to discuss when they have used them.
Keep it simple
To widen understanding of the essential skills we updated our website to reflect our focus on these essential skills. We incorporated Skills Builder into our daily Form Time programme and created resources which ran along side the online videos. We also created a specific merit award for students who demonstrate one of the Skills Builder attributes in lessons.
Start early, keep going
We decided to get involved with Skills Builder to raise aspirations for all and to provide opportunities for our students to reflect on key employability skills. We wanted all of students to be involved with essential skills learning so our programme starts in Year 7, and runs all the way through to Year 11.
Measure it
Too often our students did not know skills that would be beneficial in the future, but also which skills they did already possess and use regularly. To address this, each student receives their own Skills Builder workbook for each academic year which allows them to reflect and to track progress in how their essential skills develop over time.
Focus tightly
The aim for embedding Skills Builder into our school curriculum was to ensure our students know a wide range of essential skills, understand that they are transferable and be able to recognise their own skills and highlight which they need to improve. Our form tutors use the Skills Builder Hub to directly teach short lessons to build essential skills, and they are also offered the opportunity to take part in regular training.
Keep practising
We have an outstanding student leadership programme, including the school council, which allows our students the chance to develop their skills. We also have whole school competitions and projects such as Dragon's Den.
Bring it to life
We ask employers to discuss the Skills Builder skills in detail when they visit school or carry out an online interview. This again brings to life the importance of these skills and allows students to listen to how they are used in the world of work.
What's next
We would like to build off the work so far to better engage parents and communicate with them around the importance of essential skills and how they support their children's development.
North West England
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Primary School
Beacon Primary Academy
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Primary School

Beacon Primary Academy

This content was written by
Beacon Primary Academy
Context
Beacon Primary Academy opened in 2014 and is a one-form entry school, with 30 pupils in each class. We are in a seaside town which is a tourist hotspot during the summer months and we have a high proportion of children that are disadvantaged. We wanted to get involved with Skills Builder as the main aim we have as a whole academy is to provide our children with the skills and knowledge that they need to enable them to achieve their goals in life. Our curriculum is heavily designed to provide pupils with the skills and knowledge to be independent as well as resilient and capable learners, enterprising and creative contributions, respectful and informed citizens and, finally, healthy and confident individuals. We knew that Skills Builder Accelerator would sit hand in hand with our curriculum intent and provide staff with the ability to really embed these skills into all aspects of school life so that they are ingrained into staff and pupils thinking. Enabling us to equip our pupils with all the skills they need to lead successful lives and have belief in themselves.
Overall impact
The impact of the Accelerator programme has been fantastic, the programme is easy to follow, easy to implement and has been easy to make sustainable. Staff love the fact that it is all there at your fingertips, such as the Short Lessons and the Projects. Any member of staff is able to deliver the sessions and they are quick and engaging. Our pupils have enjoyed really learning about what each skills means and how they can make progress in the skills, they are also excited to see how the skills are transferable into other lessons and areas of life. The 'Dream Space' project was a personal favourite: it is fabulous to see the children enjoying, learning and being engrossed in an area that they designed and created. It is a great feeling knowing that the children we care for on a day-to-day basis are being equipped with essential skills that will assist them for the rest of their lives.
Keep it simple
Our Careers and Employability learning (Building Futures) programme now consists of explicitly taught skill sessions and are carefully planned on each class teacher's mid-term and weekly plans. All classrooms have the essential skills on display so that they can be referred to at all times. Some classes also have the skill tokens that are able to be put alongside practical activities to highlight the skills that are being used. There is a working wall display in the main hall, highlighting work from the whole school and linking them to the essential skills. Stickers with the skills on have been created and are given to the children when they are demonstrating the skills well. The skills used in lessons are added onto the learning objectives so that the children have a visual reminder of the skills they are using. Our Celebration Assembly includes awards given for use of and progression of skills. All teachers now see the Skills Builder language as a normal part of all lessons.
Start early, keep going
Our essential skill teaching when we began our programme included children in Year 1 to Year 6, ensuring that the delivery of Skills Builder sessions built up until they were delivered weekly. Throughout the year, we realised the positive impact the essential skill teaching was having and decided to include the Early Years and Foundation Stage into the programme too. Parents have been informed of the essential skills as they have been added to our visual curriculum intent and 'Building Futures' policy documents. Through the blended learning brought by lockdown, parents have had the opportunity to experience and get involved in Skills Builder sessions.
Measure it
We unsure understanding of the essential skills by holding regular staff meetings for Continuous Professional Development, questionnaires sent to staff and having an open door policy if anyone needs anything clarifying. Our Skills Builder Education Associate has also been very helpful ensuring there is a good understanding of the skills. Most staff members are now in the swing of using the formative assessment tool provided by the Skills Builder platform. Some classes have noticed that one or two essential skills have needed more work, and so have explicitly focused on those skills. Year group teams are encouraged to have conversations about the progress their classes are making during planning meetings.
Focus tightly
Regular opportunities to build essential skills are given by skills being embedded through everyday classroom language and links continuously made throughout all lessons. Weekly 'Building Future' sessions take place in every classroom and this includes explicit Skills Builder sessions. Skills also enhanced in other provision available at playtime and lunchtime with resources provided to encourage skill progression.
Keep practising
Staff give children the chance to practise their essential skills by incorporating the essential skills and language into other lessons. This is done in a range of ways: for example, using the skills displays in each classroom and displaying the skills symbols on learning objectives. We have ample opportunities to discuss ways that the essential skills can be linked into other areas of life and other lessons that are not direct Skills Builder lessons. We have also had a range of staff that have delivered the projects and found these very engaging for the children and enabled them to practise their essential skills.
Bring it to life
Alongside using the programme to help our children see how these central skills work in wider life, we also discuss on regular occasions how essential skills contribute to wider life. We are lucky to be able to provide our children with many employer encounters which is an essential part of our 'Building Futures' programme to broaden and raise aspirations. We always ensure our employers discuss how the essential skills contribute to their daily life. One successful and meaningful experience for the children was an assembly highlighting staff's personal work journey, discussing the skills they have needed along their journeys. Children are always given the opportunity to ask questions to the employers during encounters to help gain a deeper understanding.
What's next
The plan going forward is to continue to use the essential skills as part of our Building Futures programme, embedding it deeper into everyday school life and beyond. We will continue to build on our rewards system so that the essential skills are more focused and celebrated. One thing we would like to build is Principle 5 (Keep practising) and incorporate the skills into extra-curricular activities as well as life outside of school. We will address the challenges that measuring the impact has highlighted although there are already ideas for how we can improve on this. It will be good to continue on the Skills Builder journey and teach our children the essential skills needed for their lives.
East Midlands
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Primary School
Bonners Church of England School
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Primary School

Bonners Church of England School

This content was written by
Bonners Church of England School
Context
Bonners CofE Primary School and nursery has about 120 pupils from age 2 - 11. It is a small, village school serving the village of Maresfield. EYFS and Key Stage 1 have single year groups and Key Stage 2 has mixed age classes of Years 3 & 4, and Years 5 & 6. Last year we began to implement careers-related learning into our curriculum to fit in with our learning journeys, to expose our pupils to many different types of careers and the skills they need to develop for these jobs and to inspire them to work towards a goal. Alongside this, we began teaching them the 8 essential skills and wanted to develop and embed this this year as part of preparing them for the future world of work.
Overall impact
As a school we have embedded careers-related learning and the Skills Builder approach into our school. It has formed part of our school development plan and has been added to our termly planning and timetabling. Having received training, staff felt confident to begin explicit teaching of these skills. Before this, it was just hoped children would, over time, gradually become better at listening, speaking, etc or just accepted that some children didn't listen or couldn't work well with others. Now we are helping them to develop these skills and preparing them for their futures as well as helping them become better learners. We are providing them with opportunities to practice these skills and make them relevant to real life and careers. We have involved our parents by getting them to come into school and talk about their careers with a focus on the skills they use on a daily basis, and we have kept them informed through sharing our termly plans and in our newsletters about the skills we are learning each term. We have also involved parents in working on these skills with their children by using the home learning tasks on Seesaw during lockdown. The children have been able to see how the skills help them now with their learning but also why these skills are important in the future world of work. We aim to inspire them for their future and teach them the skills needed for this.
Keep it simple
The 8 essential skills are displayed in each class and there is a display in the hall with the current skill being taught. We begin each new skill with a whole school assembly to introduce it. This is shared with parents in our newsletter. We teach one skill at a time which forms part of our termly plans and use the assessment tool to select the appropriate step to focus on with our classes. We follow the lessons for the step we are teaching and use the language provided in the lesson plans in the Skills Builder Framework. At the end of the skill, we reassess the class to see progress made. Staff have received online training in how to use the Framework and all classes use this approach. Children are rewarded at the end of a skill by receiving certificates in a celebration assembly and a photo of this is shared with parents on Seesaw and in our newsletter. Teachers are also able to comment on the achievements of pupils in terms of their essential skills in reports.
Start early, keep going
All pupils from Reception to Year 6 are taught the 8 essential skills, with the whole school focusing on the same skill at the same time, using the steps appropriate for them following assessment by each class teacher. This is timetabled for 1 session a week for each class. These skills are fundamental to their learning in school as well as in their future lives and have been embedded into our termly plans and our school development plan. Parents have been involved by sharing home learning tasks on Seesaw to practice at home. Parents are kept informed of what skills each class is covering in our newsletters, on our termly topic grids which are shared with parents and in our celebration assembly where photos are shared on Seesaw with parents.
Measure it
The Skills Builder Hub assessment tools for each skill are used before beginning each skill to ensure that the teaching is right for the majority of pupils in the class and then adjusted after teaching that skill. This way progress can be measured for each class to see how effective the lessons have been. This has been really helpful in choosing which step to begin teaching and in seeing progress the pupils have made. Pupils are also asked to self-reflect on how they have improved in that skill or used strategies they have learned to help them be successful.
Focus tightly
Skills are explicitly taught in a dedicated lesson each week by each class. This way we can help pupils become better at, for example, working as a team, listening to others or speaking out in front of others, and so on, rather than hoping they will just become better at it with age. We are giving them the tools and strategies to actively work on these skills. Having had the training and having access to the Skills Builder Framework has enabled us to deliver effective lessons with good resources and activities to carry out to improve these skills which they will use throughout their lives. Planning for these sessions on our termly plans and sharing these on Seesaw with parents ensure that all classes are teaching the skills each week.
Keep practising
The school curriculum gives opportunities to practice these 8 skills throughout the school day. Teachers make reference to the skills in different lessons and activities and make it explicit when they can use these skills and see them in action. This makes the skills relevant to the children's lives. The Skills Builder lessons give opportunity for explicit teaching of the skills, but the wider curriculum gives opportunity to put the skills into practice and use strategies taught in everyday life to develop their skills. As well as our usual weekly lessons, children have been given the opportunity to practice these skills in events we have throughout the year - for example, our 7 billion ideas project, the Fiver challenge, Kit car racing, sports day and school plays. When any problems arise, teachers make reference back to the skills and remind children of what can be done to resolve them, such as working as a team or listening and get the children to suggest strategies that we have learnt that may help.
Bring it to life
Alongside teaching the 8 essential skills, we have over the past 2 years been implementing careers-related learning into our curriculum. Links are make wherever possible with what we are learning to the world of work and the skills required for the careers we are learning about. Before lockdown we had parents with specific careers deliver a whole school assembly where they talked about their job and the skills needed for that role, including an animator and a banker. We also had visits from the police and NatWest bank to do the same. Some classes have signed up to FarmerTime and get a virtual visit to a farm every 2 weeks to find out about a career in farming. We have also signed up to Primary Futures and hope to have further visits and visitors once restrictions are lifted.
What's next
The Skills Builder approach has been established successfully throughout our school, including in EYFS, and during this year we have amalgamated with the nursery, so next year we plan to also introduce it to the whole Early Years team. As restrictions are lifted, we hope to have more visitors to school and visits to work places, with a focus on the skills that are needed for that career and keep up the good work we have begun over the past 2 years.
South East England
scotland
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north-east
north-west
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Special School
Brook Green Centre for Learning
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Special School

Brook Green Centre for Learning

This content was written by
Brook Green Centre for Learning
Context
Brook Green is a SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) school for students aged 11-16 who have moderate learning difficulties. As a careers team, we appreciate the value of core skills in preparing our young people for the many transitions they face in their chosen careers path. The Skills Builder programme provides an ideal opportunity for our students to explore and discuss these core skills, suitable for all abilities and age ranges.
Overall impact
The programme has given teachers and students an opportunity to focus on the core skills, which has been particularly relevant during the Covid-19 restrictions. The emphasis on raising confidence, resilience and essential skills has been vital in integrating students back into their academic studies. Many students struggled to integrate back into the school environment, so the core skills took prevalence over academic studies as one had a direct influence on the other. For example, if a student struggled to listen and focus on the task in hand, then it impacted their academic performance. Building confidence around the core skills was essential.
Keep it simple
All classrooms have a poster of the 8 essential skills on their tutor noticeboard. Skills Builder forms part of the strategic planning of the Careers programme which is published on the school website for both parents and students. The language is also used as part of our marking feedback and is displayed using stickers in students' work.
Start early, keep going
Students of all ages have regular and planned opportunities to practise essential skills. All Key Stage 3 students have a 'Learning in the Natural Environment' day each week to build resilience, problem solving, teamwork and other essential skills. All Key Stage 4 students participate in the Duke of Edinburgh challenge in Year 10/11 and the Skills Builder headings and skills are referred to throughout the course.
Measure it
Some teachers use the skills assessment tools to measure progress but this remains an area for development. The teachers who have used it effectively comment on how useful it is and how engaging it for the students, particularly in Year 7 and 8. The aim is for the teachers who do use it effectively, spread the word and encourage more staff to use it.
Focus tightly
All Key Stage 3 students have Building Blocks on their weekly timetable which is allocated time to work on the essential skills alongside tutor-based activities. Key Stage 4 students have one tutor lesson a week in which the skills can be taught but it usually forms part of 'Preparing for Adulthood' which utilises the skills. The students who do not study for formal exams have 'Life Skills' timetabled in for 6 lessons a week and the skills are taught more explicitly as it is more appropriate for these students to have more time to develop the essential skills.
Keep practising
All students are given the opportunity to practise the essential skills as part of collapsed timetable days such as Maths Day, World Book Day, RE (Religious Education) Days and National Careers Week. The students can participate in activities such as orienteering, navigation on Dartmoor, presentation of projects from RE day, Students volunteer as part of their Duke of Edinburgh studies and again have the chance to build on the essential skills outside their comfort zone. The BTEC Sports students assist at sporting events for students with a variety of difficulties as part of their studies. All students have access to a variety of extra-curricular activities such as sailing, learning in the natural environment etc. Key Stage 3 students have an 'Activities Passport' that records a variety of activities and links them to each skill. For example, visiting a local charity to find out how you can support them links to Listening skills, or making a game and teaching someone how to play it links to Speaking and Creativity.
Bring it to life
All students have the opportunity to visit a workplace or meet with employers throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. We have a record sheet that forms part of their employability record to reflect on the impact of their experience. One of the questions asked the students which essential skill(s) the experience linked to. This provides evidence for future employers and assists with Post-16 college applications and interviews. All students complete at least 1 work experience placement in Year 10 and 11. A number of our Year 10 and 11 students took part in an external work experience opportunity as part of 'Build Plymouth' and their record was a graph using the essential skills. All students have the opportunity to develop their essential skills outside the classroom through offsite projects, work experience and volunteer work such as such as Duke of Edinburgh in Year 10 and 11.
What's next
The main challenge is to keep the momentum going and to ensure all staff recognise the importance of building the core skills and utilising the programme effectively. It is also important to train up new staff to ensure there is continuity with the programme. Hopefully, the next year will give us more of an opportunity to safely participate in more extra-curricular activities, giving the students even more of an opportunity to practise the essential skills.
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Primary School
Buckden CofE Primary School
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Primary School

Buckden CofE Primary School

This content was written by
Buckden CofE Primary School
Context
We are a village church primary school and a stand alone academy in semi-rural Cambridgeshire. We were writing our school curriculum a few years ago and felt strongly that our school curriculum should not be all knowledge based and needed to include skills. Skills Builder offered us a structure and a form of assessment, as well as some amazing resources that we could plan into our curriculum. We also appreciated the support and guidance that came as part of the package so we could ensure that it became embedded.
Overall impact
We feel that the Skills Builder Accelerator programme has given the teachers a structure and the resources to give the students the opportunity to both learn about and celebrate their skills with each other and the wider community when we hold our community days and the children are able to explain the process they have gone through and the skills they needed to get to the end point. Skills Builder Pojects like the Community Cafe bring things to life and give the students a purpose.
Keep it simple
Skills Builder is part of our curriculum and we use the language daily with the children, we use the icons on the board alongside any steps for success to allow them to see what skill is the focus. we plan in the Skills Builder Projects to do once a term to fit in with our school curriculum. We are also awarding the children with tokens when these skills are shown and giving certificates.
Start early, keep going
We use Skills Builder with our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to Year 6 - children are are aware of the language and the skill steps. During periods of remote learning, we gave parents and children at home the opportunity through the Home Learning Hub to choose a challenge once a week of a skill they would like to improve.
Measure it
We are using the Skills Builder Hub assessment tool and this has been insightful as we can see where there are strengths and weaknesses. It allows us to plan in accordingly and of course celebrate too.
Focus tightly
We use the short lessons on the Skills Builder Hub to work on those skills that we have assessed as weaker. We also use the Skills Builder Projects termly to allow the children to work on and demonstrate those skills through using and applying. We have also been looking at how some of the Projects could support some of our pupils with special educational needs.
Keep practising
We have extra curricular opportunities which allow the children to build on these skills, such as variety of sports clubs where they may look at Teamwork, Staying Positive or Leadership and a gardening club where we may consider Problem Solving, Teamwork, Staying Positive and Creativity to name but a few.
Bring it to life
We hold an Aspirations Day bi-annually for the children aged 7 - 11. We ask our parents and friends of the school to come in. We organise the trades and professions into rooms, such as health which would have doctors, nurses, occupational health, surgeons. The children visit each room to discuss the skills that are needed for these professions. We also have the projects planned into the curriculum and the children share these with the parents on a community day several times a year.
What's next
We want to return to all the good practise we had established prior to periods of remote learning. We'd also like to hold a Challenge Day for the whole school in the Autumn term. We plan to use Skills Builder as a focus for some of our extra curricular clubs. We would also like to include Skills Builder in our reporting system to parents and would like to look at ways we can do this for children individually.
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Secondary School
Castle View Enterprise Academy
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Secondary School

Castle View Enterprise Academy

This content was written by
Castle View Enterprise Academy
Context
Our mission is that all students achieve their personal best and at the heart of all of our work is the well-being of our students. Through the use of Skills Builder, we can transform our curriculum so that our students can develop transferable employability skills and the skills they will need to be successful in their future life and work. We see personal development and careers education as a driving force behind the social mobility of our students. Many of our students do not have access to the role models and social networks required to understand the employability skills required by employers so we need to provide this for them. Through the use of Skills Builder to truly integrate careers education and personal development into all curriculum areas and aspects of Academy life, we feel that we will be able to effectively prepare our students for the next stage in their education training or employment and equip them with the skills that they need to be successful. Castle View is currently part of the second phase of the Ford NGL (Academies of Nashville) project in the UK in partnership with the Edge Foundation and the North East LEP. As part of this project, the school have designed a leaver profile for your students which has been developed with our employer links, community links, parents, students and staff. They have used Skills Builder as a framework for this leaver profile so that they can use Skills Builder throughout the Academy to support students in developing the skills which have been identified by our community as being vital for their future success. The schools uses Skills Builder during tutor time, PSCHE, curriculum subjects and also within enrichment extra-curricular provision.
Overall impact
Skills Builder will gives staff and students the scaffolding they need to truly be able to understand not just what these skills are and why they are important, but how they can develop these skills and also raise their awareness of the opportunities throughout the Academy which can support them to do this.
Keep it simple
Castle View is currently part of the second phase of the Ford NGL (Academies of Nashville) project in the UK in partnership with the Edge Foundation and the North East LEP. As part of this project, the school have designed a leaver profile for your students which has been developed with our employer links, community links, parents, students and staff. All classrooms feature the Skills Builder icons which are referred to during lessons. The school reward system is based around Class Charts. Students are rewarded for demonstrating the Essential Skills through Class Charts reward points. The students who gain the most Skill points are rewarded with a queue jumper pass for lunch. Staff have added the Skills Builder icons to their mid term plans to show which Skills are being used by students during particular modules and lessons. The Skill icons are included on lesson PowerPoints and resources.
Start early, keep going
All KS3 tutors are using the Skills Builder Hub to baseline students and track progress. This has helped to ensure staff are teaching the Skills at the correct step. All students have has Skills Builder teaching in PHSE and through curriculum time. All parents have been emailed to inform them about Skils Builde and Skills Builder is a focus on the school website. The Skills Builder home learning hub challenges have been shared on the school website and the latest news updates. The Classcharts app tells parents and carers when students have been rewarded for their effort in demonstrating their Essential skills. Analysis from class charts rewards has been used to monitor the implementation of Skills Builder and staff buy-in.
Measure it
All KS3 tutors are using the Skills Builder hub to baseline students and track progress. This has helped to ensure staff are teaching the Skills at the correct step. The focus next year will be to support students to better reflect on their own Essential Skills and to support KS4 students to assess their Skills. KS4 may use Benchmark as opposed to the Hub.
Focus tightly
Staff have added the Skills Builder icons to their mid term plans to show which Skills are being used by students during particular modules and lessons. Explicit teaching has taken place during tutor time and in PHSE sessions. This has been tracked using the hub data and reports. A key priority for this year has been developing staff buy-in. Staff have been consistently reminded about the value of teaching essential Skills through the sharing of data, research and information. Staff have been consistently thanked and efforts celebrated through whole schools emails and idea sharing.
Keep practising
The Skill icons are included on lesson PowerPoints and resources. Staff are starting to use the step language when referring to these skills. Ensuring consistency in one of the key areas of development for next year. All classrooms feature the Skills Builder icons which are referred to during lessons. Staff have added the Skills Builder icons to their mid term plans to show which Skills are being used by students during particular modules and lessons. The Skill icons are included on lesson PowerPoints and resources. Staff are starting to use the step language when referring to these skills. The skills are explicitly referred to in extra-curricular and are linked via icons which are featured alongside the club titles when shown on screens around school. The aim for next year will be to support students to reflect on the skills they need to develop and how extra-curricular can support.
Bring it to life
Castle View is currently part of the second phase of the Ford Next Generation Learning (Academies of Nashville) project in the UK in partnership with the Edge Foundation and the North East LEP. As part of this project, the school have designed a leaver profile for your students which has been developed with our employer links, community links, parents, students and staff. Short videos have been recorded with employers. In each video an employee talks about their role, the Essential Skill which is most important for them, how they use this skill and tips to help students develop that skills. The Skills Builder icons are all featured on these videos. Speakers who come to come have been briefed about the Essential skills. This ensures everyone uses same language. Prior to the pandemic students did work experience for 2 - 3 days. This is planned again for next year.
What's next
We will continue to further embed Skills Builder, looking at curriculum development and measuring Skill progress in Key Stage 4.
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Primary School
Central & Bothal Primary Schools
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Primary School

Central & Bothal Primary Schools

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Central & Bothal Primary Schools
Context
The Ashington Learning Partnership (ALP) consists of two primary schools in Northumberland which collectively cater for 1,500 pupils from age 2-11, serving an area of significant deprivation. “Teaching children the employability skills from a young age allows them to pursue their interests with opportunities to change their mind at any point. All jobs need the skills, so there is no need to worry, and they can focus on the knowledge acquisition and enjoy learning knowing that these transferrable skills are being dealt with intrinsically.” Andy Roberts, Executive Principal. Developed over the last 15 years with local employers and consisting of resilience, communication, team-working, being safe, problem solving and self-motivation, these clearly resonate with the Skills Builder programme, so it was easy for us to embrace this approach. Interlinked with the school core values they ensure that our children are fully equipped to ‘Be the best they can be’.
Overall impact
The use of the Hub has addressed the challenge of assessing skills to further target and validate learning. A detailed common vocabulary is shared across the Trust which has supported staff development and subsequent provision designed within the Skills Passports. Skill Steps have enabled pupils to make progression within skills at an enhanced level. The Skills Builder quality resources have made skills learning accessible and enjoyable for the wider community.
Keep it simple
Skills are intrinsic to the curriculum intent and implemented through curriculum passports - for example, ‘Sustainability Ambassadors’. Skills development is embedded in medium-term plans, pupil and staff books/planners and are celebrated by the community through the Ashington Learning Partnership radio station. The Teaching and Learning profile details the delivery of skills through the science of learning. Professional development meetings afford opportunities for staff to use deliberate practice to refine their skills teaching. Staff's Continuous Professional Development has focussed on exposition and skills. Staff have had slack core groups and once a week have discussed skills and shared practice from these groups. Parent meetings have a skills focus. Every Parents Evening, a child gets a skills progress report. Assemblies all focus on skills.
Start early, keep going
'Everything we do starts at two' - Pre-school staff use skills maps to shape learning design resulting in the introduction of listening stations and dedicated Skills Builder storytime. Parents are actively engaged through SeeSaw and collaboration with our onsite LINK family support centre.
Measure it
Using the Skills Builder Hub has allowed us to further personalise skills development for all through a shared understanding of progressive steps. Mini-pupil case studies are utilised to analyse skills alongside development gaps to ensure individual plans fully interact with the curriculum offer and targets are further refined for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Staff have reflected upon the unique needs of their classes through call groups and used this information to spotlight class priorities. All Education, Health and Care Plans now have Skills Builder targets. Matched against the early years core expectation framework. All staff from the Senior Leadership Team have done a case study of a student who was struggling with behaviour, tracked them and assessed their skills and then made teaching recommendations based on this.
Focus tightly
Planning has contained a specific skill focus for a number of years. Skills Builder has allowed us to further refine our approach. Recent examples (in addition to the core offer) include reintegration following lockdown with explicit teaching of Listening and Teamwork through projects such ‘Farming Live’ and ‘Best-Selling Author' - Key Stage 2 pupils record their skills journey in their reflective journal in Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) and discuss this alongside their career aspirations.
Keep practising
Skills are embedded in the curriculum from 2-11. In addition to the core curriculum offer, extra-curricular learning is offered through a remote platform where weekly Skills Challenges for families are shared. Parents actively engage in praising their children’s skills development and share their efforts - our favourites include the 'Family Band', 'Drone Challenge' and 'Weather Watch'. We are currently working with a number of charities to offer a wraparound community offer. An extension of the curriculum, extra-curricular activities are badged against the Skills Passports. Similarly, our PE (Physical Education) department are looking at healthy living which is badged against the passports and skill development.
Bring it to life
Progressive opportunities are built into the curriculum for children to engage in real-life experiences including Arup, BMW, AkzoNobel; Wild About Adventure, Primary Engineer as well as the Challenger Space centre. Outdoor provision including the recent development of an enchanted garden complement this offer. The Trust is about to undertake assessment for completion of the primary career benchmarks. The narrative is about skills to give opportunity and change. During lockdown employers have been sending in blogs which set weekly skills challenges for the students, alongside explaining their job. The whole curriculum is designed around careers and sectors. This is built into the entire offer as opposed to one-off days. Highlighted by Ofsted, focussing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), careers and skills may help to limit the issue of brain drain in the North East. The school took out a stand at the Chamber of Commerce and students went to speak to employers to find out the skills which they needed and how they would be useful. Students then reported back and discussed why skill development was important in school.
What's next
We want to utilise the Skills Builder framework to underpin support staff appraisal and training with a particular focus on lunchtime staff. We also want to further refine deliberate practice of skills through the teaching and learning mechanisms at the Ashington Learning Partnership (ALP), as well as further develop the ALP's strategy for hybrid learning, including skills at the core of parental engagement and contribution to assessment.
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Primary School
Chorleywood Primary School
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Primary School

Chorleywood Primary School

This content was written by
Chorleywood Primary School
Context
We are an outstanding primary school who are committed to the development of the whole child. We wanted to equip our pupils with all the skills, mental health and well-being strategies and academic skills and knowledge to succeed and excel in life.
Overall impact
We think the programme has been very successful, despite the challenges of Covid. The Skills Builder approach has really become embedded in school life. Teachers are much more confident to incorporate the essential skills in lessons and pupils are responding well and are now identifying their successes and the successes of their peers. It has really developed into a whole school approach.
Keep it simple
We discuss the essential skills in assemblies of the skills. as well as having displays about them in every class. We also set a weekly skill of the week which is displayed on every classroom door and pupils receive certificates in our weekly celebration assembly for successfully demonstrating that skill. In lessons, we set a skill objective as well as a learning objective. The skills have been build in to the long term subject plans. As part of our Dream Big initiative pupils hear from a range of adults about the job they do and what essential skills are involved.
Start early, keep going
We include all learners in the Skills Builder programme. We have shared information with parents through newsletters and there is also a section on our website about Skills Builder. All classes have displays in their room from Nursery through to Year 6.
Measure it
We use the online assessment tools to track the essential skill levels of the cohort, identifying gaps which will inform future planning. As we have a Skill of the Week, the skills and steps are referred to and revisited regularly. This really aids teacher review and assessment. As successful demonstration of the weekly skill is identified during the week and someone from each class receives a certificate to celebrate this, the children are motivated to demonstrate the skills and identify which step they have achieved. Pupils in each class are encouraged to tell an adult if they identify one of their peers demonstrating the skill.
Focus tightly
We ensure that building essential skills is explicit and structured in several ways: Through promoting the weekly skill, by having discussions in assemblies each week, by using explicit lessons on the Skills Builder Hub, and by sharing a skill objective alongside the learning objective. In classroom monitoring I have observed teachers also asking students which skills will be used in the lesson and what approaches will be used to ensure the skills are successfully deployed. Peer feedback is often used in lessons too: teachers will ask what aspects were really successful and what could be further developed next time. Teachers consistently identify positive role models.
Keep practising
Reference to the skills is consistent in all aspects of the school life and I think the next steps will be to share it with external clubs that run in school. The essential skills are identified in all the long term curriculum plans so this supports the progressive and sequential approach to the curriculum. The weekly repetition allows a constant drip feeding of the skills.
Bring it to life
As part of our Key Stage 2 Dream Big career programme we have asked speakers to identify which essential skills are particularly relevant in their roles and any strategies they have developed to improve these skills over their careers. In preparation for sports week, the sports leader arranged for a visit from an professional athlete who was asked to refer specifically to his use of essential skills in his presentation.
What's next
To build off all the successes so far, we would like to have more involvement of parents and external club leads. We will continue to relate the skills to real life where possible so pupils really see why they matter.
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Secondary School
City of London Academy Highgate Hill
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Secondary School

City of London Academy Highgate Hill

This content was written by
City of London Academy Highgate Hill
Context
City of London Academy Highgate Hill is a mixed KS3/KS4 inner city state school located in Islington. It is part of a Multi-Academy Trust committed to developing students skills, (termed Fusion Skills) in preparation for the world of work. Following a NESTA report commissioned by COLAT it was identified that there was a genuine skills gap when it came to employer expectations from a range of sectors compared to the skills set garnered by students when leaving education. Through a longitudinal programme of collaborative projects and various tracking methodologies the Trust's aims is to narrow the skills gap and empower students for the future jobs market.
Overall impact
I believe our community has built solid foundations this academic year in terms of using a common language around skills. Senior leaders have also noted the importance of continued development of skills with out students and have made this a continued priority for the next academic year, (especially in terms of communication and oracy skills.) This will further galvanise our approach to skills education as we move forward. Another focus from the MAT will be to develop more collaborative projects across all schools in 2021-2022 and as the English/Culture Mile project was a success and positive case study, this will be an exciting opportunity to make further collaborative connections in developing Fusion Skills.
Keep it simple
Our main focus for this academic year was to build awareness of the essential skills among our students, teachers and parents. To raise the profile of the essential skills we used a combination of teacher training, visual cues in classrooms, (including Skills Builder posters and adding the icons to lesson resources) and in lesson planning and communication with parents/students both through traditional means and through online platforms such as Google Classroom. This helped us to ensure that the language we use around skills is consistent and that this is recognised by staff, parents and students. Our aim was also to work closely with a department to develop a case study that demonstrated outstanding practice and could be shared as an exemplar with the whole school. This was achieved through a collaborative project with Culture Mile/London Metropolitan Archives and our English department with a focus on creativity.
Start early, keep going
Through PSHCE and assemblies we have highlighted the need for students to develop their Fusion Skills and this is being further developed in all areas of the curriculum. For us to effectively build our students skills our community is aware that we see these essential skills as being important all the way through education and at all ages. We are working towards a strategy where students in Year 7 will build on their skills throughout their time with us and can articulate their development coherently. Skills that are often 'taken for granted' such as 'listening skills' are purposefully highlighted so students become aware of the relevance of everything they do in the classroom.
Measure it
With the collaborative project with Culture Mile the essential skills were included into a student workbook where students were asked to reflect and record their pre-project ability and then their skills development after the project. This was individual assessment and an area for development as the next steps will be to use benchmarking tools within the hub. This has been written into schemes of work for 2021-2022.
Focus tightly
Our plan is to focus tightly on specific areas for 2021-2022 which were highlighted through our work this academic year. More specifically we will be continuing to develop creative skills within our community but also move from a numeracy foci to one of literacy - communication skills and oracy skills will be tracked and lessons/SOW developed through using the resources from the Skills Builder Hub.
Keep practising
Both regular curriculum time and enrichment offers a variety of projects whereby students can develop and practice their essential skills. Collaborative and creative projects are encouraged and the focus this academic year has been on Creativity, leadership and creative problem solving in particular. Both regular curriculum time and enrichment offers a variety of projects whereby students can develop and practice their essential skills. Collaborative and creative projects are encouraged and our focus this academic year has been on creativity, leadership and creative problem solving. We have made links with other outside providers, (for example, EtonX) so our students have access to high level opportunities for skills development.
Bring it to life
All subject areas are asked to link topic areas to skills development and career opportunities. In PSHCE and English all topic areas/Scheme of Work have skill icons highlighting the skills development garnered during various activities and learning opportunities. We work with a variety of outside providers, such as Business in the Community and there are various challenges both in curriculum time and in enrichment times, such as Dragon's Den challenges.
What's next
We are aiming to further develop all aspects to our approach to skills education in 2021-2022. This will be through continued CPD with staff in September where they will learn about the communication/literacy and oracy drive across the Academy. As part of this we have applied for Art Council Funding to facilitate further collaborations and methodologies around benchmarking/tracking, (for example, working with Voice21 and naturally the Skills Builder Partnership).
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Special School
Cleeve Meadow School
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Special School

Cleeve Meadow School

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Cleeve Meadow School
Context
We are a school for students aged from 11- 19 who have moderate learning difficulties, with associated communication difficulties. We opened officially in 2019, and currently have students in Years 7-9 . Statistically young people with additional needs are far less likely to gain employment in adulthood, compared to their neurotypical peers. As a school we are passionate about changing this statistic for our young people, but knew we had to do something practical to succeed. Therefore when we found the Skills builder programme, we felt it would be the perfect programme for us to support our students in building up essential employment skills, using practical, real life tools and activities.
Overall impact
The students have gained a great deal of confidence in their own abilities, as well as developing other skills that we may not have covered without the Skills Builder Accelerator programme. Students are using the Skills Builder language to describe the skills they have learned, and are able to reflect more positively and accurately on their own abilities. In terms of staff, the programme has really focused attention on the essential skills students need for adulthood and employment, and this has meant a real focus across the curriculum and the school on developing and refining these skills. It has been a real privilege to have seen the students over a period of uncertainty and remote learning, still being able to develop skills such as Staying Positive and Teamwork, and using this as a positive experience to broaden their horizons.
Keep it simple
There is a Skills Builder display in all classrooms for teachers and students to reference the essential skills being taught that term. Classroom doors have a skills target sheet showing what skill and step is being worked on alongside the students who have demonstrated skills, as well as a Skills champion of the week, showing the student who has best demonstrated the skills each week - this student is then awarded a skill certificate. Curriculum plans and overviews also have the skills embedded.
Start early, keep going
We use the inclusive skill passports to document the small steps of progress. In lessons, skills are referred to, to show how they transfer across all lessons and experiences. We held a Taskmaster Day, for students in school and those at home, linked to the skills. This enabled parents at home to see how Skills Builder works, and students got to complete a Skills Builder checklist of the skills they felt they had used. All students work on explicit skill sessions, with opportunities to apply focus skills across curriculum and through project-based learning. Students have been able to plan their own projects, bid for funding and then execute the project. During our Year 7 summer school, students completed a project focused on the skill of Speaking in order to assess and develop their presentation skills, as well as introducing them to the Skills Builder programme
Measure it
Staff baseline students on the Skills Builder Hub, and then record a final skill step level on there at the end of each skill focus. Students complete passports to show what they have achieved across a term/ topic. The Skills Builder Hub is really helpful to see visually where students are, as well as being able to use it to plan next steps and find resources. The passports are helpful as students are able to take ownership of their own learning and skill development, as well as giving staff an insight into how students feel they are progressing. All students have a skills folder containing skill checklists as well as the skills passports.
Focus tightly
All subject schemes of work have a Skills Builder focus attached to them to ensure the skills are being used across the whole curriculum. We use focus skills and skill displays to reference skills across subject areas.
Keep practising
We have regular opportunities for our students to practise the skills, both within the curriculum and as a focus for off timetable days. We held a Taskmaster Day and an Escape Room Day which had a Problem Solving focus. All students had an opportunity to participate at home and in school. and we found with our home learners, it was the highest participation and engagement during remote learning. Projects are planned with/by students using focus skills to identify areas of learning. We have been fortunate to have had some outside visitors come to support us with our skills, including a meaningful Mastery Project Day, an Empathy Lab reading session, as well as a florist and mechanic visiting to teach practical employment skills, alongside the Skills Builder skills. We also had a virtual Careers Week, focusing on the creative industries, which enabled students to discuss which of the skills were important in each industry and why.
Bring it to life
The student-led projects supported students to focus on specific skills and thinking about what they already knew and what they still needed to work on. During the Taskmaster Day of challenges and the Escape Room students worked specifically on Problem Solving and Teamwork skills. During Careers Week the students created costumes out of paper and other recycled items, using their Teamwork, Problem Solving and Creativity skills. We have had several employer talks, employer visits and a Virtual Careers Week - where students could relate the essential skills to technical skills and other areas of learning.
What's next
Next year, we are rolling out the project scheme further and having project afternoons once a week, where students will plan, bid for funding, carry out their project and then plan and deliver an exhibition of their project to the rest of the school and parents at the end. Underpinning each project will be at least one Skills Builder skill
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Primary School
Clerkenwell Parochial CofE Primary School
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Primary School

Clerkenwell Parochial CofE Primary School

This content was written by
Clerkenwell Parochial CofE Primary School
Context
Clerkenwell Parochial Primary School is located in Islington. It is an inclusive, thriving community with a Christian foundation and a rich history. Children’s achievements are celebrated, the uniqueness of each child is valued and everyone is encouraged to live life in all its fullness. Clerkenwell Primary has fully embraced the Skills Builder programme this year to support children with skills they need throughout their life.
Overall impact
I believe implementing the essential skills in Clerkenwell has been very beneficial for all members of staff and the students, as we are all able to think about how we are using the skills within curriculum. It also has developed children's recognition that the staff are using them as well and that the skills are needed throughout their life.
Keep it simple
At Clerkenwell the essential skills have been displayed in the teacher's classrooms. Both teachers and children have felt this to be very helpful as they are consistently able to refer back to the skills in all areas of learning. Skills have also been incorporated into the children's learning intentions. The skills vary depending on what the children are learning. The children are able to self assess whether they have used the skills on their skills sheet they have been given. On the skills sheet, the children are given so many steps depending on the teacher's assessments and their age. Children are also given the opportunity to think about which step they are on/ achieved on their skills chart. Stars are handed out to the children depending on where they think they are on the steps. In Friday's celebration assembly, whoever has worked really hard on their skills gets a star and mention from the headteacher. Another child gets celebrated for making the most progress in terms of steps.
Start early, keep going
Clerkenwell has embedded the essential skills from Year 1 to Year 6. There are opportunities in every lesson for children to refer to one or more of the skills. All children have been introduced to the language and the younger years with reading and understanding the meaning of the steps that they are achieving. All the children are able to independently discuss and decide which step they are on and with support discuss the next step and their targets to achieve the given skill.
Measure it
At the beginning of the year and in the second term teachers used the hub to assess where the children were. Teachers were mainly using the learning intentions and skills sheet to recognise the children's individual need to assess and review each individual child and how they understood the essential skills. Teacher's were then able to review the intentions and the skills sheet to support the children in the following lesson.
Focus tightly
Clerkenwell has created a skills sheet with the icon and the steps that have been given to all the children. Depending on the skill focus within the lesson, the children are able to refer to it on their sheets. Each week, children listen to short clip from the Hub which focuses on one of the skills. This has supported all the children with using the correct language when discussing the skills. It has also, helped them understand how they can move on to the next steps within the skills.
Keep practising
The essential skills are embedded across all areas of the curriculum in learning intentions at Clerkenwell. The music teacher who comes in weekly also uses the skills, which encourages the children to consistently think about their skills. By creating opportunities consistently throughout the curriculum encourages the children to always think about their skills.
Bring it to life
Clerkenwell offers children many opportunities to work with theatre companies and create project-based work. This year the children have had opportunities of having Religious Education Christmas and Easter Prayer Days, as well as having a science week. The children have been encouraged to use the skills throughout their learning. Not only that, children have had the opportunity to work with The Little Angel theatre to create a film on the school's vision 'Aqua Viva'. At the end of each day, the children would come together and discuss what skill they have used and how they have used that skills. They then further discussed how they could achieve and work on the next step within the skill. Also the children at Clerkenwell have a weekly session with Peoplescape Theatre focusing on The Thames Project. At the end of the session, all the year groups share and discuss how they have used the 8 skills.
What's next
We school are working together with Skills Builder to continue to integrate essential skills education into the curriculum at all levels, so everyone who comes through the school is equipped with the essential skills to succeed beyond the school gates.
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Cranford Primary School
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Primary School

Cranford Primary School

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Cranford Primary School
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Cranford Primary School is a mixed school, which caters for children from Nursery through to Year 6. The children at Cranford Primary School come from many different cultural backgrounds; speak different languages and have different religions. We became involved with Skills Builder Accelerator so that we could prepare the children in our care with the skills needed for their future: in their future education; their future careers and their future lives.
Overall impact
I believe that the Accelerator programme has enhanced the children's ability to talk about and put in to practice the essential skills and at such a young age, too. It is evident, from watching the children play in the playground and observing the children in their lessons that they are continuing to build upon these essential skills of life. At this time, in particular, the programme has been vital to children's, as well as teachers and the wider community's, ability to remain focused and resilient.
Keep it simple
In most lessons, the essential skills are referred to on the Learning Intention and flip. This has allowed the children in connect with each skill regularly, where the teacher and adults use the language for each essential skill consistently. In addition to this practice, each classroom, from Reception through to Year 6, has a visual display of the essential skills icons; thus allowing children to constantly refer to them. Through adopting the above practice, the children have gained a clear understanding of the value of each skill.
Start early, keep going
Right from Reception, the children are introduced to the 8 essential skills through their lessons, outdoor play and extra-curricular sessions. From this very early age, children's skills in teamwork, listening and speaking are developed - this may involve the use of role play, games or simply being able to listen and talk to their peers and adults. Heading into Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, the children take part in Challenge Days throughout the course of the year and this year, Years 4, 5 and 6 have also been involved with virtual trips. By introducing events such as Arts Day and Careers Week, the children throughout the entire school, were able to put many of the essential skills into practice. This was evident throughout discussions, final pieces and displays.
Measure it
Using the Skills Builder Hub assessment tool and the descriptions associated with each step for each skill has enabled teachers to grasp a clearer understanding of where each child is within the class. Within lessons, teachers are encouraged to recognise children who have really demonstrated a particular focus skill and this is celebrated by awarding the child with a House Token.
Focus tightly
The Skills Builder Challenge Days have ensured that essential skills are established and then embedded. We ensure the posters and signposting on flipcharts allow pupils to regularly make reference and develop their essential skills. During observations this year, we have seen how the teachers consistently make reference to this.
Keep practising
Once a term, the children are immersed into a Skills Builder Challenge Day. This really does allow the children to put into practice the skills that have been taught and practised throughout the half term. Our new scheme of work in PE has allowed for many of the essential skills to be implemented, even without the children being aware of it! In addition to these, and as mentioned above, we plan and organised days such as Arts Day and Careers Week where skills are built upon even further. As a school, we have now been able to again offer various clubs, such as Sports, Arts and Dance.
Bring it to life
This year, we have been able to work with several employers to allow the children participating in the virtual trips to gain a better understanding of some of the skills required in the workplace. These opportunities have really been insightful for the children and has allowed them to ask questions about the skills required to carry out a particular job role within the employment area. Enabling the children to also participate in Challenge Days throughout the year has again assisted children in understanding the importance of why we teach the essential skills at school and how these link to the working world.
What's next
We hope to continue to build on the skills being incorporated across the curriculum. We have found that pupils are extremely articulate with discussing their outcomes from projects and we would like this to continue.
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Dairy Meadow Primary School
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Primary School

Dairy Meadow Primary School

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Dairy Meadow Primary School
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Our school is a two form entry from Nursery to year six. We are located in West London, in the borough of Ealing. We got involved with Skills Builder to develop essential skills throughout the curriculum, as well as building upon these life skills to support students' futures.
Overall impact
We are seeing a lot of impact to celebrate in our school. We are recognising students' progress with progress certificates are being given in assembly on a half termly basis . All teacher are assessing their class on the Hub after each project so that we can continue to see progress being made too.
Keep it simple
Instead of weekly lessons that often got 'side lined' we instead spend a whole week devoted to the projects and the 3 focus skills that we have chosen from the essential skills. We display the 8 essential skills in the classroom area to refer to throughout our daily teaching. We link them into our learning where possible and display relevant skills used on class displays around the school. We also link the skills with extra curricular activities like dance/sport clubs, letters to parents promoting skills, and encouraging using the skills in homework activities. Finally, we reinforce links to the skills through whole school assemblies, giving praise to students for displaying and demonstrating the skills.
Start early, keep going
All classes across the school are involved with teaching the essential skills from Nursery to Year 6. The skills are promoted through play, learning, online learning, assemblies. All children of all abilities are provided with opportunities to develop the skills- these can be differentiated, if needed - for example, through the language used to discuss the skills.
Measure it
We make regular use of the Skills Builder Hub to reflect on the needs and progress of our students at a class level.
Focus tightly
Some of the ways that we ensure explicit teaching of essential skills include the use of project weeks. More widely, we encourage the use of Skills builder vocabulary throughout teaching- referring to skill steps as often as possible through all lessons including sports clubs and after school clubs.
Keep practising
We work to give every student chances to practice their essential skills through project weeks and by also having a focus skill for the half term. This means that we have a focus on an individual essential skill for a sustained period. We also use the skill icons on lesson slides to help students make the connections between how they are using the skills in different areas of their learning and wider lives.
Bring it to life
We are using virtual tours to help bring to life how essential skills are used in the wider world. We are also bringing real-life outcomes into projects wherever possible - for example, Year 1 wrote letters for Santa and posted them in the local post box to bring one of their projects to life.
What's next
Looking forward, we want to continue to build on this year's success and everything that has been put in place. We will continue with a project week rather than weekly lessons, as this works well for our setting. We want to keep on top of data, reminding all staff to assess using the tool on the Hub so that we can continue to see and celebrate progress along the way.
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Danesholme Infant Academy
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Primary School

Danesholme Infant Academy

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Danesholme Infant Academy
Context
We are a large primary school in Corby, and we're part of the Greenwood Academies Trust.
Overall impact
For Teachers: The Accelerator programme has given teachers lots of opportunities for them to work effectively with their children to ensure they develop their children's skills. The Skills Builder Hub has a wealth of information for them to use to ensure they give their children every opportunity possible for them to succeed. Posters and information have been printed out and each class has a Skills Builder display board which the children can refer to. For Children: The children now have a wealth of knowledge which they can use to develop the skills they need for the world of work. They have access to activities which they use to role play the skills or demonstrate their skills. They have access to a display board in their classroom where they can have some of their skills development work displayed so they can refer back to it or discuss with their teacher of a visitor. Wider Community: Parents have commented on how much their child has developed in their skills. They have enjoyed being part of their child's skill development and this is very evident in the amount of evidence that parents have uploaded to the learning platforms.
Keep it simple
It was decided that every term two different essential skills would be addressed. This meant that from nursery through to Year 2 everyone was working on the same two skills. To ensure everybody understood what skills were being developed in each classroom, the skills were displayed on the classroom doors. Any member of staff or visitor would know, when they entered that classroom what skills they were working on for the term. This covered not just the skill explanation, but what the children needed to do to ensure they were developing that skill. This proved popular as anyone entering the class could talk to the children about their skills and how they were being developed. It was important that as skills were decided for the term these skills and how they could be met was also shared with parents via the newsletters. Parents were encouraged to send in photos of their children at home demonstrating the skills. This enhanced the whole home school approach as both parents and teachers were working together.
Start early, keep going
Our approach to Skills Builder has ensured it starts with our nursery children and follows through to our eldest Year 2 children. We felt as a staff that it was important that as we started this new initiative that everyone was included. Having a whole school approach also ensured that staff, including dinner supervisors and office staff knew that they could talk to every member of the school community about what skills they were working on. Parents are involved and are made aware of the specific skills being developed through newsletters at the beginning of term. The nursery and reception parents have access to an online platform called Tapestry where they can upload photos and share evidence that their child is developing in specific skills.
Measure it
When a new skill is introduced the children are made aware of what that looks like in practice. The children have the opportunity to discuss with the class what they could do to demonstrate that they are working on that skill. Staff complete the baseline assessment on the Skills Builder Hub. This is complemented by teachers talking with the children about where they think they are with their skill development which promotes more individualised feedback. Discussions with children appear to be the most effective way for staff to assess if their children have mastered their skills. To complement this, any evidence of a child performing their skill will be captured and kept in the child's notes for reference.
Focus tightly
Lessons and activities are chosen to ensure the children have a chance to build their essential skills. This may be through a specific lesson, for example when working towards the speaking skill the children may be asked to talk about what they have been learning. When working on a practical maths activity the children may be encouraged to work together, etc. In our classrooms there are always opportunities for independent continuous provision to be assessed. This means teachers can observe both a directed activity but also a child-initiated activity. The teachers are finding this very useful as it demonstrates how secure the child's skills are. Teacher observation is one of the strongest and most informative ways of assessing if a child understands the skill being developed. This is then recorded using Tapestry or One note.
Keep practising
Continuous provision is working well for the children to practice their skills. This gives the child opportunities to demonstrate the skills being developed. Once skills have been introduced and demonstrated in lessons the teachers ensure that they provide opportunities for the children to use the skills. Skills are planned for within lessons and also during outdoor learning opportunities. It was felt important that the children had opportunities to develop skills in all areas of school life. Children need to understand that 'aiming high' doesn't just occur in a maths lesson for example. As all members of school staff know which skills are being developed they can be reinforced in breakfast club, dinner time and in after-school clubs.
Bring it to life
As a school we pride ourselves in the work we do to develop a successful careers curriculum. Skills Builder enhances the careers curriculum as it enables our children to understand that in the world of work they need these essential skills. We talk to our children about their career aspirations and what skills they think they will need in order to be successful in their chosen careers. Teachers have observed children saying things for example 'I need to be a good listener as I want to be a nurse', 'I am aiming high as I want to be a teacher'. We invite visitors into school (online this year due to Covid) and the children ask these volunteers what skills they needed for their career. This has proved very successful and parents have also commented that their children know what skills they need for their chosen career interest.
What's next
Our next steps are to ensure the programme is thoroughly embedded in the long-term curriculum plans. This year we have ensured all skills have been explored but we feel the next step is embedding the skills where they best fit the topic. We will also be ensuring that as we move forward the children will be more involved in assessing their own skill development and encouraged to think about their own individual next steps. We will also review how we use the Hub more next year, with the challenges being integrated more into the broader curriculum.
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Secondary School
Dawlish College
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Secondary School

Dawlish College

This content was written by
Dawlish College
Context
Dawlish College is an 11-16 inclusive secondary school based in Devon. We have always had a strong careers provision here at Dawlish College and believe in a broad and enriched curriculum for every student to develop to their full potential. Skills Builder is one of the key tools we currently use to focus our students on their core skills and abilities. We then build on all skills to prepare them for the world of work. We work on employability skills from the very beginning of Year 7, so they can prepare early on for their future careers and have a clear understanding of employability skills being important, just like academic qualifications are.
Overall impact
The main highlights of the accelerator programme this year are when teachers and tutors see the benefit it brings to the College and all of our students. It begins to have real value when the essential skills alongside subjects and qualifications are recognised as important by teachers and students alike. Having positive feedback from tutors and students has made the effort of rolling this programme out across the college worthwhile. Supporting tutor time, creating PSHE lessons, training staff, especially online, has been time intensive so getting the results I'm seeing towards the end of this academic year is extremely pleasing. Overall, seeing the essential skills being put into practice is the most rewarding highlight. When students, parents, employers and teachers are working collaborately on one of the strands of the essential skills, it all comes to life! We should through continued work on the essential skills, see improved employability skills in our students in the future.
Keep it simple
We have had a thorough focus on the speaking and communication strand of Skills Builder and have embedded these skills by delivering Skills Builder through aspects of our PSHE programme and through the whole school tutor programme. We are developing consistency with the use of Skills Builder across the college. Students have an awareness that achievement in the essential skills is valued alongside academic achievement. Skills Builder posters are being placed across the College to help highlight their value and encourage consistency across the College.
Start early, keep going
We have been coherent with our approach to Skills Builder and have ensured that skills developed are then put into practice. For example; we focused on speaking and communication this year with our Year 7 cohort and this leads onto a series of one-to one coaching and mentoring sessions with business professionals. The business coaches, together with the skills developed through using Skills Builder work on a project with our Year 7 cohort, called 'About Me'. This focuses on them selling their core skills and abilities through a presentation. Teachers, students, parents and business professionals have worked together to deliver this initiative to help build on key employability skills.
Measure it
We build the essential skills into various projects that we then put into practice, helping to bring them to life for our students. I will measure the impact of the 'About Me' initiative mentioned earlier in this case study with the business mentors in a debrief session. We focus on different essential skills with different year group, dependent on need. The wider objectives of this activity are: 1 - To enable our young people to identify and articulate their strengths, skills and values in positive language to adults. 2 - To enable young people to understand this is an important life and work skill to help them achieve their future goals. 3 - To increase levels of confidence, positive thinking, ambition, attitude, and self-awareness. 4 -To enable young people to present to an audience.
Focus tightly
We focus on specific skills with different year groups. We currently have dedicated times throughout the week to deliver the essential skills to all our students here at Dawlish College. We have 20 minutes per week allocated to this for every tutor group in each year group. We have a focus on specific steps and I drop into a year group, each week to ensure that our teachers have to tools and resources available to deliver Skills Builder. Sometimes I demo a session just to get them started.
Keep practising
We provide students with the opportunity to use Skills Builder in the wider curriculum and create PSHE sessions using the essential skills as a key area to develop. When creating lessons with Skills Builder, the essential skills form part of the activities within the lesson. For example; looking at decision making and linking this to a PSHE lesson on taking options.
Bring it to life
The core purpose of About Me initiative with year 7, mentioned previously was to make sure students have experiences linked to the essential skills. Objectives of the initiative are detailed in (3). Feedback from this initiative from teachers, parents and students has been positive overall. Business coaches developing the essential skills gave the following feedback: '“This was remarkably effective on-line, I wasn’t sure it would be as successful as it was. I was so impressed by the student’s positive manner and the high engagement with this. They expressed themselves well and were so polite and friendly, it was a pleasure to coach them.”
What's next
I'd like to link the essential skills learnt in each year group directly to a project involving work experience or employer engagement. To improve consistency of the delivery of the 'Skills Builder Programme' across the College. To ensure that we can now focus on the Silver Award, moving forward, using the Skills Builder Principles Matrix to help with this.
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ELUTEC
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Secondary School

ELUTEC

This content was written by
ELUTEC
Context
ELUTEC Academy is a specialist University Technical College ranging from students aged 14-19. The reason as to why ELUTEC decided to get involved with Skills Builder was because it exercises skills that are crucial to the world as well as education. It allows our students as well as teachers to practise their skills and enhance them through lessons, activities and interactions with one another.
Overall impact
This Skills Builder Accelerator programme has initially enabled our teachers to structure focus curriculum lessons. As well as see the relevance of these essential skills when teaching lessons, particularly to Year 11 and Year 12.
Keep it simple
This Skills Builder logos are displayed around the school to alert students and staff of their skills. English and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons have been linked with Skills Builder to support students to develop and practise these skills.
Start early, keep going
We have used Skills Builder to support students to understand their essential skills and then practise and enhance their skills further using the resource available. There are specially catered activities to allow all learners of all ages and stages of education to build their essential skills.
Measure it
As teachers we are able to monitor and understand the skills of our students and it through the Skills Builder Hub where I can see what each students has achieved and what they are working on. Through this I was able to plan Personal, Social, Health and Economic lessons accordingly to help further enhance these skills.
Focus tightly
Activities which take place in the lesson, clearly indicate which skill is being used. Also, it helps telling the students "This activity is focusing on your Listening and Speaking skills," so that the students are aware too. Printing off the further resources and workbooks for students who need more support than the rest of the class does help a lot too.
Keep practising
Students have opportunities to practise and apply their skills in curriculum lessons. An example of this, is when writing their CV's in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons, I was able to draw up the skills on the board which students were able to further include and reference in their CV's.
Bring it to life
The essential skills have proved to be helpful in careers lessons. Students have also presented presentations and on their checklist/criteria the essential skills have been written down, to ensure they are purposefully practising them too. The students are aware why these skills are needed in wider life.
What's next
Staff look to continue structuring each lesson using the Skills Builder Framework, as a way of raising awareness in students about the essential skills and to encourage them to continue building these.
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Primary School
Edenham CE Primary School
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Primary School

Edenham CE Primary School

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Edenham CE Primary School
Context
Edenham Primary School is a small village school with mixed age classes. We got involved with this programme to help provide teachers with a framework to help them deliver teaching of the eight essential skills to the children. In the past, we have been guilty of saying to children 'you are not listening' or 'you are not working well as a team' but never really knowing how to address this. This framework provided us with the tools to teach the children how to succeed with the eight essential skills. We had hoped they would begin to have an awareness of these skills which we could then incorporate into our curriculum. With regards to a bigger school priority, we are hoping by teaching the children these skills it will develop a sense of perseverance within the children which will enable them to cope better with the challenges they face in day to day life.
Overall impact
The Skills Builder approach has had a huge impact on the children's use of the eight skills both inside and outside the classroom. It has given them the ability to explain what the skills are and to allow them to have a better understanding of demonstrating them. When using these skills within the classroom, it has allowed the children to have an understanding of what these skills actually look like and to then put this into practice. If the children are not demonstrating these skills, it provides a framework to remind them what they are doing wrong and what they need to do to change what they were originally doing. Linked in with our outdoor learning, it has empowered those who are not usually confident enough to use these skills within this setting to become more confident when using them.
Keep it simple
We access resources from the Skills Builder Hub to directly teach the children a different focus skill from the set of eight essential skills every two weeks. Other skills are then mentioned and incorporated into our curriculum. I inform the teachers every two weeks what the focus skill will be over this period. This is also informed to parents on a newsletter that is sent out every two weeks. Parents are also informed via Twitter of the work that we get up to with regards to the focus skill. We have the skills icons displayed in our classrooms with the focus skill being made more predominate for the children.
Start early, keep going
We focus on a new skill every two weeks, building upon a previously taught step of that skill. We use the skills across school life and they are used by every member of staff, including the lunch time dinner staff which has helped ensure all children within the school are involved. It has also allowed them to apply these essential skills to opportunities outside the classroom.
Measure it
At the start of the year, we used the assessment tool on Skills Builder Hub. We have since used the same tool to re-assess the children's ability of using and apply the skills. Following on from Covid, we used the assessment tool following on from the return of children to school after the third lock down. It helped us to identify potential gaps and areas of development to focus on.
Focus tightly
There is an expectation that teachers teach a least one directed session within a two week period. We then apply this essential skill, and the others, where appropriate during our general day to day teaching.
Keep practising
We make links with the skills during our normal teaching to reinforce what has already been taught and to give children a regular opportunity to practice what they have learnt. Before the end of the academic year, each of the four classes will be completing a project to allow the children the opportunity to apply their understanding they have gained from across the year. We especially find these skills useful to create structure during out PE teaching and learning as the children struggle to contain their enthusiasm and excitement!
Bring it to life
When we access the resources, we use the application section of the Skills Builder Handbook to discuss and carry out an activity in the wider world. We also ask the children to discuss examples from their own experiences which allows them to empathise with others. Key Stage 1 children use the skills stories to deliver the sessions which gives those children the opportunity to see examples of where they could use the skills in real life. Before the end of the academic year, each of the four classes will be completing a project to allow the children the opportunity to apply their understanding they have gained from across the year. One of our classes (Year 5 & 6 children) had the opportunity to discuss how these skills are applied in the world of work through an Essential Skills Summit with Tideway.
What's next
Next year, we would like to continue to use Skills Builder as it has had such an impact on the children. We would like to see the impact over a full year within school. Now that the children have had an introduction to Skills Builder and the eight essential skills, we would like to build upon their existing knowledge and understanding in order to shown more progression using the assessment tool to do this.
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Fairburn Community Primary School
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Primary School

Fairburn Community Primary School

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Fairburn Community Primary School
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We had been teaching life skills for quite a few years but we were frustrated that it was not always is a focussed manner. Our children do not come to school with resilience, team work or speaking and listening skills. Not having these skills was proving a barrier to learning. Skills Builder provides a clearly structured framework in which to teach the children progressively the essential skills they will need in their future. It allows progress to be checked and evidenced by providing staff with a clear starting point as well as an defined teaching sequence.
Overall impact
The children's confidence has really improved and they are more aware of the skills to initiate conversation and actively listen. Parents are very interested in the programme and have remarked about the children's ability to speak to other adults. We are very proud of the fact that visitors to our school often comment about how polite the children are. An example of this has been a Year 6 residential day where the instructor remarked that the children had listened and responded to each other so well and better than any other group.
Keep it simple
After returning to school from lockdown, we discussed the importance of the skills specifically Speaking and Listening and how they would have a raised awareness during the return to school curriculum. Staff discussed strategies for raising awareness and parents were informed about this tin the information for the return to school plan. Displays were put up in all three classrooms showing not only the focus skill but also the remining ones so that they could be referred to within lessons. All opportunities to reinforce the speaking and listening skills have been taken by all staff at all times ie, lunchtimes, transition times and between not only staff and pupils but the pupils themselves as well.
Start early, keep going
During this last year, we have introduced Skills Builder to Year 1 and they have begun to not only have weekly focussed lessons but also an emphasis has been placed on the skills within their planning in the moment provision and supported by all staff.
Measure it
Post-it notes have been placed on displays detailing children's actions ie Macey listened carefully to other people's opinions in a class discussion. We have also used the assessment tracking system and the pupil passports so that records of achievement can be maintained. This has not only evidenced the learning but also provided a basis for future planning. A platform has been provided for teachers to pass on information to each other.
Focus tightly
We have had weekly taught sessions which have been referred to at each stage of future interactions with the children ie 'Do you remember what we learnt last week? Can you try not interrupting Sam and give him a chance to speak. Great.'
Keep practising
The skills have been referred to in Drama lessons. We have a dedicated drama teacher who is building these skills into her sessions so they can be reinforced. Other projects this term have been a DT project where the children have had to work together to agree ingredients for a smoothie recipe they are creating. The Y6 children are replicating a Greek Taverna for their parents in a meal next week which they have designed and made from scratch.
Bring it to life
Though there is a desire to apply essential skills to the wider world, this principle has not been a focus for us this year given the difficulties COVID-19 restrictions have created.
What's next
There are four next steps we would like to focus on going forward. This includes introducing the skills to Early Year Foundation Stage, incorporating the skills into after school clubs and wider community engagements, rewarding for essential skills in award assemblies and writing essential skills into the curriculum policy.
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Firs Primary School
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Firs Primary School

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Firs Primary School
Context
Firs Academy is a multicultural school and is a two form entry school that consists of 347 students. We got involved with Skills Builder as we want the best future for our pupils. There has been literature that suggests that through using Skills Builder throughout the curriculum it can provide strong and positive outcomes for pupils in later life.
Overall impact
It has had a positive impact at Firs. This is due everyone in school feeling more confident to teach and develop the essential skills and Firs has taken a true whole school approach as we now live and breathe the essential skills throughout the day. Children have also become more confident and will independently use he language relating to the skills. For example a Year 1 child was scribbling in his book and his partner sitting next to him said, "You need to aim high when writing!". As a school we have enjoyed the Skills Builder Projects and we are all really looking forward to our Crime Scene Investigation Challenge day.
Keep it simple
We have upskilled teachers with knowledge and ideas of the essential skills through Continued Professional Development sessions for teachers.waysThis enabled teachers to share ideas and ask questions. Language is consistently used throughout the curriculum from Reception to Year 6. The essential skills are displayed in every learning environment including the hallways. Throughout the school we have now interlinked the skills with our recognition board. When children are developing well within a skill they are recognised for their achievement by moving their name up on the recognition board. A focused Skills Builder lesson is delivered on a Wednesday which focusses on a specific skill based on the assessment tracking data.
Start early, keep going
Assessment tracking gives a class overview of strengths and skills to develop. From this teachers select activities from the Skills Builder Hub or using the skill challenges to then develop skills in class. For example, Year 1 needed to strengthen Speaking and Listening so they completed a Listening challenge - share your favourite season with a friend and then had time to create a poster to present. And then in the following week, children presented what their favourite season was and why to the class. This was then further developed as children took their posters home to present to their families and then they asked their families what their favourite season was and why. We are in the process of rolling out a Skills Builder Padlet page that parents can access, complete challenges and share skills they have developed at home.
Measure it
We use the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub to monitor where each class are within each skill. This has helped inform teachers planning of what skills will need to be focused on. It has been helpful as a starting point to focus on specific skills that need developing as a class. Each teacher can see the skills that need developing more for their class and know the step within the skills that lessons need to be pitched at. This is very helpful as it supports teaching throughout the curriculum and ensure a consistent approach throughout the school.
Focus tightly
All teachers provide a Skills Builder lesson every Wednesday. This gives teachers a chance to explicitly teach essential skills that need developing for their class. This session is on every teachers timetable to ensure consistency of a focused Skills Builder lesson. As teachers use this session to develop essential skills based on the assessment on Skills Builder Hub, the teacher can pitch the lesson to match the next step needed within that skill.
Keep practising
Children are constantly encouraged to use and develop their essential skills through links to the recognition board. Children are striving to develop their skills and be rewarded for their achievements. Every classroom has the skills logos displayed where students and teachers refer to them throughout the day. For example a teacher may say, "In this lesson we will be developing our Listening skills" or the teacher may ask the children "What skills do you think you are developing or what skills are you going to be using?" We have previously used the Skills Builder Projects such as Groovy Gardeners to explore the essential skills and this year as a whole school we are holding a Challenge Day using the Crime Scene Investigation resource - this will include the whole school dressing up.
Bring it to life
We do many things at Firs, some examples would be a no pens day, creativity day, fundraising, Skills Builder Projects and Challenge days. As well as visits from the Police, Fire Service, swimming and summer fetes.
What's next
We'd like to ensure that extra curricular activities (after school clubs) refer to the essential skills. We'd also like to foster more parental involvement and link the essential skills to more workplace visitors.
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Special School
Forest Way School
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Special School

Forest Way School

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Forest Way School
Context
Forest Way School is a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) school for students with moderate and severe learning difficulties. Skills Builder is is being used with students from Key Stage 3 through to Post-16. The school became involved in the Accelerator programme as we aim to promote the 8 key skills as part of our work on Preparation for Adulthood.
Overall impact
Teachers were already teaching many of the essential skills but were not formally recording the progress and next steps of the students. Skills Builder has drawn the teachers', students' and parents' attention to how important these skills are across all curriculum areas. Some of the highlights are that, by working on the concept of criteria, at least five students had their artwork made public in a national exhibition celebrating art and record album covers by the artist Pete McKee. This boosted the esteem of those students. Links to exhibition were shared with parents and links to Skills Builder shared with parents. Other students have joined in careers activities and spoken with confidence about their ambitions.
Keep it simple
Students who are applicable have been involved in the Skills Builder project. Staff have had initial training and an introduction to Skills Builder. Staff have been trained on the use of the Hub portal and have been made aware of the resources and the 8 essential skills. Staff have been given an overview of the resources available and the logical steps in which the skills should be taught. Staff within the classroom have displayed the eight essential skills icons. Students have been asked to recall what these skills are at regular intervals. The language of Skills Builder has been supported around the school by displays relating to the language. Students have been encouraged to think about what skills they are using when carrying out daily curriculum lessons and activities. Students have been able to use the language relating to the skills independently and by watching and carrying the activities in Short Lessons have gained an understanding of what each skill looks like.
Start early, keep going
All students involved in the Skills Builder programme have been introduced the essential skills over the last academic year. This is the first time that many students have formally done Skills Builder. Once a topic has been introduced and the skills understood, students carried out tasks where the can practise the skills. For instance a Post-16 class have practised the skill of working to a list of criteria. They did this by entering a National art competition. The competition set out a criteria of what type of art could be entered. At the time many of the students were working from home. This meant many of the students worked on that project with family members and parents became involved. During Covid, students were set challenges relating to Skills Builder; again, parents became involved in completing these challenges. Weekly Skills Builder lessons were also carried out via Microsoft Teams. Students have also used Skills passport throughout each term to record when they have experienced a skill.
Measure it
Each student was set up as a ‘group’ on the Hub. Where possible the online steps have been used to record the progress of each pupil. These pupils have worked on the skills and their progress has been recoded on their individual work. It has been the duty of the teacher to break the Skills Builder steps into achievable tasks for the students to achieve. Informal chats with the students have been helpful in understanding the students' understanding of the skills. Students work and practical tasks have been used to help assess the progress of the students as well as feedback from students and staff.
Focus tightly
The essential skills are taught in all subjects so there are daily opportunities to practise each of the skills. Students are encouraged to reflect on what skills they are using in the lesson. Students reflect in the plenary part of lessons about the skills. The essential skills are displayed in the lessons and skills icons are displayed on activities carried out. Previous skills and activities are recapped upon weekly.
Keep practising
Projects have been encouraged. For instance, Post-16 students have been involved in Young Enterprise activities. Many of the skills from Skills Builder link directly to the lessons that are taught in Young Enterprise. Other students have carried out STEM-based lessons (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These have looked at the topic HS2 rail project. Lessons chosen have linked directly to Skills Builder. Such projects have given students opportunities to work on the skills such as Teamwork and Problem Solving.
Bring it to life
Student have used the skills of Speaking and Listening when engaging with career activities such as asking questions to employers and responding to questions from employers. Students have carried out the task of building a remote control car. This challenge gave the students the opportunity to work as a team and to work on problem solving. Other students have carried out writing tasks and were encouraged to talk about their writing. This led to a boost in public speaking confidence. For example, students have been encouraged to book their own medical appointments for things such as vaccinations.
What's next
Covid has been one of the greatest challenges as the curriculum changed due to online teaching. With a new influx of staff, it will be important that staff involved with Skills Builder are updated with changes and updates to the Skills Builder Hub. It will be important that parents are informed of their child's progress and that the Skills Builder steps are used to set individual targets for students. It is also essential that all students are able to access the essential skills. Skills Builder has been enjoyed by all those that have taken part. It is important that we continue to provide activities where students can practise their skills.
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College
Grantham College
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College

Grantham College

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Grantham College
Context
Grantham College is a small, general further education college based in the town of Grantham, Lincolnshire. We offer provision for students aged 16+, from entry level to higher education, in a broad range of subject areas. We are a community of learners and also deliver apprenticeship and training programmes for businesses, plus part-time courses, as well as courses for students with more profound learning needs. In the last year, we have taken significant steps to revitalize our Careers and Employability offer, refreshing our approach and the content of our schemes of work to ensure we are fully preparing students for the rapidly changing world of work. Searching for high quality, relevant resources to include in our new programme, we discovered Skills Builder’s Essential Skills and their Accelerator programme. Skills Builder’s mission matched our desire to teach students the ‘soft’ skills to help them succeed at work and reflected our conversations with the employers we work with, who frequently tell us they especially value these skills. Also, we strongly felt that the programme could help us to achieve our strategic aims as a college: to ensure that employability and career opportunities are central to everything that we do. We saw how Skills Builder’s suite of materials for assessing and teaching skills was both engaging and sophisticated, with progression built in, and so would support our academic staff to simply and effectively teach the skills. Plus, the common language would aid students’ understanding and ensure we would be delivering consistent messages to them. We were very keen to secure Skills Builder’s support and guidance, through the Accelerator programme, to help us embed the skills within college in the most impactful way, ensuring all our students could learn the essential skills and go on to thrive in the workplace.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has helped us to transform our approach to the teaching of employability skills so that we have a far greater impact. Staff and students alike are now considering and reflecting on the skills much more fully and with a more forensic eye, using the clear descriptors on Benchmark and the Hub dashboard. By harnessing hub resources, Launchpad and the universal framework, we have been more effective in promoting understanding of the skills, so everyone now has a stronger idea of what great skills looks like. Employers are seeing that we are taking their demands for these skills more seriously and that we are taking significant steps to furnish our students with the skills they seek. Although we still have so much more that we want to achieve in embedding the essential skills across college, the Accelerator programme, including the training and dedicated support of our educational associate, has meant that have already accomplished a great deal. We can also visualise what else can be done to support our students to learn and hone their skills. Our highlights so far have included: students reciting the skills language when drafting cover letters in an English lesson, without any prompting; staff preparing students to complete a live brief with an employer and naturally including the skills in the preparatory work with students; apprentices surprising themselves at how their confidence in speaking grew at a Skills Summit with employees at Network Rail, and, the palpable revelation they experienced when they realised the skills relate to all professions; the pride on students’ faces when they receive an essential skills certificate; and finally, the enthusiasm our governors, all senior professionals who have worked in a variety of sectors, showed for building essential skills.
Keep it simple
We've raised awareness of the skills through posters and displays positioned in most departments and buildings, through skills content for TV screens, college desktop screens and our website. Consistent language for describing skills is replicated throughout as we incorporate hub materials. In our newsletters we’ve informed stakeholders such as parents, carers and employers about our mission to build students essential skills and presented our programme at our Governors. In addition, social media posts, website ‘news’ and a newspaper article have shown the wider community the importance we attribute to the skills. Our staff award Skills certificates to show students that the skills are valued; this will be elevated with the launch of our Essential Skills Stars awards in September when staff will use skill step language to explain their student nominations. Also, our Careers Statement now includes the Skills Builder as a key strand of our Careers offer.
Start early, keep going
Our essential skills programme embraces students across college: we’re keen for all learners to understand and practise essential skills. We've incorporated the skills into Schemes of Work for Careers and Employability. Students on courses at Level 2 and in years one and two of Level 3 courses, have a timetabled, weekly Careers and Employability lesson which runs across the whole academic year. Level 1 and Entry Level courses such as Skills For Work qualifications, delivered by our Learning Development department, already have significant ‘employability’ content. Here, essential skills are incorporated into subject lessons according to group priorities and best fit with the course content. We’re now discussing the inclusion of essential skills on weekly planning documents for subject lessons college-wide. We communicate with parents about the skills, sharing links to the Home Hub and Launchpad to promote independent learning. We plan to include essential skills in reports to parents.
Measure it
Students on Level 2 and 3 programmes have had scheduled time in Careers and Employability lessons to complete self-assessments using Benchmark, in both the autumn and summer terms. Teachers of Higher Education courses, Level 1 and Entry Level courses have also allocated time for these self-assessments within subject lessons in designated weeks. Students share their Benchmark reports with their tutors and from them create two personal Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time-Framed (SMART) targets, to be logged on their Promonitor profiles. Teachers of 16-19 study programmes complete group level baseline assessments and are encouraged to regularly update dashboards to keep track of progress and identify skill priorities. With Covid, staff have faced huge challenges and there is still work to do to enable all of them to engage with the process. Going forwards, we will determine suitable set times for baseline assessments and for updating dashboards. We’re also incorporating skills development into our Key Performance Indicators to monitor students' progress.
Focus tightly
We mainly deliver explicit teaching in weekly Careers and Employability lessons: the materials are disseminated to all lecturers. These lessons use hub resources: short lessons, employer videos, skill overviews, icons and framework content such as ‘why this skills matters in the workplace’. Staff have wanted to address students’ communication weaknesses and issues around mental wellbeing, both impacted by Covid. The relevant skills are taught in distinct lessons, so separate sessions on Speaking and Listening, or, are woven into other lessons. For example, in an Equality and Diversity in the Workplace lesson, students practised summarising and rephrasing, Listening Step 8; Commercial Awareness included Speaking Step 5 and Developing Confidence included Staying Positive Step 4. In this way, the skills are part of, and sometimes all of, the taught content in almost every lesson. Staff adapt the lesson materials according to group priorities and so teach the most appropriate steps.
Keep practising
Students practise the skills in Careers and Employability lessons and some staff make provision for essential skills practice in subject lessons too. This year Covid has limited the scope for this due to remote teaching challenges and, when students returned to site, by the focus on developing their competencies in practical aspects of their vocational courses. We plan to build in more opportunities for both direct instruction and practical application of skills, for example in ILP sessions. Revising our planning documents such that teaching and practice is formally built into other lessons will help facilitate this. In the meantime, we have assembled slide decks of skill challenges, for tutors to set as homework so students can practise skills outside of college. Projects, employer encounters and work experience, including virtual placements, have given students opportunities to practise their skills outside of lessons too.
Bring it to life
We are building stronger links between students and employers, in line with our strategic goals, careers strategy and preparations for T levels. The common thread we’re now weaving through all our student-employer interactions is essential skills. Our Performing Arts students and Teaching Assistant apprentices benefited from the chance to discuss and practice skills with Accenture and Network Rail employees in Skills Summits. In preparation for work experience projects, students have considered the skills and how they can be applied when working in teams to develop creative ideas to meet live briefs. All our students on 16-19 study programmes complete work experience: in log books, students set targets for essential skills to work on and seek feedback from host mentors on their skill and development areas. Also, we’re encouraging employers delivering talks to students to include essential skills in their conversations, to demonstrate the importance of the skills in the workplace.
What's next
We are already formulating plans for next year to increase our impact and navigate challenges we have faced this year. We are looking at incorporating the skills into planning documentation, to give them increased prominence in subject lessons. We plan to create set intervals for teaching staff to assess students throughout the year, to encourage and prompt all of them to more frequently update their group level assessments and identify priority skill steps. Our Essential Skills Stars awards will allow us to celebrate and talk about skills successes on a regular basis and will provide a useful vehicle for us to broadcast more widely the language of the skill steps. Opportunities for our students to have encounters with local employers have been curtailed by Covid this year, but, next year we plan to drive up these activities and weave the essential skills through them all, bringing the skills to life and accentuating their vital importance for success in the workplace.
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Primary School
Great Denham Primary School
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Primary School

Great Denham Primary School

This content was written by
Great Denham Primary School
Context
We are a large primary school, of 560 pupils, just outside Bedford. We have pupils from Nursery up to Year 6 and we are a relatively new school, only having been open for nine years. When the school was opened it was developed around a creative curriculum with large classrooms, breakout areas and a fully immersive curriculum based around REAL projects. This has developed over the years, but we have few tables in classes and, in non COVID time, pupils are encouraged to work in the way that suits them best, at a table, on the floor in one of the breakout areas, outside or in any part of the school. A massive part of this curriculum is around developing pupils independent learning skills to enable complete the tasks they are set for their project books and prepare them for the wider world. From Nursery upwards our 'soft skills' have been an established part of our core values and learning. Currently we have 6 skills; Resilience, Creativity, Communication, Improving Myself, Independence and Teamwork. Each of these skills has a 'Teddy' who represents it and each class has a set of these teddies which are given to pupils to look after each time they show this skill. They are also rewarded with a family point each time they show one of the skills. Each child also has a 'soft skills book' which, very much like the Hub Passports, allows pupils to track their progress against each skill and they take this all the way through he school with them. When I discovered the Skills Builder Hub I felt that it offered the missing piece of the puzzle. Whilst our 'soft skills' are firmly embedded into our school ethos, we were not explicitly teaching children how to develop these skills and the Hub offered this, hence why we applied for the Accelerator Programme.
Overall impact
Teachers and pupils have given really positive feedback about using the Hub and the quality of the resources. It has really helped us to fill the gap in the explicit teaching of the life skills without adding to teachers workload. Because of the high quality of the resources, it has enhanced both teachers' and pupils' understanding of the skills and how they can be developed and applied in real life and on a daily basis. The training for teachers has really helped to familiarise staff with what the Hub offered, answer questions and give them the confidence to use this in class. The planning sessions for myself have helped focus us on what we want to achieve, formulate a clear plan of action and ensure we worked hard to met these.
Keep it simple
Our current soft skills are an embedded part of our curriculum. They are one of the three tenets on which our entire curriculum is built, along with our school values and REAL projects, as is outlined in our curriculum intent document which is available to parents via our school website. During parent tours and information evenings prior to pupils joining our school we always talk about our 'soft skills'. Each of our pupils from reception upwards, has a school planner which they use on a daily basis and is shared with parent to record reading in. All of our soft skills, the teddies and what they represent are listed in the planners. Each child also has a 'soft skills book' which, very much like the Hub Passports, allows pupils to track their progress against each skill and they take this all the way through the school with them. Each time pupils show a skill they are rewarded with a family point and they are constantly reminded and encouraged to use these skills when working.
Start early, keep going
All of our pupils from reception up to Year 6 have accessed the resources and skills lessons are timetabled a minimum of every fortnight. Year groups have shared the assemblies in their classes, as due to COVID we are not able to hold collective assemblies but we are hoping to do this in September. Skills are displayed in classrooms and all classes have a way of recording the family points that children earn when they display a skill. Some parents and families have been directed to the Skills Builder Hub for home learning where this has been appropriate to a child's needs.
Measure it
This year teachers have assessed the pupils three times, in the Autumn term after the first training session as a baseline, they re-baselined after children returned from lockdown 2 in the Spring and they have completed a final assessment this half term as a final point. Next year assessments will be half termly as we aim to focus on one or two linked skills, so teachers will baseline the skill at the start of the year and then re-assess at the end of the half term they focus on that skill.
Focus tightly
All teachers must plan a Skills Builder lesson into their timetable a minimum of once every fortnight, some teachers are doing this more often. Pupils are also encouraged to reflect on the use of this skill in different areas of the curriculum, particularly project work which they work on independently and self directed. Teachers use a range of resources on the Hub, lessons, videos and other resources.
Keep practising
Our skills are built into all aspects of the curriculum and are integral to our project work. Pupils are encouraged to show the skills in all that they do - whether a formal lesson, sports, play times and even outside of school, the language of the skills is applied to all aspects of school life and forms a key element of our behaviour system.
Bring it to life
These normally consist of events such as a fashion show, farmers market, banquet, play, art gallery, museum etc, depending on what the project is that the children have been working on. These often have a community, charity or legacy element so the children's work can have a real impact and purpose and all of these are completely planned and created by the children using all of their skills.
What's next
Next year we have already re-designed and re-named our soft skills to life skills and aligned them with the skills on the Hub as well as introducing new teddies and integrating all of this into the children planners. We have also used the Passport Ladders for each skill up to Level 6 and these will also become pages in the children's planners to help them monitor their progress through the year and onwards. As a whole school we will teach a different skill, or two linked skills, each half term so that all 8 are covered over the course of the year and are introduced via assemblies. Teachers will baseline at the start of the year and then re-assess at the end of each half term. I will also be using the skills and the SEND ladders to support the new nurture group that I will be setting up in September.
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Special School
Hall Mead Personalised Learning Centre
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Special School

Hall Mead Personalised Learning Centre

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Hall Mead Personalised Learning Centre
Context
We are an Additional Resource Provision based in a mainstream secondary school: Hall Mead School. There are approximately 50 students educated in the Additional Resource Provision, all of whom have Education Health Care Plans with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social, Emotional or Mental Health being the primary needs.
Overall impact
The highlight has been the staff consistently using the language of the skills, the icons being embedded and the students taking this on board, highlighted by that tipping point where students preempted the question, 'What skills are you using today?'
Keep it simple
We now have a weekly skills focus throughout the provision, staff design and run lessons using this as a focus. Senior staff and the Life Skills curriculum lead asks students 'What skill are you developing today?' as part of learning walks and posters of the essential skills are in a number of areas to support this. The value of the essential skills is demonstrated through practical examples of how the skills are useful, staff highlight where skills are used as part of the curriculum and relate the skills to engaging in activities in the community and preparation for adulthood tasks.
Start early, keep going
The essential skills are built by imbedding the skills into the academic curriculum. Parents are involved through review meetings and the skills for part of the preparation for adulthood focus and drive to build independence, the skills give us a focus.
Measure it
Resources supplied by Skills Builder are used but it's the Universal Framework which provides us with a structure that staff can work with and design activities around for our students. Individuals or small groups work together. Tutors work in pairs and moderate interpretation of the skill step/stage and progress. Students demonstrate that they have achieved a step by demonstrating a skill either as part of a group or individually.
Focus tightly
Tutor time periods allow for focused work 1:1 and in small groups for targeted work. Staff identify the skills that they are learning as part of curriculum area lessons that use practical examples (eg: Problem Solving in Maths).
Keep practising
Projects such as the pizza competition are used to help students practice skills. Skills are built into curriculum areas.
Bring it to life
Most recently we ran a pizza making project that involved creating a concept pizza: Listening, Speaking, Staying Positive, Problem Solving, Creativity and Teamwork were the focus skills. Students practiced their designs and making pizzas before producing a pizza for a competition.
What's next
Moving forward we would like to increase our engagement with employers to further develop the essential skills.
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Primary School
Harbour Primary and Nursery School
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Primary School

Harbour Primary and Nursery School

This content was written by
Harbour Primary and Nursery School
Context
Skills Builder was introduced to us as part of a careers project we were involved in last year. Our school is passionate about providing pupils with a well-rounded, inspiring and creative curriculum and so participating in the Skills Builder programme was something that was of immediate interest. One of our main drives and priorities at Harbour is to make sure all of our learners leave with high aspirations for themselves and with a secure understanding and application of the 8 key skills. We hope that this will enable them to be successful in whatever future career they choose.
Overall impact
Children have enjoyed receiving certificates when they have demonstrated good learning. Through pupil voice I know that children across the school are aware of the essential skills. It has been a good way of bringing together the school and having a theme that threads its way through each year group.
Keep it simple
We have a whole school Skills Builder display in the main hall. We have a whole school focus skill in place which links to home learning activites for Key Stage 2 children. This focus skill is also referred to external practitioners who work with the children in our school. Each class records some of their Skills Builder work in class books and explicit Skills Builder sessions are taught in each year group.
Start early, keep going
Our whole school approach to Skills Builder has ensured that all children should have been exposed to the skills. Classroom displays and whole school focus should have meant consistency across the year groups. Teachers from all age groups have been involved in training sessions and parents have been engaged when supporting their children to access the home learning videos or homework tasks
Measure it
This Skills Builder Hub Assessment tool has been used by some teachers to understand the essential skills of the class they are working with. Each class has a Skills Builder book where they can record their work on the 8 essential skills.
Focus tightly
Staff allocated dedicated time or find links across the curriculum to incorporate Skills Builder resources, stories, activities and videos.
Keep practising
Skills Builder is referred to in extra curricular clubs such as Forest School and Multi Sports P.E coach always refers to the skills in P.E lessons. Some additional homework tasks have been set for particular children to support and stretch.
Bring it to life
In order to bring the skills to life, we worked with a local Sussex flower grower Ben Cross to make a video about the essential skills.
What's next
We will continue to refer to the skills and plan in opportunities to apply them within our curriculum.
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Primary School
Harvills Hawthorn Primary School
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Primary School

Harvills Hawthorn Primary School

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Harvills Hawthorn Primary School
Context
Harvills Hawthorn Primary School is a two form entry primary school near West Bromwich in the heart of the Black Country. Harvills is an exciting place of learning, providing enjoyable experiences that broaden children's horizons. Harvills has been recognised as an outstanding school twice in 2010 and 2013. We believe that every child is unique. We aim to provide all of our children with a broad, challenging and exciting curriculum in order that all pupils achieve their full potential. We joined the Skills Builder Partnership to add to this expansive curriculum and to ensure that the children learn lifelong skills that will help them be ready for the next stage of their lives and ultimately go on to be the very best that they can be.
Overall impact
The impact of the Accelerator programme has been tangible across the whole school. Teachers have commented on how explicitly teaching skills such as listening and teamwork, has benefited their lessons across the curriculum. It has also been noted that presentations within other curriculum areas have improved in many classes due to the focus on essential skills during the learning journey and the final presentation. Having conducted research into the children's views of the programme via pupil's voice, it is clear that the children enjoy the lessons and projects and find the content useful. Children expressed that they especially enjoy working collaboratively following learning about teamwork and leadership as the whole team is more aware of their effect on the team's progress towards the overall goal. One highlight, in particular, was following the Year 5 virtual visit. One of the children commented that they had never thought they would be able to work in a "posh" office because they didn't want to go to college. Learning that they could do an apprenticeship to get on the professional career ladder really inspired them. This inspiration has had a lasting impact. As that child's teacher, I can state I have seen a marked improvement in the child's drive and determination to improve their learning in all areas.
Keep it simple
We believe that language, and being able to talk through your learning, are fundamental ingredients of successful outcomes for learners. As such, we have added the vocabulary of skills learning into our already extensive language of learning. We use the language explicitly in stand-alone sessions that are targeted to build the skills within our learners as well as during cross-curricular learning. During many lessons, especially within our where the wider curriculum objectives are being taught, teachers will point out which skills are being used during the lesson. On some occasions, the target for the lesson will incorporate the language of skills alongside the curriculum objective.
Start early, keep going
The Skills Builder Hub is being used within classrooms from Year 1 - Year 6. The display materials that promote the language of skills can be found in classrooms from Reception to Year 6. The vocabulary of skills learning is used in all classrooms throughout the school where it is applicable and appropriate. Every class in the year groups identified above have completed at least one project this year, with many completing two. The vast majority of children have accessed the short lessons too. Children in Year 5 have also benefited from a Skills Builder virtual visit which proved invaluable in progressing the children's learning further. Parents have not been involved with learning in a traditional sense this year but they have been engaged through Skills Builder Home Learning Zone with skills challenges being completed, with the aid of parents, during various lockdown periods.
Measure it
All classes have been assessed by their teacher as a baseline to identify which skills need to be focused on with urgency. Teachers will also assess their children during the Summer 2 data period to identify the progress made in each class following the completion of projects and short lessons alike. Moving forward, teachers will be completing an assessment, using the Skills Builder Hub, at the end of each term. The assessment, at both stages, has allowed us to identify the biggest areas of need within our cohort and plan learning to help address those needs.
Focus tightly
There is an expectation that all classes complete one short lesson per week, with a minimum of 4 being completed over a half-term period. We use the short lessons that are available on the Skills Builder Hub to structure these sessions. The sessions are planned on a dual basis. They are to be focused on identified needs and/or in the build-up to a project which will allow the application of these skills. There are planning documents in place that identify the skills being applied during each project and when the project will take place. This allows teachers to plan their short lessons accordingly.
Keep practising
We give our learners many opportunities to apply their skills learning. Each year group has three projects planned per year. These projects are timetabled and linked to other areas of the curriculum (for example, Design Technology projects that follow the Skills Builder Hub format or English modules planned to link the outcomes between the project and English curriculum goals). In addition to these areas, we use short lessons or discussions around the skills prior to the skills being used in the wider curriculum. For example, teachers will remind the learners of the importance of their stage in Speaking and Listening skills prior to presenting their learning in Science or teams will have focused lessons on teamwork during the learning journey of a collaborative enquiry lesson in Humanities.
Bring it to life
This has been a challenge during the current academic year due to Covid-19 restrictions. We have however managed to complete a virtual "visit" that was facilitated by the Skills Builder. This visit allowed our children to see the benefits of their skills learning in action as well as real-life application of the eight essential skills. Last year, we were fortunate enough to arrange a visit to a local college that showcased the essential skills in many different applications throughout the construction sector. We will continue to seek out these opportunities for our children as the restrictions ease.
What's next
The aim next year is to embed the procedures and protocols that we have in place and make them part of our school culture. I expect this to be a relatively easy task as all of the stakeholders are agreed on the importance of the essential skills. I feel that Harvills is already well set up with its attitude toward the importance of the essential skills and in many areas, it has been more about identifying the links to already established practice rather than starting anew. I expect that time will be the biggest challenge to successful implementation next year. The curriculum at Harvills is extensive and as such time is at a premium. We have already made a start at meeting this challenge. I have met with all year groups to plan out when each project will be run and identify any curriculum links that can be made to ensure that the time is ringfenced.
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Highworth Warneford School
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Secondary School

Highworth Warneford School

This content was written by
Highworth Warneford School
Context
Highworth Warneford School begun working with Skills Builder in 2020. The school's curriculum has a strong academic focus and the Skills Builder Framework is a means of ensuring that students also develop the skills that employers, colleges and universities seek.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has been invaluable in supporting us to embed the language of essential skills across the school. Using a consistent language helps students to understand what is meant by essential skills and realise when they are practicing them.
Keep it simple
The language of essential skills is being embedded in all aspect of school life; they are referenced in curriculum plans across the school and referred to regularly in form time, lessons and other activities. The school's rewards policy has been adapted so that effort and achievement in the essential skills can be rewarded and posters are displayed in every classroom to act as a visual cue when skills are referenced.
Start early, keep going
Students in every year group have one form-time session each week dedicated to learning and practising essential skills, with lessons being delivered using the Skills Builder Hub.
Measure it
Training has taken place to support tutors in using the assessment tools on the Skills Builder Hub so that future teaching can be planned around the specific needs of individual groups. Students in Years 10 and 11 have used self-assessment tools to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in relation to essential skills in preparation for writing personal statements and attending interviews.
Focus tightly
All form tutors engage in focused and explicit teaching of essential skills, with one period of form-time each week dedicated to this. Each week has a specific skill focus across the school with each year group targeting an appropriate skill step.
Keep practising
Students are given opportunities to practice essential skills in many lessons in all subject areas. Written statements of curriculum intent are being refined to specifically reference the Skills Builder Framework. Students can also practice essential skills in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities in music, drama, arts STEM, sport and through completing the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
Bring it to life
All students make use of essential skills when they take part in a STEM challenge day in Year 7 and an enterprise challenge day in Year 8. In Key Stage 4 all students take part in work experience and mock interviews. Many students volunteer for leadership roles in the school or volunteer in the local community when completing their Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
What's next
Over the next year we plan to continue to develop our assessment of essential skills so that our teaching can be even better focused. We will also continue to look for opportunities to develop essential skills in subject teaching as subject curriculum plans are revisited and refined.
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Primary School
Hillyfield Primary Academy
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Primary School

Hillyfield Primary Academy

This content was written by
Hillyfield Primary Academy
Context
Hillyfield Primary Academy is a seven-form entry school located in East London. Our school community is rich in diversity and spread across two sites. We began our Skills Builder journey in September 2019 as way to unite and cement our school's ethos which is 'Brilliance in every child, Excellence everyday.' Our school's vision and values are excellent launch pads to teach, develop and promote each skill. At Hillyfield, we aim to 'create a sense of belonging, build aspirations, develop talent and to have fun. We have now successfully implemented teaching the skills cross curriculum, with our students being knowledgeable in the importance of each each skill, how to develop them and most importantly opportunities to show case their learning. The Skills Builder programme has been the key in cementing our school's vision.
Overall impact
The Skills Builder programme has acted as a cement to see us through this very challenging school year and beyond. Our entire school body has benefited from the support and training we received from our Education Associate. The skills have allowed us the language to understand the building blocks of our school's vision and values. Our children have a deeper understanding of the importance of each skill and that there is a process in developing each one.
Keep it simple
From the start of our current school year, we knew we had to keep Skills Builder a priority. Autumn One saw every teacher implement and embed the foundation steps in Speaking, Listening and Staying Positive. Children were referring to these skills and steps needed often. Teachers have planned for three additional skills to be taught and woven into their lessons each term as part of their topic. We are fortunate to have a member of staff who acts as a Skills Coach as part of our behaviour team to oversee our own 'Hillyfield Challenge Days' where children are faced with practical, physical problems and use their skills to solve. Over lockdown, as a school, we focused on Leadership, Creativity and Teamwork through recorded assemblies and at home challenges. The last term at school, has seen every class engage in a lesson or community project focusing on Aiming High and Problem Solving. We have gained momentum as a school despite the challenges of remote learning.
Start early, keep going
The essential skills have been focused on as a whole school approach this year. Our highly creative teachers have found ways in which to implement the skills in as many lessons as possible. For younger years, teachers have focused on Listening, Speaking, Staying Positive and Teamwork to ensure our youngest children are focusing on the skills crucial for starting school. Our Twitter feed and newsletters are a way to keep our parents connected with what their children are being taught regrading the essential skills. Our website is currently being updated to also reflect how parents can support the development of the essential skills at home.
Measure it
Our approach to assessing the skills started out carefully as we wanted to ensure all teachers were properly supported in their own personal understanding and development of teaching/ assessing each skills. As a school, we update the Skills Builder Hub every term (sometimes half term). Since Spring 2, we have now attached skills to our children's feedback slips as part of their lesson requirement. In doing this, teachers have become more aware of which skills their class or particular children need to develop more. This will be incredibly valuable in our upcoming class handover meetings, where teachers can use the skills as reference points when discussing their previous class to their new teacher for next academic year.
Focus tightly
Our school has gained momentum in using the essential skills in as many lessons as possible throughout the school day. As mentioned, we now incorporate a step(s) from a skill(s) in our lesson feedback slips. In this way, the children understand that the task is focusing on a particular skill and that they need to understand and use the step being taught in order to be successful. These feed back slips also feature a section where the children can rate themselves on how successful they feel in using that particular skill. In our afternoon topics, teachers have been able to set projects and tasks up for their students as a way for the children to display a variety of skills as they work their way to an end goal. In several instances, children in particular year groups write their own success criteria for a task referencing skills steps required to be successful.
Keep practising
As stated above, each year group aims to attach a relevant skill to as many lessons throughout the day. Other examples of the students building their skills would include our Hillyfield Challenge Days, community based projects and termly topics. We are fortunate to have a member of staff who acts as a Skills Coach as part of our behaviour team to oversee our own 'Hillyfield Challenge Days' where children are faced with practical, physical problems and use their skills to solve. In Year 6, on both sites, our students are participating in their own version of 'Dragon's Den'. Students are working in groups to launch their own business enterprises where they create a product to sell at school with profits going to fund their end of year trip. They will present their proposals to a panel of business owners across London. A very exciting way to showcase all of our Skills Builder skills.
Bring it to life
Our teachers are passionate in providing as many real life examples and opportunities to develop and strengthen the children's understanding of the essential skills. Through everyday lessons, assemblies, community speakers, Hillyfield Challenge Days, topics that have real life end goals and the re-instatement of our pupil leadership groups (diversity and inclusion, debate club, community advocates, sports advocates, dinner hall monitors, eco committee, reading advocates, playground ambassadors) the students at our school have an abundance of opportunities to see the benefits in using and strengthening the eight skills.
What's next
As Skills Leader, I personally am very excited for our next academic year as I feel that we have gained momentum in realising the opportunities we can provide our students. Our next steps will include the relaunch of all pupil leadership groups (which will centred around the skills), the use of Skill Passports and award assemblies (as a means to celebrate growth and development), to continue to accurately assess our classes development of the skills and use our data as a spring board for action (pupil premium, behaviour, nurture etc).
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Hugh Christie School
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Secondary School

Hugh Christie School

This content was written by
Hugh Christie School
Context
Hugh Christie is a school for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18 in Tonbridge, Kent. The school is a welcoming community with a distinctive ethos and a friendly focused atmosphere. We hope all our pupils will be happy, successful and well prepared for their future life, whatever that might be. We believe that our pupils need a wide variety of skills that go beyond academic achievement and strive to prepare them for life after school in whatever form they choose. Being involved with the Skills Builder Accelerator programme lends itself greatly to accomplishing these aims and we have certainly seen a shift in our young people and their mindset this last year, especially with the added pressures of lockdown during the pandemic.
Overall impact
Students have started to think about these essential skills and started to ask questions and reflect upon self assessments that they have undertaken. Some excellent posters were produced by Year 7 & 8 students at home during lockdown along the theme of staying positive which was encouraging. It is great to see many classrooms consistently having the Skills Builder being delivered by teachers with enthusiasm on a consistent basis each week. Routines are in place which is good to see.
Keep it simple
We have built awareness of the essential skills: We have posters up in classrooms, and by the student entrance with some explanations. We train staff on building steps and how to define them. We have introduced the students to the Skills Builder Framework and they work on steps they deem relevant to them following self assessment on the benchmarking. We reward students with certificates following a good approach or mindset.
Start early, keep going
We have set the expectation with teachers and students that the development of these essential skills is important and will make up a regular part of their provision weekly. There has been communication with parents via email and the school website to encourage the use of the Home Learning Hub, given their vital importance. There has been communication with parents via email and the school website to encourage the use of the Home Learning Hub.
Measure it
Teachers have been trained on using the Skills Builder framework of group-level assessment. Teachers' reflect on the skills of their group as a whole and what proportion of the students have achieved each step. Older students in Year's 9 & 10 self assess on the Benchmarking website to assess their own skills before working on developing identified weaknesses. Teachers and pupils do re-look at the assessments to see any progress.
Focus tightly
Dedicated time of between 15 and 30 minutes a week is available to teach the essential skills. During lockdown tasks were set for students to develop skills at home and links to the home learning hub was made available. Teachers have been given guides and resources to help them build and develop the skills.
Keep practising
The language of essential skills is being used across the school. Visual cues and reminders to encourage teachers to make reference to those skills in other parts of their teaching are in classrooms with regular reminders circulated via email. Other visual reminders include wall displays of what students have been studying and how it links to the development of essential skills are in the process of being put up.
Bring it to life
We are making provision for experience days such as project based learning and looking to embrace the opportunities of employer encounters and workplace visits. We are linking our careers provision into some elements of the Skills Builder, for example working with the Army to provide activities and enrichment over a 3 year period starting in Year 8 to help build resilience, confidence, and problem solving skills amongst others.
What's next
We want to work with all teachers to provide opportunities for students to practice the essential skill in their curriculum area. This could just be as a starter or plenary but have it as a consistent approach. We want more consistency with teachers using the Skills Builder class-level formative assessment tool to prioritise and inform their teaching of essential skills. Built in training time within the school calendar more regularly throughout the year to keep the momentum going.
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Secondary School
Kingsbury Green Academy
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Secondary School

Kingsbury Green Academy

This content was written by
Kingsbury Green Academy
Context
Kingsbury Green Academy has a higher than average percentage of students who access pupil premium and special educational needs support. The school is based in rural North Wiltshire and is rapidly improving. Our careers vision is to Challenge - Aspire - Network and one of our strategies is for pupils to challenge and be challenged to develop their employability skills, courage and confidence, being able to articulate positively about themselves. One of our milestones is to integrate a skills framework into the school where all teachers advocate the key employability skills in their lessons and pupils are able to make links with their learning to the working world.
Overall impact
I feel that Skills Builder has brought about a common language that has connected the Careers Department with the Curriculum Departments. It has created common ground where we can talk about the same areas for development and find links to employability that can be strengthened across the school as a whole, rather than just relying on the central careers team. Skills Builder has given us a central framework where we can share experiences and outcomes and share success stories that can be then implemented in different subject areas. It has given us a way to communicate with parents to celebrate students' successes with a clear focus and familiar language. The credibility and evidence behind the essential skills has given us a confident focus that we can use to communicate with employers, who can then understand how we are trying to support the students and make them work ready. Employers are then keen to support this and use the same language, particularly when they see other organisations doing the same. A highlight is seeing teaching staff integrating Skills Builder in new ways that have come from them. For example, one teacher is using it on her board as part of her rewards system during her lessons. Another highlight was careers champions creating skills videos of themselves to put on social media, demonstrating the skills that they were honing during lockdown. This gave a positive message out to pupils, parents and the community and gave a wider Careers Team feel.
Keep it simple
All classrooms have the Skills Builder skill icon poster on the walls, plus more detailed step posters in some displays. Teachers are building the skills icons into their class lesson resources and the icons are now an official part of the Learning Cycle PowerPoint presentation template. We have a Skill of the Term focus on our newsletters that go out to parents and our employer links. Social media careers posts always highlight the relevant skills icons. As well as integrating the skills into curriculum lessons, they are integrated into our careers programme activities, such as work experience and mentoring programmes. Students have been shown skills summaries in tutor time periods and Year 8 students have completed a Challenge day. The scholars programme from Years 7 - 9 integrates Skills Builder as part of the process to gain points towards the award by developing the essential skills.
Start early, keep going
Skills Builder is introduced and then continually referred to and skills developed in the PSHE careers lessons from Year 7 - Year 13. Students set themselves targets in careers lessons, highlighting which skills they would like to work on and develop in particular. Students also develop and keep going in the other careers activities, such as Takeover Day in Year 8 and 9, work experience in year 10 and 12 and through mentoring programmes such as the Year 9 West of England mentoring with Herman Miller. For work experience, employers write on the placement details form how students can develop each of the essential skills during the placement. Parents are informed about the skills through weekly social media posts and termly newsletters that highlight the skill of the term. Also students are awarded with skills certificates that parents will see when they bring them home.
Measure it
Students reflect on their essential skills during PSHE careers lessons and determine which they would like to develop by writing an action point in their Careerpilot account. Careers Advisers, students and parents can see this action plan when it is sent out after a careers personal guidance meeting. Careers Champions are using the Skills Builder Framework to help determine the level of resources to use with their students. The Skills Builder icons and steps are incorporated into the work experience reflection booklets so pre- and post-work experience students can assess their ability and development. Employers assess the students at the end, awarding them with a Skills Builder certificate in the area that they developed the most. All feedback surveys incorporate questions about the essential skills, so we can see which students are most confident in and which they feel they would like more support to develop. This insight helps to focus the skills development plans for the following activity and future year.
Focus tightly
We have a number of programmes where the Skills Builder steps are incorporated. For example, in the West of England mentoring programme, the Herman Miller mentors are educated about the Skills Builder Framework and bring the skill development into their sessions so they can give them direct focus. In the work experience programme, students complete preparation sessions that focus on the skills modules that are at the relevant step. In the scholars programme, Year 7-9s use the skills steps to focus their development and ask for their teachers to sign off their examples when they have used the skill as described. We have specific developed documents for these programmes that integrate the relevant steps and icons. We also use the Skills Builder short lessons and summaries to focus on the skills and aid development.
Keep practising
Through curriculum lessons, the tutor programme and the careers activities, students have the chance to recognise the skills and practice them. This continues into out Sixth Form where Skills Builder development modules and reflection are being integrated into their Enrichment part of the curriculum. We have integrated a Challenge Day into our Year 8 PSHE timetable that supports building the skills through a day where they can explicitly practice them. Class PowerPoints are being updated and teachers are either referring to the skills and how to develop them, using the skills posters or via the skills icons on the learning cycle PowerPoint presentation. Students have the chance to practice them in the WEM mentoring programme and in the Key Stage 3 scholars programme, plus during work experience. We have a number of tutor sessions for careers throughout the year where key Skills Builder lesson modules are planned to help students practise the areas they find most difficult.
Bring it to life
The employers we work with are asked to integrate Skills Builder into their messages wherever appropriate. For example, in preparation for work experience, each employer spoke about one essential skill in a pre-recorded video, explaining to the students why it is so important in the workplace. They also wrote about each skill, relating it to the placement and how the student will be able to improve in this area during the placement. We are giving out Skills Builder certificates during work experience to highlight and help students to see how they are using their skills in a working environment. During our careers assemblies, employers also highlighted the skills, demonstrating how they use them in the work place. The work that students do with the mentors who work for Herman Miller, also helped the students to see adults using the skills for their jobs and how to integrate these into their CVs. During CV writing careers lessons, students focus on their skills section.
What's next
The plan going forwards is to maintain sustainability and keep up the motivation. Ensuring that this year's initiatives are cemented next year and that case studies are collected that show the impact that Skills Builder is having on our students. I plan to monitor a Year 7 tutor group and watch their progress over the next few years as a case study. The plan is to continue supporting the careers champions as they integrate Skills Builder more solidly into their departments, training up their own teams more fully and celebrating their success stories and helping with any barriers or challenges. I plan to regularly speak to students and parents to gauge how Skills Builder is filtering through and how they feel it is preparing them for the future. The challenge is to ensure that all staff members are trained, engaged and passionate about the impact that Skills Builder is having on the success of our school development plan in a really positive way.
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Primary School
Linden Primary School
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Primary School

Linden Primary School

This content was written by
Linden Primary School
Context
Linden Primary School is a large school, situated in Gloucester City. As a school in the centre of the community, we pride ourselves on placing our children and their families at the heart of everything we do. Our school values to nurture, respect, inspire and achieve underpin all we do and the high expectations we have set for ourselves are reflected in our school ethos of ‘Growing Together to Create Lifelong Learners.’ Linden Primary School is special for all those involved: pupils, parents and families, staff and Governors. We aim to recognise every individual for their unique blend of skills, talents and attributes and provide them with the support, confidence and right level of challenge to achieve their goals. In addition to a broad, creative and inspirational curriculum, our school prides itself on the pastoral care that we provide. We recognise that in order for our pupils to learn and reach their full potential, they need a happy, caring, respectful, hard-working and safe environment. Linden Primary School has embraced Skills Builder. The essential skills are embedded into school life and the language of Skills Builder is used consistently across our school. It has really supported the development of the skills that our pupils need in order to be successful learners and explicit teaching of the skills has ensured pupils are developing and making progress.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has really highlighted the significance of essential life skills and how children need to be taught the skills in order to progress. It has provided the school with the focused and structured approach it needs to ensure that pupils are developing socially as well as academically. Skills Builder has provided opportunities to bring the whole school together as a community and it has been really powerful to see all of the pupils building on the skills together with enthusiasm and commitment. Highlights for Linden have been the Challenge Days. Having the whole school work on the same project across the day has been incredible. The children worked with full engagement, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Staff commented on how it was really refreshing to work on something where the final outcome of what the children made was not important, but the process of them working together and building on the skills took the forefront.
Keep it simple
Each year we begin with a whole school Challenge Day. This really engages the whole school community, including parents and reminds pupils of the skills that Skills Builder focuses on, as well as providing ample opportunity for the children to practice these skills. Alongside this, each class has an interactive Skills Builder display. This often involves teachers and Learning Partners noting down and displaying how they have seen individual pupils apply skills throughout the day. We also have a whole school display which reinforces and celebrates different achievements. The school has mapped out which skills will be in focus across the year and we launch each new focus skill with an assembly. This is followed by explicit teaching of the skills back in the classroom. Skills Builder is included on our School Development Plan as a priority to support the Personal Development of the pupils in our school.
Start early, keep going
Skills Builder is introduced to pupils in Reception and continues right through to Year 6. In Reception, the children really focus on the Listening skill and build in many activities to support pupils to develop this skill. Years 1-6 work on the focus skill and use the skills steps to ensure progression. Key Stage 1 often use stories and picture books to develop understanding of the skill. As the children progress through the school, they are becoming more self-aware and are able to self-assess their own progress in the skills. Parents are informed of the skill in focus each half-term and pupils who have really worked hard on the skills are celebrated during assembly.
Measure it
All of the teachers use the Skills Builder Hub to assess the children at the start of each focus skill. This allows them to pitch the resources effectively and ensures progression and progress in the skill across the whole school. At the end of each half-term, staff re-assess using the tools on the Skills Builder Hub. This allows the school to build a picture of how well the skill is developing across the school. The pupils in Key Stage 2 have also started to self-assess themselves against the Steps in the skills using the essential skills record. This allows them to reflect and set themselves goals for the future.
Focus tightly
Each class is given explicit teaching of the focus skill using a range of resources, including those found on the Skills Builder Hub. Focus skills are mapped out onto the curriculum overviews and teachers plan in opportunities to reinforce each skills across their curriculum planning.
Keep practising
At Linden, we provide countless opportunities for the pupils to practice the essential skills. We begin each year with a Challenge Day and plan at least one project into the school year to really focus in on the skills. Other opportunities include whole school events like Sports Day and events like the end of year performance in Year 6. Within the written curriculum, the skills of 'Aiming High' and 'Staying Positive' are really embedded and used to support pupils in approaching a challenge with a positive attitude. At Linden, we have had a focus on Oracy across this academic year and the 'listening' skill has really integrated with the Oracy Project taking place.
Bring it to life
At Linden, we have completed two successful whole school Challenge Days 'Operation Moonbase' and 'Crime Scene Investigation.' These were a huge success and fully engaged the whole school community with Skills Builder. We have also completed various projects across the school. A memorable project was in Year 1 when our pupils developed their own postal service and put it into practice delivering all of the Christmas cards around the school at Christmas! The school has also been involved in working with employers and have sent groups of pupils to experience the skills in the world of work. This was a valuable experience for all those involved.
What's next
As a school we want to continue to build on the success of Skills Builder and the importance of developing the key life skills. We plan to make more explicit links to our school values and provide a more integrated approach to delivering and progressing with this aspect of the curriculum. Challenges of the pandemic this year has meant there have been many disruptions to the planned actions for Skills Builder, however, it has highlighted to us even more how important building these skills into our curriculum is.
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Primary School
Mablethorpe Primary Academy
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Primary School

Mablethorpe Primary Academy

This content was written by
Mablethorpe Primary Academy
Context
Our academy got involved with Skills Builder as it was recommended by other academies who had taken part in the programme and we were fortunate enough to gain a place for September 2020. We wanted to embed the essential skills in our curriculum in order to help our children raise their aspirations and expand their knowledge of the working world. We want all of our pupils to know that they can fulfil their full potential and get their dream job when they leave school. We felt that Skills Builder was the best programme to use to fulfil this aim and help teach our children the skills they will need in life and in the world of work.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has helped us to plan explicit and cross-curricular lessons teaching the essential skills which pupils will use in their everyday learning and in the world of work. The children have enjoyed working on new projects and learning how to develop new skills in every area of the curriculum. The teachers at Mablethorpe Primary Academy have found the training from Skills Builder extremely useful in day-to-day teaching and enjoy using the resources on the Hub. The training has enabled us to provide our pupils with engaging and exciting cross-curricular lessons whilst teaching the main skills!
Keep it simple
We have displayed the Skills posters in every classroom from Reception to Year 6, so the children can use them every day. Every week we teach cross-curricular lessons focusing on a particular skill, using our own curriculum overview and resources from the Skills Builder Hub. We use the assemblies provided to introduce one or two skills per term so that in one academic year, we have taught all 8 of the skills in our lessons. We have shared this information on our school website in our plans.
Start early, keep going
Our curriculum overview shows how we can link our lessons every week to a different skill. This gives the children time to focus on the particular skill they are working on. During the time when children were learning from home, we encouraged our families to use the Skills Builder Home Learning Zone. We have involved children from Nursery to Year 6 in whole school projects such as Careers Week and Enterprise Week. The teachers at Mablethorpe Primary Academy use the key vocabulary from Skills Builder in a wide variety of lessons so that it is accessible for all!
Measure it
We regularly assess our pupils using the data assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub which is fantastic for tracking their progress. Our children also assess themselves and use a sticker system to show where they are with their learning of a particular skill. This allows teachers and children to see the progress being made in their skills, so we can see the positive impact of the Skills Builder programme.
Focus tightly
Students in our school take part in weekly lessons which may be stand alone or cross-curricular. The short stories and videos on the Skills Builder Hub can be used as introductions to a particular skill. We make teaching the skills a priority so that the children can use them regularly and see their own progress.
Keep practising
We learn about the essential skills every week and make reference to them in our lessons so that children know which skill they are using in that lesson. Teachers can use the curriculum overview which is linked to each essential skill, and that way pupils can practice these skills in every day lessons. Through out whole school projects (Careers Weeks, Enterprise Week), we have brought Skills Builder to life in the classroom! The pupils use the key words from Skills Builder when they are working together and can talk about what they mean.
Bring it to life
In our academy we have held Virtual Careers Weeks and an Enterprising Week in which the pupils are provided with new opportunities to learn about the world of work. We had many different careers for the children to learn about and follow up activities. We plan opportunities for our children to work on class projects in order to develop their essential skills, through real-life projects. During our Enterprising Week, our pupils are going to plan, design and make a product to advertise and sell.
What's next
In the new academic year, we are continuing to work with Skills Builder. We are continuing our membership as we have found the resources to be invaluable and are looking forward to using some of the new projects next year to enrich our learning of the essential skills.
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Primary School
Malmesbury Primary School
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Primary School

Malmesbury Primary School

This content was written by
Malmesbury Primary School
Context
Malmesbury is a two form entry school on the outskirts of Morden. 50% of our schools' intake learn English as an additional language which fuels our schools' ethos to 'Bring out the best in everyone'. Language and communication are the basis of our curriculum and Skills Builder has been a way of supporting the aspirations and understanding of how to be a life long learner and that our skills are constantly developing and being reviewed. Malmesbury have partnered with Skills Builder for a number of years and teachers and children alike enjoy the trips, challenge days and longer projects. The key skills are displayed in all classes and teachers use them alongside our curriculum to promote various skills throughout the day. During remote learning our school engaged with online resources such as the homework challenges and since returning to school, a whole school challenge week took place where the children and staff engaged in mini lessons, focus skill lessons and specific activities to put skills into practice.
Overall impact
The impact has been more challenging to measure this year due to the workload of teachers. However, the zoom conversations and focused strategy support has been useful in reflecting on progress throughout the school.
Keep it simple
The school displays skills logos in all classrooms and are referred to in a variety of curriculum lessons. There is also a display in the dinner hall where the whole school can engage with questions such as: What does Aiming High' mean to you?' thus giving children an opportunity to discuss over lunch what Skills Builder means to them. Children and teachers have a keen awareness of Skills Builder. Our parents are informed of our use of Skills Builder via the Malmesbury Instagram and weekly newsletters.
Start early, keep going
Children from Reception up to Year 6 engage in Skills Builder. This allows the school to constantly build on essential skills. Teachers have found the various tabs and filters for certain skills on the Skills Builder Hub very helpful this year as this has supported children learning at different stages.
Measure it
Showing the children's progress using the Skills Builder Hub tracking system has been more challenging this year due to lack of time and adding to the workload of staff. However, we often reflect on the progression of skills with verbal plenaries.
Focus tightly
Skills logos are visibly displayed in all classes. Adults often refer to them throughout daily lessons. A skills might be chosen for the start of the week and reviewed as the week goes on. Children have regular time to improve their skills as they are taught everyday through other lessons, maybe not always explicitly but through our teaching style.
Keep practising
We enjoyed using the Skill Challenges and setting homework using the online Home Learning platform during periods of remote learning.
Bring it to life
The Skills Builder virtual trips were incredibly successful at promoting the language of essential skills. A lot of the children were speaking about the trips once they had happened. They enjoyed speaking to real people and feeling they cared about what they had to say.
What's next
We would like to continue with everything as we have done so far, we are especially hoping to be able to invite parents in and share learning.
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Special School
Manor Green School
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Special School

Manor Green School

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Manor Green School
Context
Manor Green is an Special Educational Needs School for students aged 2-19. Our project-based enterprise curriculum aims to prepare students for life beyond Manor Green and is further enriched by our unique philosophy of the ACE Model, which places equal importance on each of the three components of successful learning: Academic progress (we are a school first and foremost), Care and therapeutic learning support (we are a special school)and Enrichment and life skills development (education is for life!). Skills Builder fits perfectly with our student-centred, dynamic classroom approach, allowing our to students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems, gaining knowledge and transferable skills by working on a termly Skills Builder project. As a result, they develop deep content subject knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity and communication skills.
Overall impact
The programme has had a really good impact on students and the teachers enjoy teaching it.
Keep it simple
We have embedded the essential skills into our curriculum, so the language used is a common theme throughout the day and in all lessons.
Start early, keep going
Our students learn transferable skills which, alongside the essential skills are built on as they progress through the school. Parents are aware of the skills and are invited into school at the end of the topics each term.
Measure it
We have the essential skills on Earwig, our assessment tool. Teachers are able to 'tag' skills alongside academic or Education Health Care Plan targets. It is helpful to see how the skills are embedded across the curriculum.
Focus tightly
We teach the skills through our active, thematic lessons.
Keep practising
The skills are built into the curriculum. Each project lasts a term and all lessons link to the common theme of the project.
Bring it to life
We use real-life challenges, thoroughly enjoy your trips and our Careers Lead work with employers.
What's next
We hope to further embed Skills Builder into our First School curriculum.
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Primary School
Manor Primary School
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Primary School

Manor Primary School

This content was written by
Manor Primary School
Context
As a school, one of our key priorities is developing children's resilience and confidence, enabling them to be independent learners, able to aim high and achieve well. The introduction of the Skills Builder programme alongside career-related learning has provided them with the tools and context to broaden their horizons and raise aspirations. Pupils now have a language for learning which is consistent across the whole school and they have been provided with opportunities to discuss, share and practise the essential skills throughout the school day. Close links with careers-related teaching have allowed the children to see value in the skills they are learning, not just in the present, but throughout their lives. This has supported them in holding high aspirations for themselves, in particular, through the skills of 'Aiming High' and 'Leadership'. Empowering children to take ownership of their learning is a key value embedded within our school practices and the [Accelerator] programme has supported us in achieving this through the consistent language it uses and the supportive framework it provides. Pupils are able to feel proud of what they have achieved and celebrate the progress they are making within each of the skills.
Overall impact
When we first launched the programme and career-related learning it created a real buzz across the school with children talking about the skills, different jobs available to them and careers of the future. Many children went home and quizzed their parents/carers about their occupations and then came into school to share with the class and members of the teaching team were happy to share their own journeys in whole-school assemblies. The language of the eight essential skills is now being used and referred to consistently across the whole school and the children are able to articulate the importance of each skill, how they have improved and what has helped them. Pupils are very clear about how the skills are needed both now and in their future to support them in maximising their choices in life. Teachers feel that the online resources support them in providing opportunities for practising the skills without increasing workload and the children enjoy the online activities which were also made available during lockdown through the home learning hub.
Keep it simple
Development of the essential skills has been strategically planned, regular training has been provided and opportunities to share ideas and best practice have been provided throughout the academic year. All resources including posters for each of the individual skills were provided to all year groups, laminated and ready to be used and referred to within the school day. Every classroom has a Skills Builder board and the skill/s being focused on are clearly displayed. A whole-school display board is used and referred to regularly in assemblies and individual certificates are displayed as well as being sent home. The programme has been introduced to Governors and impact has been monitored as the year has progressed. Regular assemblies have taken place with clear focus on a skill at a time. Regular teacher voice and pupil voice questionnaires are taking place across the school to monitor the effectiveness of the programme and ensure consistency across the key stages.
Start early, keep going
Each year group across the phases has introduced all the skills, with a focus on the key skills which is most needed for the particular cohort. As the children move through the school, the language will become more embedded and consistent, moving with them as they progress through the school. Parents have been introduced to the Skills Builder programme and career-related learning via 'parentmail' and we have had some parents into school and some presenting virtually details about their own careers and how the essential skills support them in their occupations.
Measure it
The Skills Builder Hub has enabled teachers to record the progress of their students throughout the year. As a school, we have asked that this is updated three times a year to show how much progress has been made throughout their time in the year group. This has also formed part of a discussion in pupil progress meetings and transition meetings. A teacher voice and pupil voice took place at the beginning of June to ascertain the impact the programme had had and to begin to show a correlation between progress of the skills and academic progress/attainment.
Focus tightly
The teachers have autonomy over how they teach the essential skills. Some classes have short daily activities using the online resources, whilst others provide regular teaching opportunities twice a week. The work we have been completing on developing our curriculum allows teachers to interleave extra activities and discussions about the skills which link directly to the learning they are engaged in. This provides more meaning, whilst reference to the skills throughout reading of whole-class texts is giving a context to the skills.
Keep practising
Pupils are given time to practise the skills throughout the school week taken from the online resources or planned around their curriculum. A whole-school extra-curricular 'Futures Week' enabled the children to consider jobs of the future with links in particular to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This was supported by the eight essential skills as the children were able to share, discuss and consider which skills would be most important for each career path.
Bring it to life
'Futures Week' proved successful in enabling the children to see the wider context of the skills. Visitors to the school, either face-to-face or virtually were able to give specific examples of how the skills have supported them in achieving their best in life and improving their life choices. In Foundation Stage, the class have developed a link with a farmer who they are able to speak to regularly and share videos and information across the whole school. As we move forward into the new academic year, we are hopeful that there will be more opportunities to be involved in real-life projects as [Covid] restrictions ease.
What's next
Now the skills are embedded, we are hoping to increase our focus on careers-related learning next academic year and complete some specific work around gender stereotyping. The current School Council, with support from a prior student, now at secondary school, have begun some work around this which will be developed further next year. All year groups will have an opportunity to complete a home learning task around careers which links to a Learning Journey and they will be responsible for presenting this to the whole school in an assembly. The eight essential skills will form part of this presentation and help to consolidate learning around the skills. We hope to continue to capitalise on strong parental relationships by inviting parents in to see the assemblies whilst we continue to encourage parents to come in to share their experiences of work and careers. Our hope is that the children will go through the school with a real purpose, drive and enthusiasm for their future.
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Primary School
Market Deeping Community Primary School
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Primary School

Market Deeping Community Primary School

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Market Deeping Community Primary School
Context
We are a school in Market Deeping, which is 9 miles away from the city of Peterborough. We have nearly 300 pupils on roll, which is broken down into: 58% boys,22% FSM, 26% PP, 19% SEN and 4% EAL. We live in a predominantly White British community and feel that we need to further the children's appreciation of the wider world, the diversity of people and religions within it and to also seek to give them greater aspirations for what they go work hard towards achieving in their lives.
Overall impact
We made excellent progress in the Autumn term as highlighted by our involvement in a Skills Builder Education webinar. The introduction of the tokens reward system has led to much-improved buy-in and direction. We have also done lots of work on our curriculum and have now decided to put the skills at the heart of everything we do. The skills values, as we call them, are now the school values and drive everything that we do in school!
Keep it simple
We have embedded the language and concepts of Skills Builder over the past few year and stepped this up at the start of this academic year by introducing our 'Skill Token' reward system, which has lead to much greater 'buy-in' from the children and the staff. We have worked on four of the skills: Listening, Aiming High, Staying Positive and Teamwork. Our work has mostly been led through whole school assemblies and follow-up class work led by me. In addition, the teachers have utilised the language and vocabulary and displayed the progression posters in classrooms. This year, teachers have also been using some of the Skills Builder Hub resources/lessons too. Our most recent development has been to incorporate the skills into our core values statement that underpin the curriculum, which has been an exciting new venture.
Start early, keep going
We start using the terminology and resources from the Skills Builder Hub in Reception class and these are built on year-on-year throughout school. We have put together a presentation power point that we have shared with parents, which is on the landing page of our school website. This outlines the work that we have done so far and our next steps. We also ensure that parents are aware of the skills through our certificates, which are awarded for every 10 tokens that the children receive from their teachers/teaching assistants. In addition, we are about to develop our weekly celebration assembly, so the children are rewarded for their achievements with our core 'skills values' as we look to embed our revised school values, which are based on the Skills Builder essential skills.
Measure it
This is an area of further development for us. We have completed a baseline assessment on the Skills Builder Hub and plan to finish our end of year assessments. We hope to carry out the assessments 3 times a year from September, following on from our 'skills values' developmental work around the curriculum.
Focus tightly
Essential skills are incorporated into our planning and delivery. We use the skill icons within our flip charts/PowerPoints and make explicit teaching points to ensure that we are developing the skills in all subject areas. This is working well in the foundation and Science subject areas. We discuss the skills that we are using and refer back to teaching points made in assemblies and in Personal, Social, Health and Emotional (PSHE) sessions, where we look at and review the skills.
Keep practising
Practical opportunities to apply the essential skills are built into our everyday lessons within a range of subject areas. We have organised and run a few Skills Builder Projects and we plan on using more in the future.
Bring it to life
We are exploring how we can plan for and run more real-life challenges for our Upper Key Stage 2 children especially, in the upcoming year. This is our main target going forward.
What's next
We have begun to introduce the 'skills values' to the children and have carried out some in-house staff training to ensure that all the adults in school are aware of the new direction of travel. We have also shared this vision with our schools improvement locality lead, who was very impressed with our recent work. We now need to embed this into the everyday language and thinking of the children and to ensure that the skills values are incorporated in all of our lessons in every year group. The new certificates for the end of week celebration assembly will help us to do this and we are working hard to ensure that the skills are clearly mapped out in our knowledge/progression documents. We do want to carry out a body of work around aspiration in the new academic year.
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Primary School
Menston Primary School
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Primary School

Menston Primary School

This content was written by
Menston Primary School
Context
Our school is a larger-than-average primary school. Over the past few years we have been re-designing our curriculum and felt that now was the right time to be part of the Accelerator programme. Our curriculum aims to prepare our children for their next steps in their future. Within our broad and balanced curriculum we have identified three main focus elements: STEM, outdoor learning, and health and well-being. Essential skills are not a bolt-on element for us but rather a 'golden thread' that weaves through our curriculum and unites our focus elements and the broader curriculum together. In essence, essential skills are at the heart of what we do.
Overall impact
The programme has helped staff to feel confident about delivering direct skills teaching and has given them a clear framework to work to. For our children, it has helped them to develop as learners by understanding that skills are also things we also need to learn and that we can all improve in these areas just as we do in maths, for example. It has helped them to be more confident as a result. Parental response to reports last year was very positive.
Keep it simple
To promote the skills widely, we have displays including skills icons, steps and vocabulary in all class rooms and in communal areas. We have also established a separate page on the school website dedicated to Skills Builder which is also hyperlinked from other relevant pages (e.g. curriculum page). We have a Skills Section in the half-termly curriculum newsletter for parents and governors so that they are aware of this work. Finally, skills steps are shown on medium term plans using the language from the Skills Builder Framework.
Start early, keep going
All children across all year groups are accessing the Skills Builder Framework. Parents are informed of the essential skill the children are working on each half-term. End of year reports last year and this year have dedicated 'skills' sections linked to the Framework and use its language.
Measure it
We use the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub. Staff find this really useful in identifying the start points for skills teaching, They use their knowledge of how children use the skills across the curriculum to help them complete this assessment. The Extended Framework has also proved useful for children to see the small steps they need to take over the half-term to reach the next full step. [The Extended Framework breaks each skill step into smaller stepping stones to support progression]
Focus tightly
Resources from the Skills Builder Hub are used for direct teaching of skills and staff can supplement this with any other relevant activities they find. For example, STEM and our progressive outdoor learning curricula provide a myriad of opportunities for this. We focus on one essential skill per half-term as a school. Staff then plan which lessons across the curriculum will be used to further develop the taught skills using the wrapper skills approach.
Keep practising
We made a strategic decision that the skills would be developed across all curriculum areas as the core of our curriculum - acting as a 'golden' thread to provide the children with a sense of connectivity across their different areas of learning. The curriculum diagram on our website illustrates this relationship and can be found at: https://menstonprimary.co.uk/key-info/curriculum/
Bring it to life
For may of our children, using these skills in STEM subjects where we also highlight careers in these areas is a key way in which they understand how the skills can be used in wider life. In a Year 2 Design Technology lesson on bridge design, the children were using teamwork skills from the Extended Framework and we discussed how engineers used teamwork skills to design and build real bridges. We keep a careers learning log where staff record careers learning to help us monitor this.
What's next
We aim to integrate the skills more fully into our reward system which we are redesigning. Once Covid restrictions allow, we will bring back careers-related visitors. We want to develop stronger links between essential skills and STEM learning. Finally, we will continue to develop the understanding of the Skills Builder Framework in our wider community.
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Primary School
Mossford Green Primary School
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Primary School

Mossford Green Primary School

This content was written by
Mossford Green Primary School
Context
Our school felt that a lot of our children's barriers to progress within reading comprehension and developing as writers, was to do with their ability to articulate their ideas verbally. When discussing their learning, debating issues, commentating on what they could see, our children struggled. Skills Builder provided us with an assessment framework so that we could produce a baseline for our classes. Skills Builder then provided us with manageable targets and activities in order to create success criteria and push for accelerated progress in speaking and listening for all our children.
Overall impact
The impact of the Accelerator programme on our children can not be underestimated. The assessment tool, targets, activities and the language framework it gave us was just what we needed to move from good intentions and sporadic good practice, to a well-structured, whole school approach that built from Nursery up to Year 6. It has allowed our senior leadership team to develop an approach that can cover the whole school and permeate all aspects of curriculum learning. Essential skills are now an integral part of weekly planning and reflect how key skills are also an integral part for the schools development plan and school action plan. The highlight for the leadership team has been this incredible tool to apply across the school to skill development. For teachers the highlight has been the workshop days based on skills - especially the Skills Builder Workshop day.
Keep it simple
We have used the broken down targets in each class - these are displayed at the front of the class for teachers to refer to. This means that children across the year group in different classes with different teachers, will still be using the same language framework to discuss their essential skills. Teachers have been given time each term to adapt their planning to create more opportunities to develop essential skills around speaking and listening. The Upper Leadership Team have carried out learning walks and classroom checks to ensure that these targets are displayed and used. The language and targets around these essential skills are now embedded across a range of curriculum policies. Certificates and Learner awards celebrate children who display key characteristics of the Skill areas or who meet targets in impressive ways. This way, teachers, children and there parents are constantly hearing the language around essential skills.
Start early, keep going
We have built from the bottom up, ensuring that nursery children up to Year 6 are working on the same assessment and language framework to develop their skills. All teachers, from the Nursery to Year 6 (including all our cover staff) have been involved in the training and are confident in teaching a skills based approach using Skills Builder. Year 6 children are as prepared for the next step in their futures as surely as the Nursery children are equipped with the vital skills they need for reception. This learning from Nursery to Year 6 builds on prior learning - always pushing for greater progress. This learning is not in isolation, but becomes and integral, integrated part of their normal curriculum. Additional time for planning was provided to weave essential skills into the fabric of our school curriculum. The school's development plan, that is overseen by the governing body, continues to contain key focuses around the explicit learning of essential skills such as speaking, listening etc.
Measure it
The assessment tool from Skills Builder has been key to establishing a baseline that teachers can begin planning from - taking relevant targets, breaking them down, and incorporating these into lessons. Teachers regularly use the Skills Builder targets to monitor the progress of their children - this has been both in-print to have handy in class, but also online resources. The targets have been one of the best features about Skills Builder as not only can teachers assess where the children are, they can improve their skills in a structured and organised way as they move up the school. It also enables children to talk about and discuss their learning using a common language. Children and teachers can articulate where they currently are, what their targets are, what they are working on practising and consolidating and where they will eventually get to.
Focus tightly
Essential skills, such as listening and speaking, are planned into maths, English and foundation subjects. This can often be daily, but as a minimum, is a weekly requirement for each subject. Initially, skills are taught as a discrete skill - with time and focus paid to the target as a main part of the lesson. Then, opportunities are planned in for children to consolidate their learning of these essential skills and practise them in lessons. Planning in of discrete and consolidation learning is monitored by the upper leadership team of the school. Learning walks and monitoring of planning reveals that teachers are not only ensuring that lessons on speaking and listening etc are planned in, but these lessons are pitched at an appropriate standard for that year group and match the initial assessment that teachers carried out.
Keep practising
At Mossford Green, we know that unless learning and knowledge can be applied across a range of curriculum areas and on new problems, then it has not been assimilated to a great enough depth. We apply this to the essential skills that children learn too. For instance, when children are taught about tone and gesture in Year 6, they have to apply what they have learnt in different situations. For example, they had to present their maths and English learning to their parents online, live presenting to their peers about their political views, and presenting to the reception children about how to play a playground game. Each required the same skill to be met, but in very different way requiring the children to practise and display a deep understanding of the skill. The majority of our extra-curricular activities are sport based, so we ensure that the skills of teamwork and communication alongside their targets are explicitly referred to so that children can see their learning applied in real life.
Bring it to life
Our entire curriculum is a "topic-based" approach, meaning that knowledge and skills learnt in one lesson, will be planned for and expected to be seen across other subjects. To support this, we have a number of days where the children will have to accomplish real tasks that require them to put into practise the skills they have learnt. For instance, in our topic on India, the children were put into teams and each team was required to cook a product they had learnt to make, advertise it, set up a stall on the playground and sell it to the school community - this took an entire day. The children were explicitly shown how the skills they had learnt around teamwork, speaking, presenting, listening etc would be vital to be successful. This was seen in many other project days including the Skills Builder workshop day: A Day in Politics, which was a huge success.
What's next
As a school, we will continue to include key skills as part of our action plan. Speaking and listing are still key focuses in the plan, but this year we also want to include Staying Positive and Teamwork as our next Essential Skills Focus. The following year Aiming High and Leadership will be our new Key Focuses. That's obviously not to say that these skills are not being covered, but that they are not the focus of in-depth monitoring and scrutiny. We also want to increase the amount of Essential Skills Workshop days that we have - both through Skills Builder and one that we develop ourselves.
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Special School
Nancealverne School
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Special School

Nancealverne School

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Nancealverne School
Context
Nancealverne School is a special school for young people aged 4-19 years old and based in Penzance, in West Cornwall. It is part of the Special Partnership Trust which runs all special schools within Cornwall, as well as a number of Area Resource Base Provisions within mainstream schools. Nancealverne School has been using the Skills Builder Framework for almost two years. During this time, we have developed the use of the framework to show us how to build the essential skills for life at each stage of young people's education with us. Skills Builder provides us with the key language, resources and structure to develop the key essential skills across all areas of the curriculum.
Overall impact
Our Careers Programme and Work Related Learning links the essential skills across all key stages from Early Years to Post 16 - the essential skills are linked on plans and the events themselves.
Keep it simple
Our school website has a dedicated webpage for Skills Builder There is also a whole school Skills Builder display is in the main hall, accessed by all students. All Post 16 classes have logos for individual skills mapped against curriculum offers and displays in classrooms. And termly links to each skill are in place across the curriculum for Secondary and Post 16. Our staff use the language of the essential skills within marking grids for each lesson, and share these with young people in focused feedback.
Start early, keep going
Essential skills are referenced through Medium Term planning for all classes from KS3 upwards. Skills are also mapped to long term planning for classes in Post 16. Termly links to each skill are in place across the curriculum for Secondary and Post 16 and for specific focus groups of students.
Measure it
Essential skills language and development is key through the Post 16 curriculum and modules of accreditation in the Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN). Our Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum references essential skills for work, as well as our Careers Programme and Work Related Learning Offer. Our existing measurement tools, BSquared and Compass +, are already being used as measurement tools and clear links with the essential skills can be made here.
Focus tightly
Skills teaching can be tracked through use of essential skills monitoring on medium term planning for secondary and Post 16 students. Primary and Early Years have the skills linked on planning, as well as those in Semi-Formal and Bridging to Learn class groups. Skills teaching across the timetable/curriculum can be found through links in medium term plans to subjects. Termly links to each skill are in place across the curriculum for Secondary and Post 16 also.
Keep practising
Skill teaching across the timetable/curriculum can be found through links in medium term subject plans. Our Personal Health Social Economic and Careers Curriculum focus on links to development planning in these areas and the intention for schemes of work. Our use of the Compass + evaluation show us that cross curricular work for the skills is developed at all stages.
Bring it to life
During our Careers Focus Fortnight visitors and speakers were made aware of focus skills development for their projects. Weekly enterprise projects were run weekly and job roles were assigned link to skills - these job roles allowed practical application of the essential skills.
What's next
We hope to continue to develop the use of the essential skills in all lessons, and cross curricular learning opportunities to move young people towards a more purposeful adult life. Developing our consistent approach to Skills Builder through the Accelerator + programme is also vital for momentum - and engaging primary learners in more specific skill teaching also. Our continued use of the Projects and Challenges will also make this a fun way to learn for all and will enable/support whole school working.
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College
New College Durham
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College

New College Durham

This content was written by
New College Durham
Context
At New College Durham we have been exploring innovative ways to enhance the curriculum for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We are currently using a Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA)-based approach to capture progression through the skills elements required to enable students to be the best they can. I felt that the opportunity to enhance the learner journey with the Skills Builder approach would give the opportunity for all learners to show progression, and mastery of the skills highlighted whilst giving a focus for teaching and support staff to facilitate and celebrate student achievement. All students work towards the 'Preparing for Adulthood' framework which includes developing skills in Employability, Staying Healthy, Independent Living and Building Friends, Relationships and Community. The essential skills and supported offer provides a seamless transition to track, measure and sustain growth for all students.
Overall impact
The programme has been a central factor of the blended learning approach which the college has adopted this year. The adaptability of the team and the resources has been valuable. Students have been able to feel successful and see their progress which has provided intrinsic motivation. The staying positive resources have been very valuable for mental health provision during a particularly challenging year. The virtual trips were so well received that students opted to come in on their day off.
Keep it simple
The college adopted a blended learning approach to teaching in response to the Covid-19 restrictions and the pandemic. As part of the remote offer all learners have completed the Skills Builder workbooks. Where Digital poverty was an issue, students were posted the Skills Builder workbook to complete. Some students accessed the virtual lessons in which the short skills lessons were delivered. Others completed Launchpad activities or worked through the skill stories.
Start early, keep going
All learners had the opportunity to engage with Skills Builder through the college blended learning approach (see above). This will be further developed next year to include explicit teaching for English to Speakers of Other Languages pupils who do not currently access the materials through explicit teaching.
Measure it
Students have reflected on their skills using the passports to record their learning. This has now migrated for some students onto Benchmark (one pilot group). Some staff benchmarked their students on the hub, though this was challenging given the individual needs of many of the learners. Some learners are part of the pilot group using launchpad. All students will complete benchmark at 3 points during the year.
Focus tightly
All planning contains a 'Work-Ready Skills' section which highlight how students will be taught the essential skills as part of a topic or series of lessons. All teachers used the workbooks and icons on their resources. This has been a core element of the blended learning module. Teaching staff are starting to use the resources within their lessons, selecting the appropriate resource. The skills are mapped into the Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA) award. Individual learning plans.
Keep practising
New College Durham have piloted 3 virtual trips with UBS this year. Attendance was high and students came in on their day off in order to participate. Tutorials and Skills sessions are used to deliver explicit teaching of the 8 essential skills when students are in school. Teaching staff are starting to use the resources within their lessons, selecting the appropriate resource. Two skills based competitions - Problem Solving and Creativity.
Bring it to life
Students took part in the love your college week in which they took part in projects aimed at developing their essential skills. The activities were all mapped against skills. The work placements which have gone ahead were with family members; for example one boy worked with his Grandfather. In this instance the students were given the Skills Workbooks and recorded their experiences, learning and reflections in the workbooks.
What's next
Next year, Benchmark will be used at the start, middle and end of term to determine where students are on the framework. Students will then be assigned Launchpad work. We will start to work with English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students and build the programme into world skills. We will use Challenge Days as part of our transition programme and keep warm activities over the summer. Skills Builder will be written into policies and rewards. We would like to continue to support with the Profound and Multiple Learning Disability (PMLD) working group.
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Primary School
New Silksworth Infant Academy
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Primary School

New Silksworth Infant Academy

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New Silksworth Infant Academy
Context
Over the past two years, we have been building an aspirational culture at our school in which children are praised and rewarded for displaying 'learning behaviors.' All staff at the school contributed to the creation of this ethos and are therefore committed to embedding our pupils not only with the knowledge but also the skills needed to be successful learners and future citizens and employees. As Raising Aspirations Lead, the connection between the Skills Builder programme and our vision for our pupils is evident and participating in the programme undoubtedly helps us to achieve this. As participants on the Careers Primary Benchmarks Pilot, we are also very aware of the need to explicitly teach our pupils new skills but also provide them with new experiences such as those offered by Skills Builder. The offer of workplace visits, projects and challenge days are very appealing as without the links and resources available through we may be unable to provide such a broad curriculum.
Overall impact
Skills Builder enables us to develop and embed the explicit teaching of skills to our pupils. In addition to this one of our school priorities is the redesign of our whole school curriculum with a focus on related skills and learning behaviours. Whilst, we have started this process and identified some of the skills, the vast number of resources available through Skills Builder has supported. The Challenge Day was a particular highlight.
Keep it simple
At New Silksworth most classrooms have the skill icon posters which teachers refer to in planning. Communal areas have the skills icon posters up which helps to raise awareness amongst staff and students. The core learning behaviours have been linked to the Skills Builder skills. These are referenced in each lesson and students are rewarded in each lesson. Students get certificates for demonstrating the core learning behaviours.
Start early, keep going
All years groups completed a Skills Builder Challenge Day, Operation Moonbase. During periods of remote learning all students were sent the short lessons and the daily challenges to complete. All staff have had the Skills Builder training and most staff are now referring to the skills in their teaching.
Measure it
50% of staff have used the hub to record progress in Listening and Speaking. Using the Skills Builder Hub assessment tool as a diagnostic tool was a focus of the staff training. As a result staff are now using the assessment to support them to select the correct level of task and short lesson to do with their students. Staff assessed their students against the Universal Framework in order to select the correct level of Challenge Day to do.
Focus tightly
Data from the Skills Builder Hub and observations show that explicit teaching is strong in Years 1, 5, and 6. Links to the video resources which can support certain topics or areas of learning have been put into the Year 1 and 6 scheme of learning. Next year these will be in all schemes of learning across all year groups
Keep practising
Teachers refer to the essential skills when teaching different lessons. This has been observed as strong practise in Year 1, 5 and 6. Extra-curricular is delivered by classroom staff and in these sessions staff refer to the essential skills and the core learning principles. The Gallery Opening Project has been used in Key Stage 1 and Active Minds in Key Stage 2 to support with the teaching of essential skills. The Projects and Challenge Days have modelled how to teach essential skills and allow for effective practice.
Bring it to life
New Silksworth took part in one virtual trip this year, we also ran 2 Skills Builder Projects and one Challenge Day. The Challenge Day will become an annual event and there are plans to hold a Fayre in which students will run stalls as part of an enterprise challenge.
What's next
Next year New Silksworth will use the Skills Builder Digital Membership. The school will embed the programme into the curriculum using the short lessons to teach the skills and will also use the Challenge Day as a school wide challenge.
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Primary School
Newark Hill Academy
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Primary School

Newark Hill Academy

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Newark Hill Academy
Context
Newark Hill Academy is a primary school based in Peterborough. We are a dedicated team, working closely together to create a caring and supportive learning environment where all our pupils feel secure, safe and happy whilst ensuring everyone achieves their full potential. We are part of The Greenwood Academies Trust (GAT) which currently has 37 open academies educating approximately 16,000 pupils across seven local authority areas including Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire, Leicester City, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Lincolnshire and Central Bedfordshire. We are proud to state that we are a Microsoft Showcase School and are the first primary school to have achieved the National Careers Mark in 2019. At Newark Hill Academy we embedded the Skills Builder Accelerator Programme within our Wonderful Curriculum about two years ago. We identified as part of our School Improvement Plan that our pupils needed to develop their basic oracy- speaking and listening skills in English as a core subject as well as other foundation subjects. Through our careers and aspirations events and activities we were aware that we need to prepare our pupils to develop their 8 essential skills, especially for working in the world of work and employment in the future. We have ascertained as a school that in order to equip our pupils for the world of work and jobs that do not exist today, it is important to develop these basic skills as the foundation to develop further when our pupils reach secondary school and go into further education. We, as an an academy are very aware that all our pupils will benefit immensely from the Skills Builder Accelerator Programme, especially our pupils with English as an additional alnguage who require more opportunities to enhance their speaking and listening skills.
Overall impact
It has been a great journey over the course of the two years to launch, embed and celebrate the Skills Builder Accelerator Programme within our bespoke curriculum for all stakeholders- teachers, pupils and our wider community. Making explicit links with developing an essential skill within our planned lesson has enabled our pupils to engage in their learning, make sense of that learning and practice a skill well. Using the Hub for support materials to deliver teaching a skill and then tracking our class progress has enabled us to measure the positive impact in their learning. Practicing a skill and then applying it independently has also been very impactful upon our pupils' academic progress. For example, practicing a step of teamwork in a particular session and then later on applying that same skill in another session such as Design Technology by designing a future vehicle in pairs or groups has been a pleasure to witness. Through the careers-related events during our recent remote learning it was once again brilliant to witness our Key Stage 2 pupils actively thinking and asking volunteers from different sectors of the world of employment questions linked to the 8 essential skills in the activities.
Keep it simple
Newark Hill Academy have a whole-school approach to adopting the Skills Builder Programme into our day-to-day teaching and learning. We refer to the 8 essential skills consistently so that our pupils are aware of which skill is being used and how to effectively apply it within their learning. It helps both pupils and adults to engage in an activity and make explicit links to a skill that is displayed in every classroom at eye level for pupils to see. With a planned activity, we use the Skills Builder Hub to unpick a speaking and listening skill to develop within the session as well as one other skill. Completing the base line assessment has supported teachers to make a best fit judgement on the skills our pupils need to work on. Within our core and foundation subjects, teachers are improving on making clear links with enhancing particular skills within the learning planned. Once pupils have worked on a skill we are also assess to track progress made. Skills Builder has also been incorporated in our reward system.
Start early, keep going
At the beginning of our journey, all pupils from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 2 were assessed in the whole-class baseline assessment. Teachers were able to plan incorporating the 8 essential skills with this as our starting point. We map out developing particular skills by making links with the theme of a session within our core and foundation subjects. We began our journey with developing our speaking and listening skills and then progressed to develop other skills from the 8 essential skills. We have informed our parents of how we provide opportunities for our pupils to engage in developing the 8 essentials skills throughout the year and they are able to see if their child has met or achieved a skill when they have been identified by the classroom teacher as having met a skill to be rewarded a certificate to skill their success. During lockdown, our pupils and parents were to engage with the Home Learning Zone designed particularly for remote learning.
Measure it
We regularly use the Skills Builder Hub to unpick a skill and a specific step to work on with our pupils. We engage and use the online resources to support us to teach a particular skill. Once an activity is complete we assess the level of engagement from our pupils as a best fit judgement and track the progress on the Hub. We also carry out formative assessment by asking our pupils targeted questions to assess their understanding of the skill. This is also reflected in our whole school reward system- Class Dojos. Our pupils can achieve up to 5 Dojo points for doing particularly well in a skill and showing progress. Once this has been achieved, we move onto the next stage of tracking progress by awarding a pupil a specific skill certificate in assembly to celebrate their success in achieving a skill.
Focus tightly
In our planning and teaching, we incorporate building the 8 essentials skills as much as possible. Our planning and teaching shows that on a daily basis our pupils have planned opportunities to develop a skill and self assess or reflect on how well they did in achieving a skill within their session. At the beginning of a session we introduce the Learning Objective followed by the link made with Skills Builder. We discuss which skill we will work on with the session and the read out the step so that all pupils are clear. The Hub is an excellent resource which facilitates us immensely to effectively teach and provide an opportunity to develop a skill by accessing the resources online.
Keep practising
Our pupils have the chance to practice their essential skills in planned activities and learning opportunities within our day-to-day sessions. We make explicit links within our curriculum and plan the 8 essentials skills around our themes in our Medium Term Plans and our daily lessons. We also use some of the extended projects available through the Hub. Our pupils also engage in the Skills Builder Assembly materials when we focus on a particular skill which is planned and delivered by a member of Senior Leadership Team.
Bring it to life
At Newark Hill Academy we help our pupils see how they can use these essential skills in wider life by planning opportunities whereby explicit links are made to the skills within our career events. Pre- and post- COVID-19 we have worked with employers from different fields so they have shared their job roles and work experiences. For example, we had arranged a What's My Line Virtual Assembly for KS2 to guess the job of a volunteer. Pupils were encouraged to ask career-related questions that also link in with the essential skills to find out more about a specific job. This has enabled our pupils to have a better understanding of a particular role that they may be interested to pursue when they are older and work out which skills they need require in order to do a job well.
What's next
We will continue to use the Hub to access resources and materials for our pupils to engage and practice their skills. We will continue to assess the progress made by our pupils at the end of practicing a skill on the Hub. We will continue to build the successes of our pupils achieving the 8 essential skills by being more consistent with awarding the pupils with a certificate in assembly. As the Careers and Aspirations lead, I would like to build a competition atmosphere amongst our pupils and teachers across the Academy to monitor which class use the Hub most, monitor who is the most engaged online and tracking the progress. This will then be celebrated in the weekly Newsletter sent home to parents and carers to see the most engaged class.
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Newcastle College
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College

Newcastle College

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Newcastle College
Context
The Skills Builder Award has proved an invaluable external framework for Newcastle College in supporting the planning, development and implementation of essential skills as part of the college's curriculum footprint over two academic years since 2019. The college used the initial 8 essential skills to benchmark and create its own set of Knowledge, Skills and behaviours (KSB) appropriate to the development needs of our students. Our aim is to signpost these skills at every opportunity for students to see the relevance and context when working through activities and experiencing meaningful engagements with a range of key stakeholders as part of their course. This intention was to ensure that our students are fully aware of the importance of developing new skills, personal characteristics and behaviour traits associated with their intended career destinations. The sequential structure of the 5-guiding principles easily aligns to our own academic structure and operational calendar.
Overall impact
Using the Accelerator Programme and embedding the 8 essential skills against our own skills framework has allowed the college to self-assess itself on what it delivers and identify where improvements still needs to be made. This has not been without its challenges over the last academic year where students have been taught remotely. The impact on this has been a reliance of student independent learning and subsequently this has led to the wider understanding of why essential skills is important.
Keep it simple
Every student as part of tutorial engagement, receive a reflective log book promoting the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB) required to achieve well. The 8 essential skills were used to formulate our KSB framework. Aligned to our teaching and learning policy and quality assurance plans, the booklet is used to review and evaluate progress by the student and personal tutor. Parents are informed through termly progress reviews and parental engagement activities.
Start early, keep going
Planning of skills development resources is aligned to engage all students irrespective of academic level. Promotion and application of skills takes place at every stage of the career’s guidance journey whether during prior-enrolment in schools, on programme or at exit to inform progression.
Measure it
All Newcastle College teaching and learning delivery is centred around 12 teaching, learning and assessment indicators to achieve success. The delivery model focusses on the purpose of learning and the mechanisms that are incorporated as consistent practice for students to learn. Formative assessment of learning takes place through regular student discussion including 1to1 interactions where action plans are agreed.
Focus tightly
College policy and procedures relating to teaching, learning and assessment underpin the emphasis on high quality delivery. Every student receives a weekly timetable based on developing essential skills as they progress through their course. eTrackr is used by students and staff to record their initial targets based on their current abilities and qualifications. Lessons are planned through the creation of a detailed schemes of learning.
Keep practising
Students are proactively encouraged to demonstrate and apply their understanding of essential skills through a broad range of contextualised vocational projects, work experiences and interactions and engagement with employers as part of the overall curriculum offer. This also includes internal skills competitions as part of NCG, progressing to external national recognition in World Skills competitions.
Bring it to life
Employer engagement and exposure to the world of work is used so students are aware of what is required in their chosen vocation. Virtual work experiences allow students to engage with employers online, providing opportunities for students to communicate directly with employers, demonstrating e.g. listening and speaking skills, creativity and problem solving. This enables student groups from different curriculum areas to work together to resolve business challenges.
What's next
Our aim next academic year is to ensure essential skills are at the heart of developing quality improvement plans linking to our intent strategy across Newcastle College and wider college group. Operationally this will impact on the updating of our cross college Careers Advice and Guidance Framework and development of skills delivery as part of our rollout of T-Levels. Key milestones will be identified over the year to review and reflect on progress using student and employer voice as feedback.
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Secondary School
Northstowe Secondary College
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Secondary School

Northstowe Secondary College

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Northstowe Secondary College
Context
As a new school, we are building our curriculum from scratch. We firmly believe that an enriching curriculum is one that blends powerful knowledge with key skills. The Skills Builder Accelerator Programme helps us to measure this and provides a focus for all staff to reflect on the Skills they are teaching to help students become more actively aware when they are learning about and using key skills.
Overall impact
I think a particular highlight has been our End of Term reflection activity, which has allowed our students to piece together the work they do in the subject curriculum, with the skills education they have learned in Tutor time and How to Thrive.
Keep it simple
Within our 'How to Thrive' lessons, we have introduced the students to the language of Skills Builder. Working through the Skills Builder Hub, and with the support of the Unifrog platform, students have been introduced to these skills. They have evaluated each of the skills and the contribution the last year has made to their learning in and understanding of these skills.
Start early, keep going
All of our learners have produced an end of year reflection video to send home to parents. This has been based around essential skills and how they have shown evidence of these skills this year, and where they would like to improve in the next year.
Measure it
We use the Unifrog platform to record mentoring and to record levels of competency at different essential skills. This allows us to track how much our students are engaging with these skills, and will allow us to see how they move forward as they progress through the school.
Focus tightly
The essential skills are built into the ‘How to thrive’ curriculum which involves students engaging with weekly core skills and PSHE lessons. These sessions see our students being introduced to the key concepts of the essential skills and teachers made use of the Skills Builder Hub resources.
Keep practising
We regularly build essential skills use into our How to Thrive curriculum (weekly core skills and PSHE lessons for all students). Within PE, we also focus on particularly on Leadership and Teamwork. In our Tutor time curriculum, we have been focussing on Listening and Speaking, during our 'Your Voice Matters' oracy project, this has involved a whole school debate competition and preparing for their end of year reflection presentations. This has then fed into other subjects, with English and History both regularly referencing the Listening techniques learned during the 'Your voice matters' project.
Bring it to life
This year, all our students are taking part in a Skills Builder event. Year 7 are completing an 'Operation Moonbase' challenge day and Year 8 have been on a virtual trip with Urban Splash, a local company. This has allowed them to explore the essential skills in relation to wider life experiences.
What's next
We plan to further refine our use of Unifrog to allow the students to more regularly track and evaluate their skills understanding. We will be asking all our teachers to refer more explicitly within their curriculum documents and teaching to the skills that they are already teaching.
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Primary School
Old Park Primary School
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Primary School

Old Park Primary School

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Old Park Primary School
Context
As a school, we wanted a way to develop and enhance essential skills with our pupils so that when they leave school they can effectively contribute to society.
Overall impact
Children within school definitely have a wider knowledge of the essential skills and why these are important within school and how they will help them to succeed outside of school and as they progress through life. The programme has given teachers the confidence to deliver lessons effectively by providing explicit material to utilise making it much easier for them deliver effective skills lessons.
Keep it simple
The development of essential skills is now within the school's strategic development plan and skills certificates are used each week in assemblies to celebrate children who demonstrate the skills throughout the week. All classrooms have the visual skills posters displayed and some classrooms have working skills walls that are updated on a weekly basis using post it notes. All teachers use a visual whiteboard display to discuss the essential skills that will be used in each lesson.
Start early, keep going
Skills Builder lessons are taught on a weekly basis in each classroom from Reception to Year 6. These lessons are scheduled on each year group's timetables. Many classrooms provide opportunities for children to reflect upon skills used throughout the week.
Measure it
Time is scheduled for teachers to update the assessment tool on the Skills Builder Hub once per term (three times per year). Some teachers update the Hub more regularly after skills sessions are taught, but this regularity is not consistent across the school yet. The Skills Leader checks the Hub for the school once every half term to see what has been going on, and the progress made.
Focus tightly
All teachers explicitly teach a Skills Builder lesson each week. These lessons are scheduled on each year group's timetable.
Keep practising
Children are reminded of the essential skills prior to each lesson being taught. A visual display board on the interactive board is displayed providing opportunities for the children to discuss which skills they think they will use in the lesson and why the skills are important. Some teachers link this discussion to essential skills outside of school and how and when they will need that skills in later life.
Bring it to life
We are currently taking part in the Black Country Careers events where each year group from Years 3 - 6 complete careers days. These days link to the essential skills required for the career discussed and provide opportunities for the children to reflect upon what skills they already have and which skills they need to develop further. Next year, we hope to run the careers events in all year groups. Each year group has also completed a Skills Builder Project.
What's next
Looking forward, we would like to incorporate more opportunities for project days and enterprise type days within and across the school to allow all children to have skills experiences.
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Special School
Orchard Manor School
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Special School

Orchard Manor School

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Orchard Manor School
Context
We are a Residential Special School ((4-19) for pupils with Communication and Interaction difficulties, including Autism. The pupils have a wide range of needs, abilities and interests which have necessitated a broad curriculum, but which includes a common need to develop Life Skills and communication and interaction skills so pupils are better equipped to to function as independently and confidently as possible in society. The Skills Builder programme offers the platform and resources for staff to support the development of these skills for our pupils to learn, practice and apply them to real life situations.
Overall impact
The impact of the Accelerator programme has been the positive development of pupils' essential skills across a range of scenarios, situations and environments, then the reflection on, and practice of, the skills to increase the understanding that these skills are transferrable and can be used (and developed) to help pupils in different circumstances. Several highlights have been the initial learning and practice of the skills within school, that have then been used as part of community projects (such as organising Christmas Cards and presents for residents of local care homes for the elderly), whereby skill development has been celebrated in the context of a real-life situation, with observable and tangible outcomes for the pupils work and progress.
Keep it simple
We have a shared common vocabulary throughout the school, re-enforced by posters and frequent references to aspects of essential skills during everyday interactions. We have timetable Skills Builder lessons and opportunities to use and develop skills within both the complimentary Life Skills curriculum and through everyday tasks and activities. We have scheduled teacher training and reflection meetings and report to Senior leadership and Governors as part of termly meeting agendas. We celebrate Skills Builder success in weekly assemblies using our own 'branded' certificates and awards.
Start early, keep going
The Skills Builder programme forms the foundation for essential skills development across the age ranges at Orchard Manor, but as pupils present with a range of needs and abilities, there is a significant requirement to adapt, differentiate and enhance various aspects of the programme and resources to meet the needs of pupils and allow progress, at times in small steps, across the varied groups in school.
Measure it
Orchard Manor uses a range of strategies and methods to identify the level of skills pupils have and where intervention is needed. The Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP) of all pupils form the basis of all support across the school and common targets are recorded and targeted, whilst individual and group assessment marks starting points and monitors progress as pupils continue to develop skills (using a combination of Skills Builder and our own school assessment processes). These are discussed and reflections made during termly 'progress reviews', successes identified and further targets recorded and actioned, whilst feedback is also accumulated from the pupils themselves. This has resulted in a 'triangulation' of needs and progress, with frequent collaborative reflection used ensure good outcomes for the pupils.
Focus tightly
At Orchard Manor, we have spread the skill themes across an academic year, so for example, 'Listening' is the focus for all of the first half of the Autumn Term. This allows direct teaching and practice of the theme to occur across the curriculum and re-enforcement and practice activities and opportunities are facilitated by all staff, wherever possible in their lessons or activities. The Skills Builder Hub and teachers' self-developed or collaboratively-developed accompanying resources and planning are used together to meet the needs of pupils in alignment with the focus for that particular half-term.
Keep practising
Orchard Manor uses a wide range of strategies and methods to practice essential skills. This includes the curriculum and cross-curricular activities, challenge days, projects and 'Wow' days. We also practice essential skills during vocational activities, our enrichment activites (such as forest school, Horticulture and Food Technology), through off-site trips and through our work-experience programme.
Bring it to life
Pupils engage in a range of onsite and off-site activities and projects that allow essential skills to be practised and we have found that projects that are of a set duration have been extremely successful.
What's next
Our recent move to join with an academy trust (of other special schools, one of which already uses Skills Builder) will allow shared and collaborative practice and hopefully opportunities to further enhance the development of skills through the Skills Builder programme. A challenge we have, and one which is currently being reflected on to outline possible solutions, is how we can 'entwine' the essential skills with a high quality Life Skills programme, so the essential skills can be used to directly and positively support the completion of a specific life skill (such as travelling on a bus, or following a recipe to cook a meal etc).
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Primary School
Pelham Primary School
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Primary School

Pelham Primary School

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Pelham Primary School
Context
We were originally an Enabling Enterprise school and have been a Skills Builder school from the beginning! Our aim this year was to elevate the skills curriculum further and not just think about the skills during trips, project weeks and challenge days. We are a successful, inclusive, community school and always looking for ways to innovate and improve things for our children. We have been very interested in not just what our children learn, but how they learn it and what kind of people they become. It is really important to use that our Year 6s leave us for high school as 'Pelhamites' and their strong grounding at the primary level stays with them. Our friendly and welcoming atmosphere is incredibly important to us and our children are integral to this. We want to promote team working, a growth mindset and kindness throughout our curriculum. We want our children to feel empowered that anyone can improve in any area of the skills curriculum with practice, support and clear next steps in learning.
Overall impact
I think it's obviously been a difficult 18 months for everyone, but I am really proud of the children and staff at Pelham. Our CSI Challenge day was one of the first things we did as a whole school (Covid-safe) after the Lockdown and it felt great to have a project that everyone could work on. I think the Accelerator programme is still having a great impact on our work at Pelham. I think children have enjoyed the virtual assemblies and the short lesson during home learning. We have raised the profile of Skills Builder through more displays, having a skill of the month and linking our achievement awards to the skills. We look forward to working with the wider school community further in the next academic year.
Keep it simple
Assemblies- Skills language is now embedded into our weekly achievement assemblies and we use the Skills Builder certificates across the school and really celebrate effort and process, rather than solely outcomes. Skill of the Month- this is celebrated through assemblies and in the corridor displays. Teachers and children are invited to reflect on this skill for the month. Displays- the skills are displayed and referred to in each classroom and in the corridors (we have 3 floors) Parents and Governors- a Skills Builder newsletter went out in the Spring to invite our community to become more involved in our project weeks and challenge days from September 2022 (maybe in person, or virtually) and inform them of the benefits of the programme. Skills Lead Learning Walks- Skills Lead has undertaken learning walks (when possible, under restrictions) to check consistency across the school and support new members of staff. Senior Leadership- Skills Builder is on our School Improvement Plan.
Start early, keep going
Early Years Foundation Stage- the EYFS have really embraced Skills Builder this year and have joined the whole school for challenge days and enjoyed a fantastic superhero project week. Parents have been informed through daily noticeboard communications and newsletters. The Skills Lead will be teaching in Nursery next year and plans to develop this further. During our Crime Scene Investigation day, it could be seen how the skills were developing throughout the school and were growing in challenge and sophistication as you moved through the year groups. Even during Lockdowns and bubble closures, we have kept Skills Builder going with the open sources resources to be used at home, online class discussion around skills and themed assemblies.
Measure it
Teachers use the Hub to record their children's achievements against the skill descriptors. As part of handover in July, teachers will ensure that these are updated, ready for the Skills Lead to transfer classes for the new academic year. On Challenge Days or during Project Weeks, children baseline their skills and discuss what they would like to improve on throughout the week or day. Children in KS1 present Skills Builder pages in their topic books. During learning walks, children have been able to talk articulately about the skills and their focus. we had many discussion in classes around the need to work on teambuilding after lots of the children worked in isolation during lockdowns.
Focus tightly
The short activities and lessons and invaluable and these were great to use during home learning too. Teachers will often use these in short pockets of time, or when something in particular comes up around a skill in class. All classes have timetabled Skills Builder time on their timetables, but eventually we would love this not to have to be timetabled. Real-life examples are often given in assemblies for children to then reflect back on in class. The Philosophy for Children Lead had linked activities and themes to the skills and displayed these in the corridor. Our recent Diversity Day also reflected the skills throughout a range of activities.
Keep practising
Two projects a year and an annual, whole-school Challenge Day are now embedded at Pelham. Lots of teachers have built the skills into their wider curriculum and as we (hopefully) come back together as a staff team and a number of teachers change year groups this year, we will evidence the skills more on our longer term plans. A lot of our extra-curricular activities are run by Pelham staff and skills are mentioned in these e.g. photography club focused on Aiming High. A number of teachers have made strong links between the skills and the curriculums in Maths and Science e.g. referencing it on their planning and using the skills in introductory sessions.
Bring it to life
As mentioned, we hope to use the skills and experiences of our families and Governors more next academic year (this was an aim for this year, but was difficult with restrictions). Years 5 and 6 have taken advantage of the Skills Builder virtual trips; 'it was good to still learn about how the hotel works, even though we couldn't actually go there (Year 6 child, June 2021). Many children were inspired by our Crime Scene Investigation Day - 'It was hard to put all of the fingerprints together, but I think I still want to be a detective when I grow up!' (Year 2 child, April 2021). School Council have looked at the skills across their work e.g. when we supported the local Food Bank at Christmas time they talked about leadership and teamworking skills.
What's next
I think as we come back together as a team, we can continue our focus of weaving the skills throughout the whole curriculum and involving our wider school community. I think it would be good to get back into the good habits of assessing regularly and addressing any skills gaps that children may have. The only challenges this year have been the really obvious ones, I think we have a fantastically supportive staff team at Pelham and that Skills Builder will continue to go from strength to strength.
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Special School
Pioneer House High School
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Special School

Pioneer House High School

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Pioneer House High School
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Pioneer House is an Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision for 11-19 year olds. The students that attend Pioneer House have significant learning difficulties amongst other needs such as Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. The aim of the school is to prepare students for living and working as independently as possible in their adulthood. Students in the upper school gain a wealth of work experience and complete accreditation courses to prepare them for their next destinations. Skills Builder is a great way of helping students to understand the essential skills needed for work readiness and how to improve them in small steps.
Overall impact
Every student across the schools knows and understands each of the skills. All students have made progress year on year, and this is great to show and demonstrate to the students, the parents, other stakeholders and work experience providers. Students are starting to embed a common language of essential skills into their vocabulary, and their confidence in using this language is shown both in curriculum lessons and wider activities at the school.
Keep it simple
The school have built the language of essential skills across learning. This includes seeing the language as a normal part of lessons. Students are also set targets for skills which are included in their Education, Health and Care Plans. Students are rewarded for working on these target skills through collecting stickers for their skills passports. During the partial school closure, the essential skills were built into the remote offer and covered daily with students working on site and at home.
Start early, keep going
Essential Skills are taught in Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 at Pioneer House. The launch of the whole school Skills Builder programme was intended for skills to be built sequentially in Skills Builder lessons as well as in all curriculum lessons.
Measure it
Pioneer House set up a small steps measuring tool before the Expanded Framework came into use by Skills Builder. Pioneer House are currently migrating their system with the new small steps expanded framework to be able to more readily use Skills Builder resources. Progress is tracked on spreadsheets and within students' individual Education, Health and Care Plan reviews.
Focus tightly
Skills Builder is incorporated in our classroom non-negotiables. This means that every lesson has a Skills Builder focus which is shared alongside the learning objective. All medium-term plans contain a section to say which skills will be focused on across the course of a module being delivered. There are whole-school termly foci of set skills per term. Skills are referred to in celebration assemblies such as weekly Head Teachers Awards.
Keep practising
Pioneer House uses the Seesaw platform to allow each student to build their own individual digital learning portfolio. This has been set up so that each skill step has its own code, giving students and teachers a quick and easy way of recording when the skills are practised. As a school, we tap into the project days and virtual tours. Essential skills are embedded across the curriculum including extra-curricular activities such as work experience, enrichment and 'Fantastic Fridays'.
Bring it to life
Pioneer House’s innovative work experience programme is intrinsically linked to essential skills development. The school has developed various tools to help students focus and reflect on how they use skills during their placements. These include: a map which links all placements with target skills, skills cards which are laminated and pocket sized so that staff and students can capture and record moments when skills are being used during placements, and workbooks which include skills.
What's next
We would like to consider our upper school pathways for different students. This may include a more skills-based pathway and an accreditation-based pathway. The skills-based pathway would include extra work experience and a focus on engaging in the community - this would be heavily focused around the essential skills.
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Special School
Queensbury School
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Special School

Queensbury School

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Queensbury School
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We are a special school for students with Specific Learning Disability, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Social, Educational and Mental Health and Autism Spectrum Disorder. We have a sixth form and really wanted to take part in Skills Builder to develop our skills centred approach and to embed the language of skills with our students.
Overall impact
It has been really useful in providing a summative framework of where students are with their skills.
Keep it simple
We have the language in displays around the building and on classroom walls. The language and awareness of skills has been talked about in lessons taught live and those set remotely. Staff have re-iterated the use of language across the school and the curriculum areas to increase students familiarity with it and understanding that the skills are transferable.
Start early, keep going
We have started to formally follow skills builder with our 6th formers but teachers have used the language across their planning and have referenced the skills in lessons across the board.
Measure it
We have used both the universal and expanded frameworks and these together with the Skill Passports have been vital in supporting the students in understanding the steps involved in mastering the different skills.
Focus tightly
We have aligned our curriculum with the skills and embedded the skills framework into our assessment system. Teachers are tracking students progress against the skills in their day to day teaching.
Keep practising
We have brought challenge days and created our own challenges as well as the usual days we have planned off time table which have been great for showcasing and developing skills.
Bring it to life
Our challenge days and curriculum is focussed on preparing for adulthood outcomes and the challenges are based around life skills and real experiences and situations the students will have to encounter.
What's next
We want to continue the programme to further embed the skills and filter it down to lower key stages.
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Special School
Redwood School
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Special School

Redwood School

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Redwood School
Context
Redwood is a pioneering secondary special school situated on a co-located site with Oulder Hill Community School in Rochdale. Redwood School opened in 2007. Redwood School was built alongside mainstream schools in a pioneering change to the way children with special education needs are taught. The newly created Redwood School replace High Birch, Innes, and Rydings that were previously in Rochdale, Our vision is to become a centre of inclusive excellence that fosters relationships and builds partnerships in order to meet the diverse needs of the whole school community. Our mission statement is to create a safe, caring and happy environment where everyone is treated with respect & dignity. We will value each other & learn together in order to make a unique, positive contribution to the world around us. Our values and ethos is to become a centre of inclusive excellence that fosters relationships and builds partnerships in order to meet the diverse needs of the whole school community. Above all Be the Best. Be Happy. Work Hard.
Overall impact
The Skills Builder programme has been invaluable. We were attracted to the programme as it gave us a framework to evidence progress and resources to support the students. A particular highlight for us this year has been the use of the workbooks which the students have loved. Students have worked through the workbooks independently and have been taking them home at weekends and during the school holidays as they want to continue working and evidencing progress. One student has picked the Skills Builder programme as part of his Duke of Edinburgh focus and has found the ability to see progress as he transitions between steps particularly fulfilling.
Keep it simple
All teachers and classrooms have the posters. House points are also rewarded based on the essential skills. Virtual assemblies have taken place on a Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday students were given a Skills Builder project and on Friday students were awarded for this. An example of this was a Come Dine with Me project - where students met daily and took part in a presentation at the end here they reflected on their skill usage.
Start early, keep going
All young people take part in a weekly work placements and have the opportunity to develop their skills. All students have a dedicated Skills Builder session, in additio to English and Maths planning referencing the essential skills. Specific projects also support students to develop their skills. All students have interviews throughout the year with employers where they practise talking about their essential skills - this is consistent in the Preparation for Adulthood workstream.
Measure it
Some staff use the Skills Builder Hub. Other staff use the skill workbooks and assess through these. Earwig tracks the Skills Builder progress and Education Health Care Plans, which have specific skill step outcomes. One target will focus on communication (Speaking/Listening) and another target will focus on Teamwork and Leadership in preparation for moving towards a working life.
Focus tightly
Workbooks have been used since January. These have been very well utilised in the school. Workbooks are used independently and students can be guided through the workbooks at their own pace. The workbooks are used through the One Drive. Students have been using these in the weekend and at holidays. Every morning the focus of tutor is on Skills Builder. Staff pick a skill and step to teach in these sessions. Students have skills and qualities lessons in preparation for their one day of work experience. This is a weekly session.
Keep practising
Princes Trust activities are mapped against the Skills Builder framework, focusing on the skills of Teamwork and Leadership. English and Maths sessions reference the essential skills and in English these are referenced in the planning documents, linking to specific skill steps. On Tuesday students were given a Skills Builder Project and on Friday students were awarded for this.
Bring it to life
All students spend one day out a work. When staff visit students on placement they have a skills sheet which have the skills broken down which they complete fortnightly as they are observed on placement. Skills sheets are also used in vocational lessons and they are used as a baseline, half way through and at the end. All students go through an interview process for the work experience. This is a staged process but allows students to articulate their skills and how they have developed their essential skills. There are 'mass interview days' three times a year where employers come in and interview the students for 'mock jobs'. Students are questioned on their skills and how they demonstrate them. Students have to take their skills records of achievement which are their portfolios of all the things which they have done.
What's next
Next year we will focus on ensuring greater consistency with the essential skills for our Independent Living Programme and building the programme into all policies.
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Primary School
Robertswood School
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Primary School

Robertswood School

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Robertswood School
Context
We were looking at building more skills into our predominantly knowledge based curriculum. Whereas as each subject area contains about 20 specific skills totaling well over a 100 for all the subjects, the Skills Builder programme offered us 8 essential skills which can be applied across any given subject. It allowed us the chance to use knowledge skillfully and hopefully provides a more memorable way of delivering knowledge to children to help them know more and remember more.
Overall impact
The Accelerator programme has provided us with the opportunity to consolidate essential skills learning across the year.
Keep it simple
We ensured that the essential skills were displayed consistently across the school and had a whole school focus on the skill of Staying Positive as the children returned from extended periods of remote learning.
Start early, keep going
We developed an easy-to-use 'light' system for pupils across the school to illuminate if they have utilised any of the eight skills.
Measure it
We are hoping to looking to use the Skills Builder Hub assessment toll to support staff to be able to measure and understand the essential skills of each student.
Focus tightly
Every time we change our school's focus skill, introductory lessons are put into place using the videos and short lesson resources from the Skills Builder Hub.
Keep practising
We have dedicated lessons, across the curriculum, once a week to focus on practising the essential skills.
Bring it to life
As children have returned to the classroom, they have been encouraged to to take up responsibilities in classrooms and across the school, manage of which are supported by the essential skills.
What's next
Moving forward, teachers will concentrate on the essential skills including the ultimate aim of raising the profile of the language of skills into day-to-day life.
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Primary School
Ryders Hayes Primary School
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Primary School

Ryders Hayes Primary School

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Ryders Hayes Primary School
Context
Ryders Hayes got involved with Skills Builder as we have created the Careers Hub 2030 curriculum benefiting the whole school. After researching the world of work, including future technology trends, it was apparent that there needed to be a clear focus on building the skills required for life. Ryders Hayes has interweaved the Skills Builder principles into the Careers 2030 curriculum by ensuring that the children are introduced to these essential skills and spend time identifying the step that they are currently at and how to create an action plan for the future. As well as this, our Teaching Assistants are now using this online learning platform to work with SEN children and support their learning plans.
Overall impact
Teachers, students and the wider community are all using the same language; we are all on the same journey of developing the children into well-rounded individuals who will be successful in any field they wish to work in. Their horizons are broadened and they are actively looking to their futures and what journey they could be going on to get there. Children genuinely ask for Skills Builder lessons!
Keep it simple
We have had a launch assembly to share the summer term focus skills: Aiming High and Staying Positive. These two skills have then been the focus for personal study time as well as part of the PSHE curriculum lessons. The children are awarded two certificates at the end of the term for the child who makes the most progress in each skill. As well as this, it is part of the Careers curriculum and therefore the children are exposed to the language across school on a regular basis.
Start early, keep going
It is part of the Early Years / Foundation Stage Framework within school that visitors from the world of work join to talk about their careers. When they do this, they use the language of Skills Builder so children hear this regularly and make strong links. Key Stages 1 and 2 then build on this in the curriculum as well as in personal study time.
Measure it
We regularly assess against the Skills Builder Hub for whole-class progression. Teaching Assistants work with small groups and 1:1 children who have their own groups to measure progress in essential skills. We also use Skills Passports and Workbooks for children to evidence and share their progress.
Focus tightly
The personal study time is directed time for developing essential skills and therefore the children have at least two sessions weekly, as well as Careers Hub time for a whole day once every half term. The Careers Hub programme supports this progression as well as the Weekly Skills Challenges at home with families through the Skills Builder Home Learning Zone.
Keep practising
We use extra-curricular opportunities through the Careers Hub programme. We have also mapped when essential skills short lessons would be appropriate before certain topics so that children can understand the use of,for example, teamwork in PE.
Bring it to life
Through the Careers Hub curriculum the children delve into different sectors and see how essential skills are core to their success. The children then access real-life challenges whilst working with employers.
What's next
Next, we plan to complete a whole-school challenge day and involve parents with the planning and execution of this. We also want the children to build a group who are concerned with how to develop and celebrate the essential skills even further.
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Primary School
Sacred Heart Primary School
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Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary School

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Sacred Heart Primary School