Explore Framework
Insights
News & Blog
About
Contact
Applications are now closed
 
Hear stories from
the Accelerator

Accelerator2021-22

Register interest
Download Prospectus
The Skills Builder Accelerator is our flagship programme for schools and colleges. We work together with you to develop and implement a complete strategy for teaching essential skills in your institution, including training and support, tools and resources - resulting in real impact for your students.
Join a movement and network with other Skills Leaders
Empower students to build and articulate their essential skills
Implement a complete strategy to bring teaching colleagues with you
 
Hear stories from
the Accelerator

Developed with more than 200 leading organisations, the Accelerator is the flagship programme of the Skills Builder Partnership. We work together to develop and implement a complete strategy for teaching skills in your institution. In 2020, the Skills Builder Accelerator included 420 leading schools, colleges, special schools and alternative settings. The programme includes training and support for the Skills Leader, tools and resources for your colleagues, and real impact for your students.

Benefits for you

  • Join a national cohort of Skills Leaders and network across two full days of training
  • Develop your expertise in building essential skills
  • Design a programme with real impact, with support from the Skills Builder team
  • Lead a strategy to transform your institution's approach to preparing every student with the essential skills to succeed

Benefits for your institution

  • Gain the Skills Builder Award as recognition of best practice in essential skills education
  • Demonstrate your investment in students’ wider personal development
  • See tangible progress with data from teacher assessments and student self-assessments
  • Tailor your training sessions to address the needs of your teachers and support staff
  • Embed sustainable strategies to achieve long-lasting change across your institution

The Partnership

The Skills Builder Partnership brings together 800+ education institutions, employers and leading organisations around a common approach to building eight essential skills. Central to our approach is a rigorous progression framework, a set of underlying principles and a complete suite of tools and teaching materials.

The Framework

The Skills Builder Universal Framework is the national standard for teaching essential skills. It breaks each skill into teachable steps, supporting progress for students of all ages and abilities - including those with special educational needs. The Universal Framework was developed with Skills Builder by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Gatsby Foundation, Business in the Community, EY Foundation, the CBI and CIPD.

The Principles

Refined over a decade, the Skills Builder Principles outline best practice in teaching essential skills. The six principles will form the basis of your strategy and your success embedding them will be recognised with the Skills Builder Award.

The Hub

Designed by teachers for teachers, the Skills Builder Hub is the online teaching and impact platform for building essential skills. Aligned to every step of the Framework, there are 300+ Short Lessons and a suite of reinforcing resources including posters, assemblies and passports.

Click on each of the Accelerator elements to learn more.
Scroll right to see the whole journey, then tap on each of the elements to learn more.
AUTUMN TERM
SPRING TERM
SUMMER TERM
Strategic support
Termly 1-hour video call
Skills Leader, Senior Leader and Skills Builder associate
Develop your bespoke strategy and set goals to achieve the Skills Builder award
Learn more at our regular webinars
Strategy Meeting 1
Apply learning from Skills Leader Training Day 1 and outline what success looks like with tangible goals
Learn more at our regular webinars
Strategy Meeting 2
Celebrate successes, explore your data and review your programme goals
Learn more at our regular webinars
Strategy Meeting 3
Reflect on your year, make plans for the future and achieve your Skills Builder award
Learn more at our regular webinars
Skills Leader training
Day of live training and networking
Skills Leader and any project leads
Learn from fellow Skills Leaders and share best practice
Learn more at our regular webinars
Skills Leader Training Day 1
Explore the basics of the Skills Builder approach and network with your fellow Skills Leaders
Learn more at our regular webinars
Skills Leader Training Day 2
Capitalise on the Skills Leader network to develop change management strategies and share best practice
Learn more at our regular webinars
Teacher training
Twilight or daytime, provided by Skills Builder and booked by you
Teachers and/or support staff
Equip your teachers with the tools and confidence to build skills into their practise
Learn more at our regular webinars
Teacher Training Session 1
Implement your strategy by training a group of your teachers on how to use the Skills Builder approach with their students
Learn more at our regular webinars
Teacher Training Session 2
Address your strategic goals with a bespoke training session that will add maximum impact to your programme
Learn more at our regular webinars
Ongoing support
Exclusive webinars
Termly, invites by email
Skills Leader and teachers
Explore latest research and discussion topics from SEND to Careers to life outcomes.
Online training modules
Bitesize modules on each Skills Builder Principle
Skills Leader and teachers
Become an expert in essential skills and invest in professional development
Learn more at our regular webinars
Premium elements
Virtual trips
An opportunity for students to discover a business, meet employees and solve a challenge
Learn more at our regular webinars
Online tools and teaching resources
Online resource and impact platform
Teachers
Reflect on your class’s essential skills and find the right resources to teach them
Online self-assessment tool
KS3+ students and teachers
Give students the tools and language to recognise and articulate their skillset
Learn more at our regular webinars
For those making a commitment to high-quality essential skills education.
  • Started embedding the Skills Builder Principles
  • Some teachers will be using a common language for essential skills
  • Plans for further development will be in place
For those building on their commitment to high-quality essential skills education.
  • Made good progress towards embedding the Skills Builder Principles
  • Majority of teachers will be using a common language for essential skills
  • Policies and procedures will have begun to reflect the approach
For those modelling best practice in high-quality essential skills education.
  • Fully embedded the Skills Builder Principles
  • All teachers will be confident educators of essential skills
  • Essential skills education will be fully integrated into daily practice

What is the Award?

  • The Skills Builder Award recognises high-quality essential skills education at a Bronze, Silver or Gold standard.
  • The Award is achieved by schools and colleges who demonstrate best practice by embedding the Skills Builder Principles.
  • Your Award will last 3 years and you will receive a kitemark and certificate.

How do I achieve it?

  • In your first strategy meeting, you and your Education Associate will discuss your priorities and internal structures, and map out a plan for the year to achieve the Award you want to work towards.
  • Together, we will agree goals and actions that are aligned to your personalised strategy.
  • Over the year, we will work together to gather evidence and fine-tune your strategic plans.
  • In summer term, after your final strategy meeting, you will hopefully achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Skills Builder Award.
North, England
Bothal and Central Primary School

Bothal and Central Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Northumberland, UK

Bothal and Central have been working with us since 2020 to further their commitment to an integrated, long-term approach to essential skills education. Skills teaching is the golden thread which runs through all aspects of school life. The curriculum has been designed with skills at the heart. It is supported by a rigorous pastoral and home support system which ensures all young people are able to develop their essential skills.

Integrated and embedded

Bothal and Central Primary Schools are demonstrating the value of a truly integrated and embedded approach where all curriculum planning and teaching incorporates the eight essential skills. On top of this, weekly assemblies refer to the eight essential skills too.

Involving Parents and Carers

There is a joined-up approach to skill development across school life and home life. Progress against the Framework is reported to parents and carers as part of parents evening and the school reporting policies. Parents and carers use Google Classroom to comment on their child’s skill progress and work on joint skills projects with their children at home.

Supporting SEND

The school team identified that essential skills were critical to unlocking learning for some SEND students. In particular there were barriers around understanding the feeling behind texts covered in literacy. The pastoral department work with subject leaders to ensure that personalised planning and skills based interventions enable students to access core knowledge.

Catcote Academy

Catcote Academy

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Hartlepool, UK

Catcote caters for secondary and post-16 and post-19 life-long learners with a wide range of special education needs. Catcote has been recognised for excellence in careers education as a “Special Educational Needs Champion’ by the Careers and Enterprise Company. They have only been working with Skills Builder since 2020 but have made an exceptional start!

It’s a whole-college approach – students are able to recognise existing skills and identify skills that need to be developed.
Key Stage 5 Lead

Demonstrating Progress

The students at Catcote have a range of learning needs. The Sixth Form uses the Skills Builder Passports to help students measure their progress against the different skills. In turn, this helps students to evidence and articulate their essential skills outside of the classroom.

Challenge Wednesdays

Catcote Sixth Form uses the Skills Builder Challenge Days and extended Project resources as part of a Challenge Wednesday in school. Students focus on developing their essential skills in new and engaging settings, linked to the workplace.

Short Lessons

Catcote maximises the impact of the Short Lessons and skill videos from the Skills Builder Hub by making time for class discussion and reflection after using them. Supporting the students to talk about the skills with confidence is really important, and the language of the Framework makes this easier.

Newcastle College

Newcastle College

Accelerator
Accelerator
College
Newcastle, UK

Newcastle College has been working to embed the Skills Builder approach across college life. As part of the students’ Personal and Social Development programme, the Skills Builder Framework underpins the skills all Level 1, 2 and 3 students work to develop.

Integrated curriculum

Essential skills are embedded in teaching and learning policies, as a regular agenda item in staff and parent meetings, in displays across sites, and through a rewards system to recognise achievement. The curriculum and pastoral teams work together to ensure consistency in both language and approach.

Measuring impact

Learners and tutors have regular opportunities to reflect on skills, considering areas of strength and development while linking them to work experience and employer engagement. Students log their progress over the year to build up a comprehensive record of examples, clearly demonstrating their skill development.

Sharing best practice

Through a wider employability working group in the North East, the college was able to share their work, encouraging other colleges to adopt the approach. Through this group, Sunderland, Hartlepool, and Northumberland Colleges have collaborated and developed a coordinated approach.

St Mary’s Church of England Primary School

St Mary’s Church of England Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Wigan, UK

St Mary’s Church of England Primary School have worked with us since 2015. They have a deeply integrated, long-term approach to essential skills education. Five years later, skills are well embedded into all aspects of school life.

We are continuing to use our Skills Builder floorbook to demonstrate when the essential skills have been used in other subjects.
Teacher

Curriculum planning

All curriculum plans include clear reference to the essential skills that are covered or applied. Planning forms have been developed and refined to support teaching staff to do this regularly. Each literacy and numeracy lesson has a hook which is linked to the essential skills.

Using Projects

All year groups complete a project and have a focus skill which they reference in the foundation subjects. St Mary’s use their teacher training sessions to give teachers the time to plan when and how they are going to use the Short Lessons from the Hub in the run-up to the Projects. Then, the project is embedded into the school curriculum plan.

Celebrating greatness

All classes have a floor book to evidence their work, and this includes references and examples of essential skills. The floor book moves along each year with the class demonstrating their skill progression over the years.

Midlands, England
Chadsgrove School

Chadsgrove School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Birmingham, UK

Chadsgrove is a Special School in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire which caters for pupils aged 2–19 years whose Special Educational Needs arise from their physical disability or a complex health need.  The school’s aims, values and ethos are built firmly on mutual respect and enabling everyone to develop as an individual, and they offer a rich and engaging curriculum which focuses on creativity and first-hand experience both inside and outside the classroom.

"The Framework will continue to be an integral part of preparing our pupils for transition into adulthood."
Emma Nolan, Skills Leader

Preparing for adulthood

Chadsgrove initially introduced the Framework to post-16 learners during their ‘Preparation for Adulthood Transition’ lessons. Having identified focus skills, teachers introduced learners to the language and what this looks like in different contexts.

Developing independence

The school recognised the role of the framework in developing learners’ independence. Students recognise their feelings when something goes wrong and name them with specific terminology that is used in the Framework, opening up dialogue.

Tracking progress

Keeping track of learners’ progress allows staff to record successes as well as identifying further areas for development.  Each teacher completes an assessment and uses the Framework so lessons continue to focus on the most relevant skills for their learners.

Grantham College

Grantham College

Accelerator
Accelerator
College
Lincolnshire, UK

Grantham College started working with us in September 2020. They are using our support, tools and employer interaction opportunities to work on an embedded approach to building skills throughout all areas of the college, targeting all 6 principles consistently and thoroughly.

“What is especially great, is that it is relevant to every college department, from Learning Development, to Career Net (which supports young people out of work), to Apprentices and of course our core body of 16-19 year old students. It is still early days..., however the programme is having a real impact.”
Skills Leader

Measuring progress

Students at Grantham use Skills Builder Benchmark to track progress in skills and target areas for development, in conversation with their tutor/teachers. These skill targets are logged on the college system so it’s part of college life. Teachers also track progress through the Hub assessment tool and use this to inform future planning.

Visual cues

The Skills Leader at Grantham has set up skills content on TVs around the college site. There are display boards that promote skills and support development in skills. There is also a section of the college website devoted to skills – they encourage parents and carers to access this to promote their understanding of Skills Builder and the benefits it offers to their children.

Virtual Trips

Grantham students attended a couple of virtual trips in 2020-21, to Accenture and Network Rail, to increase the impact of classroom learning. Students had the opportunity to ask volunteers from our employers about the business, their role, and how they use essential skills. Grantham also aims to incorporate essential skills in work experience logbooks and industry placement logbooks.

Mablethorpe Primary School

Mablethorpe Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Lincolnshire, UK

Mablethorpe Primary School is part of the Greenwood Academies Trust. They have only started to work with Skills Builder in 2020 but have already made huge leaps towards embedding essential skills, thanks to their dedicated and proactive Skills Leader.

The Skills Builder Hub is fantastic for resourcing, planning and assessing.
Teacher

Skills Champions

There is an appointed skills champion for each key stage who leads on the explicit teaching of three focus skills based on the needs of the learners. Champions have integrated the essential skills into schemes of work for each year group by including linking the essential skills to each subject area through questioning.

Displays and Certificates

Classrooms display the essential skills icons to support teachers’ and students’ language and vocabulary. Skills champions reward learners who demonstrate their essential skills with the certificates from the Hub.

Existing projects

The Skills Leader has linked the eight essential skills into existing school projects to provide opportunities for students to apply their skills. This supports teachers and students to recognise the transferability of the skills from their classroom subjects to project-based learning activities.

Maplewell Hall School

Maplewell Hall School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Loughborough, UK

Maplewell Hall School has been working with us since 2018 to embed essential skills into the school’s teaching and learning, careers and pastoral provision, with a particular focus on the language of skills and how this can support both students and parents with their next steps.

Skills Builder introduces a consistent vocabulary that is a powerful tool for helping SEN students become more self-aware. Understanding their skills is key to building this confidence to talk about themselves.
Skills Leader, SLT

Links with parents

Staff at Maplewell Hall use the Skills Builder Universal Framework to support their conversations with parents about a student’s next steps and development priorities. They have found the tangible descriptors from the Framework really useful in supporting both parents and students to identify their next steps. These conversations have also formed part of students’ EHCPs.

Existing assessments

Maplewell Hall have found it really effective to weave the Skills Builder approach into existing methods for assessment that staff are already familiar with. They have built Skills Builder into the school’s existing assessment mark books. Now, all teachers can see the impact of essential skill development over the academic year.

Supporting pastoral

As well as supporting teachers, Maplewell Hall are ensuring that intervention and pastoral teams are equipped with the tools and resources to support students with their skills development. This includes Learning Support Assistants, Home School Link workers and Behaviour/Pastoral staff working within the COMPASS team.

Menston Primary School

Menston Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Yorkshire, UK

Menston Primary School started working with us in September 2020. Despite the inherent challenges of this academic year, the Skills Leader and the rest of the teachers have made an exceptional start to their programme, laying the foundations for excellent practice in essential skills education.

Building key, transferable skills is not a 'bolt-on' for us but an integral part of what we do. The Skills Builder approach supports our longer term strategic priorities and is now built into our staff appraisal targets.
Tracey Ellis, Assistant Headteacher

Integrated Curriculum

Listening was the whole-school focus for the first term on the Accelerator. As well as being taught in the classroom, this skill has been integrated into STEM and outdoor learning activities. The school is using Skills Builder resources to extend what students are being taught beyond the National Curriculum.

Classroom Displays

Teaching staff and support staff have worked hard with the children to create exciting and interesting displays in each classroom and in the shared areas. They’ve used these displays to raise the profile of the term’s focus skill, which has really motivated the children to think about their Listening skills across school life.

Parental Engagement

Menston Primary are keen to communicate the focus on skill development with parents and others at home. The school website now includes a Skills Builder section, explaining the importance and meaning of essential skills, and the skill focus for each term. This way, parents and teachers are using a shared language to support skill development at home and in school.

St Francis Catholic Primary

St Francis Catholic Primary

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Bradford, UK

St Francis Catholic Primary School have been working with Skills Builder since 2017. Over the past few years, they have maximised the impact of the staff training and in-school resources by providing opportunities for students to work with real employers and volunteers from business partners.

The fact that the employers made links to the same skills that the children are already familiar with was excellent… they could see how these skills are applied and used in the workplace and daily life.
Class Teacher

Bringing it to life

The challenges of 2020-21 didn’t stop St Francis providing meaningful employer interactions for students. Multiple classes took part in virtual trips where they learnt about a company, went on a virtual tour and were posed a challenge. Then, the classes had the chance to meet some employees over video call and present their creative solutions to the challenge.

Embedding into Planning

The teacher training sessions have been used really effectively by using this protected time for teachers to explore strategies for embedding essential skills into topic lessons and planning. Now, all curriculum plans and mid-term plans include clear references to the essential skills they support students to learn.

Little and often

Students at St Francis have been exposed to a consistent approach to building skills for a number of years now. In lessons, around the school and during extra-curricular activities, the same set of eight skills are referenced an explored. Students at St Francis can see the importance of these skills across all aspects of school life.

St Paul's CE Primary School

St Paul's CE Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Stoke-On-Trent, UK

St Paul’s CE C Primary School has been working with Skills Builder since 2019 to integrate essential skills into the wider curriculum and develop the language of skills for both staff and students within the school community.

The support we have received has been fantastic and I really enjoyed the opportunity to network with other leaders in different schools. Our children are familiar with the language and the cross curricular nature of our teaching has had a positive impact on learning.
Skills Leader

Fortnightly Focus

A whole school fortnightly focus skill allows the children and teachers to focus tightly. Teachers use this window to reflect on student progress and update assessments on the Skills Builder Hub. Once all eight skills have been explicitly taught, teachers will pick a focused skill that will most benefit their learners to focus on, before the cycle begins again.

Supporting Home Learning

Once a week, as part of the remote learning timetable, teachers share a Skills Builder activity from the Skills Builder Home Learning Hub with learners at home. Teachers have reported that this has been positively received by both children and parents at home, who understand the importance of developing the eight skills.

Cross Curricular Links

St Paul’s use the Skills Builder eight skills and their icons across all aspects of school life. The skill icons are added to curriculum displays and learning objectives in all subjects to really emphasise how the essential skills support curriculum teaching and learning.

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Accelerator
Accelerator
Secondary School
Sheffield, UK

UTC OLP is a 13-19 school, specialising in Health Sciences, Sport Science and Computing. The school provides an integrated academic and vocational curriculum. They joined the Accelerator in September 2020 to teach essential employability skills alongside their core curriculum.

Our reward system has been revised to encompass the eight essential skills.
Kieran Loftus, Vice Principal

Maximising form time

Teacher training sessions have supported teachers to understand what resources are available and how to access them. The eight essential skills have since been introduced and regularly taught during the Form Tutor Programme. UTC OLP have devised a cycle where a new skill is introduced every two weeks so there is time to focus.

Reward Assemblies

UTC OLP are celebrating student success in essential skills by revising the school reward to encompass the eight essential skills. Students are encouraged to recognise essential skills across the curriculum. Reward slips are given to students in lessons and recorded in iSAMS, then achievements are recognised in the end-of-term Reward Assembly.

Social Media

Communication of their work is important to the school and social media is being used to update parents and students about the skill focus in school. Skills Builder logos and explanations are used to communicate the importance of each focus skill to specific careers.

Windy Arbor Primary School

Windy Arbor Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Birmingham, UK

Windy Arbor has fully embraced the Skills Builder approach, embedding skills education from Nursery to Year 6. They're making further plans enhance their provision over the coming years.

Skills displays

To raise awareness, displays feature across the school. Children take ownership of the displays and use them to track progress. Early Years have trialled using stickers to celebrate skill use. There is a focus skill every fortnight, also displayed.

Inclusive approach

The school has embedded skills education from Nursery to Year 6. They also have an Autism Resource Centre, which works with essential skills. Younger students are introduced to the language and learning is scaffolded through modelling and practise.

Engaging experiences

Students get involved with rich project-based learning, all framed by essential skills. A recent project involved designing a library on a bus! Students were encouraged to use Creativity skills at their step level to create their ‘Dream Space’.

South West, England
Elmwood & Penrose Federation

Elmwood & Penrose Federation

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Bridgwater, UK

The Elmwood & Penrose Federation provides 3 phases of education to pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  The Federation is made up of Penrose (primary), Elmwood (secondary) and The Jean Rees Centre (Elmwood School sixth form).


"Students are more familiar with identifying these skills and it has supported students with self-assessment. Work experience targets are also set for each student and the Skills Builder framework is used to ensure they are purposeful."
Ryan Parker-Binns, Middle Leader for 6th Form and Careers Lead at The Jean Rees Centre

Supporting the curriculum

The Framework is embedded within the careers programme for the federation; each of the elements of the careers framework has been linked to one of the essential skills. The curriculum is mapped over three years and each term focuses on two skills, allowing students to focus.

Consistent language

They have focused on language, introducing students to the skills so that they fully understand what they mean.  Displays and other visuals has been key in developing a common language. Using them on a daily basis means students take ownership of their own progress.

Tracking progress

Essential skills are embedded in key documents used daily to track learning. These have allowed staff to track progress over time and students are more familiar with the skills, supporting self-assessment.  Work experience targets are also set for each student and the Framework is used to ensure they are purposeful.

Great Western Academy

Great Western Academy

Accelerator
Accelerator
Secondary School
Swindon, UK

As a newly established academy, GWA wrote skills development into its development plan from the very beginning and continues to strive to embed the Skills Builder Principles into its approach.

Right from the start we gave teachers packs of posters and resources to help them embed the language.
David Clarke, Assistant Principal

Embedding the Skills

GWA sought to make essential skills education central to its mission and curriculum intent from the moment it was opened. The Academy linked this focus to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework’s Quality of Education judgement and identified a key governor who would include a focus on essential skills during lesson observations, book reviews and student panel discussion groups.  

Curriculum statements

At GWA there is an expectation that all departments include teaching of essential skills in their Schemes of Learning and Curriculum Statements. Before the Academy opened, Skills Builder training and resources were provided to teachers to ensure the language was being used from the start.

Keep Practising

All GWA students are involved in enrichment activities from Monday to Thursday every week. Sessions are planned in such a way as to ensure there are multiple opportunities for students to practise their essential skills. Each student has an Enrichment Booklet, which references those skills.

Linden Primary School

Linden Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Gloucestershire, UK

Linden Primary School has been working with Skills Builder since 2018. The whole school focuses on a different skill each half-term and throughout the year. These skills unlock learning at school and ensure children are fully prepared for the independence needed later in their education.

As a school, we really do believe in the principles of the programme and can see the positive impact it has on our students and our staff.
Caroline Lee, Assistant Head Teacher

Focus skills

The school focuses on one skill each half-term throughout the year. The language of the skill steps is used by staff and students across the school, with posters and displays highlighting the focus skill in all classrooms.

Supporting everyone

The Skills Builder approach is used to support all learners to build the eight essential skills, from Early Years through to Year 6. The steps in the Skills Builder Universal Framework allow teachers to target their intervention on the aspects of the skills that are most relevant to different groups.  

Engaging Experiences

At Linden Primary School, students have the opportunity to apply and build their skills by taking part in special projects, challenge days and virtual trips. Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 recently took part in the ‘Crime Scene Challenge’, which really put their Problem Solving skills to the test as they worked in teams to solve who stole Mrs Gelsthorpe and Mrs Wellington’s chocolate!

Orchard Manor School

Orchard Manor School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Devon, UK

Orchard Manor School, in Dawlish, Devon, is a residential all-through school that provides education and care for pupils with communication and interaction difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions and learning needs. The school joined the Skills Builder Partnership in 2019 to help build the essential skills of all students from EYFS through to post-16.

As a special school, the development of the non-academic curriculum is very important and Skills Builder offers pupils the opportunity to develop essential life- and work-related skills.
Bryan Webster, Assistant Principal

Across the Curriculum

In their first year of using the Skills Builder Universal Framework, Orchard Manor focused on one skill per half-term across the school, making reference to the skills across the curriculum. Learners also took part in a number of Skills Builder projects as well as explicitly teaching the skills through twice-weekly life skills sessions.

Skills and Employability

By explicitly referencing the essential skills within learners’ work experience placements, the school is further highlighting the transferability of these skills and giving students tangible examples of applying these skills in a range of contexts.  

Engaging Experiences

This year, Orchard Manor School has been using skills-focused projects and challenge days to bring the skills to life. Year 5 and 6 really enjoyed applying their Listening, Problem Solving and Teamwork skills as they took part in the ‘Operation Moonbase’ Challenge Day.

South East, England
Ash Manor School

Ash Manor School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Secondary School
Surrey, UK

Ash Manor has only been working with Skills Builder since 2020 but have already made lots of progress. They have introduced the essential skills to their learners in line with whole-school priorities to provide opportunity to build skills for the workplace. They have introduced the programme for Years 8, 9 and 10.

Focus tightly

It’s been helpful for staff and students to have a clear focus on what needs to be learnt next. This year, Years 8 and 9 are focussing explicitly on Speaking and Listening whilst Year 10 are focussing on Aiming High. Form tutors use the Short Lessons for these skills to open up discussion and build these skills regularly.

Year 8 Challenge Day

Year 8 are going to run Operation Moonbase, which will be the perfect opportunity to apply those same Speaking and Listening skills to a specific set of “real-world” problems. While the challenge is about setting up a society on a distant moon, across the day the students become recruiters, town planners and politicians to design their dream society.

Highlighting transferability

The Skills Leader at Ash Manor is joining up the journey for the students who might take part in lots of different extracurricular activities. Provision like the Duke of Edinburgh now makes explicit links to the essential skills. This way, students recognise the many different areas they practise and strengthen their essential skills in.

Highgate Wood

Highgate Wood

Accelerator
Accelerator
Secondary School
London, UK

Highgate Wood Secondary School have been working with Skills Builder since 2018. They have used Skills Builder to support their careers strategy.

Skills Builder is central to our skills curriculum and we have built positive relationships to take the program forward.
Nick, Careers Lead

Careers strategy

Highgate Wood have integrated the eight essential skills into their career planning for Year 7 to Year 10 by mapping the steps from the Skills Builder Universal Framework to the different activities in each year group.  

Applying skills

Each year group has the opportunity to apply their skills on a dedicated drop-down day, using the Skills Builder Challenge Days. The stand-alone days provide a memorable experience for students, but by using the same eight essential skills the students are better able to join up the dots between these special days and the rest of their learning.

Sustainable strategies

The Skills Leader at Highgate Wood sees Skills Builder as a key component of ensuring that students develop employability. Over time, the skills are becoming more embedded across the school, using careers hook for why these skills are important. The teacher training sessions are used to widen the reach of the programme.

Littledown School

Littledown School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Berkshire, UK

Littledown Special School in Slough supports children aged 4 to 11 with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. It provides a safe and stimulating environment where children develop the skills which enable them to be included in their communities. Littledown has been working with Skills Builder since 2016.

The eight skills are a key part of this programme which links in with other parts of the curriculum enabling the children to use the skills in all subjects.
Nicki Heaffey, Curriculum Lead

Consistent focus

A consistent focus on skills helps ensure a shared understanding and makes building these skills as tangible as possible. Using the same language all the time makes a big difference and that is why essential skills are referenced throughout all lessons. Teachers focus on two essential skills per half-term and highlight to students where these are used in different subjects.

Regular Practice

Students at Littledown have regular opportunities to apply their essential skills to a range of experiences linked to the world outside the classroom through Projects using the interactive resources on Skills Builder Hub. There, by applying focus skills linked to key themes, students have developed reading areas, designed toy prototypes and even baked goodies for their own pop-up bakeries!

Bring it to Life

Explicitly using the essential skills is actively encouraged in all aspects of learning. This includes trips to employer workplaces, where students have learned more about the roles of engineers at a waterworks and the range of roles within a highway service provider. Working alongside volunteers, students applied their skills to industry-related challenges and reflected on the skills used.

Manor Green School

Manor Green School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Inclusion
Berkshire, UK

Manor Green is a special school in Maidenhead for students aged 2–19 with a range of special educational needs. They offer a varied curriculum, enriched by the ACE Model’s components of successful learning: Academic progress, Care and therapeutic support and Enrichment and life skills. Manor Green has been working with us since 2018.

I love the Skills Builder short lessons. They are a really useful tool to work upon students’ skills and super easy to follow and adjust to suit the needs of the class.
Class teacher

Project-based learning

Lessons for Middle School students at Manor Green follow a project-based learning curriculum. Essential skills are embedded throughout this, using Skills Builder project themes as a termly focus to highlight explicit focus skills. These skills are explicitly referenced in all subject areas to highlight the transferability of the skills being developed.

Measuring progress

Essential skills form a key part of students’ development and teachers use assessment systems to identify individuals’ strengths and areas for development. Ongoing observations allow for progress to be monitored, alongside regular reflections and self-assessment opportunities. Teachers support students to recognise these skills in action and articulate their own strengths.

Skills in context

Students take part in a range of activities to bring skills to life in other contexts. These include projects and challenges, with students working on tasks linked to areas of work through class-based activities. Students apply these through their work in the school café, whilst workplace visits have allowed students to see how different skills are used by employers.

Pelham Primary School

Pelham Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
London, UK

Pelham Primary School is focussed on preparing each pupil for full participation in the global community. Working with the partnership since 2014, they are committed to embedding essential skills education, and are using the skills across almost all aspects of school life.

Everything is the best! The resources, projects, relationship with Skills Builder staff.
Emma Greer, Head

Embedding the skills

Pelham Primary knew that they wanted the skills to be at the heart of everything they do. Making use of displays in both classrooms and communal areas, they built skills language into assemblies, lessons and reward systems. They also use Trips and Challenge Days as a way to bring the skills to life for both teachers and students.

Meaningful projects

When faced with the limitations of 2020-21, Pelham Primary knew that the Projects would be the key to keep providing meaningful, relevant, real-life experiences to their pupils. Using ‘Going Green’, pupils researched and created a campaign to encourage others to be more eco-friendly, ending in a virtual tour of a local recycling bank.

Engaging with the community

Pelham Primary employed a range of strategies to engage the wider community with essential skills. In the newsletter, parents & carers were provided with a list of the Projects running in the school, and asked for those with relevant experience to get involved. This database of local links will now serve to build strong community relationships, all whilst developing essential skills.

Shaftesbury Park Primary

Shaftesbury Park Primary

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
London, UK

Shaftesbury Park Primary School focus on the development of ‘enterprise’ throughout their school and believe that the essential skills are key to developing learners’ understanding of working within a community; and that these skills allows them to be ready for the ever-changing world of business.

Keep it simple

In working towards the Gold Award, teachers are focusing to clearly identify gaps in pupils’ skills and carefully support their progress. The ambition is for learners to be able to articulate in non-class based situations how they are addressing an issue: discussing what skills they are using, how they are using them and what they could do to improve.

Start early, keep going

Learners take part in essential skills activities across both streams and all phases of the school, taking part in termly projects and an annual Challenge Day to build the skills they need. In preparation for moving on to secondary school, learners log and reflect on their use of the skills, to prepare for life in a new school.

Virtual trips

Learners took part in virtual trips with Lloyds and UBS. In the morning they learnt about the employer and had a virtual tour. In the afternoon, students met with the employees via Zoom, presenting their creative solutions to the problems that UBS and Lloyds had posed and then took part in a question and answer session.

The Haven

The Haven

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
Eastbourne, UK

The Haven started working with Skills Builder in 2019 to help raise aspirations and have matched their Christian Values to the essential skills. The Haven strives to provide a rich and stimulating Christian environment in which each child can learn, achieve, and experience success.

The resources – the activities and videos – are great. The explanations of each skill and how they're broken into steps for the children to understand helps the children to be self-aware and reflective.
Teacher

Integrating Skills and Values

The Haven have matched their Christian Values to the essential skills, to make the learning easier for teachers and students. This is represented in displays around the school. Christian Values and essential skills are taught together each half-term to raise aspirations and create well-rounded and successful learners.

Careers at Primary

The Haven have been working with other schools to introduce the discussion around careers and how education is able to broaden children’s horizons. They are using Skills Builder to explicitly teach the essential skills and link these to the variety of professions, as well as learning in the classroom.

Briefing visitors and guests

It’s important to join up all the dots and The Haven have created a briefing document for all external guests and visitors which outlines the eight essential skills. This means that there is a consistent set of words being used by teachers in school as well as guests to the school from outside.

Towers Infant & Junior School

Towers Infant & Junior School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
London, UK

The Towers Federation have recently combined their junior and infant provisions to create one school. Working together to ensure great futures for the learners, this is a school whose values and priorities align seamlessly with the Skills Builder approach.

The School Logo

Towers have made links between the essential skills and their school ‘BUILD’ values, tying them all together. This vision has been brought to life in the school logo which now includes reference to the eight essential skills. The whole school community, including parents, carers, students, teachers and support staff are behind it.  

Interactive displays

There is a Skills Builder display in every classroom, complete with icon posters and learners’ work. There are plans to further enhance the interactivity of these displays by creating a ‘Light it up’ system where stick-on LED lights are placed in the centre of each logo for students to ‘light up’ when they have shown great skills demonstration.

Focus tightly

Teachers make use of the Short Lessons available on the Hub during lesson time where they see fit. This happens most commonly in PSHE sessions but also in other subject lessons where essential skills might be applied or where the curriculum can be better accessed through application of essential skills.

Hornsey School for Girls

Hornsey School for Girls

Accelerator
Accelerator
Secondary School
London, UK

Since 2018, Hornsey School for Girls has been working on a strategic approach to building essential skills. They recognise that in a rapidly changing world, equipping students with essential skills is the best way to empower them in any career.

"If you’re a teacher, you can see the benefit immediately… A name for each skill and a way of demonstrating and assessing its use makes all the difference."
Chimene Peddie, Skills Leader & Head of Enterprise

Integrated curriculum

The school has a three-year plan for embedding skills and careers experiences, allowing them track progress. Essential skills have been integrated into tutor time, where staff deliver aspects of the PSHE curriculum. Department leads are also building essential skills teaching into their subject.

Use of resources

All teaching staff have been introduced to the plan and resources, including what best practice looks like. Teachers use short activities from the Skills Builder Hub, which require minimal preparation and encourage reflection. Wall displays are prominent, and teachers highlight and reward students applying skills, like great Leadership and effective Problem Solving.

Engaging experiences

A common language around skill development with students, teachers and external visitors. In conjunction with the school’s focus on STEM and meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks, they bring skills to life with Challenge Days, and inspiring Trips to local employers - as well as organising for professionals to speak to students about their journey and how they use essential skills every day.

William Tyndale Primary School

William Tyndale Primary School

Accelerator
Accelerator
Primary School
London, UK

William Tyndale Primary School has been working with us since 2013 to pioneer a deeply integrated, long-term approach to essential skills education. It's now the platform for all parts of the curriculum.

"We’re supported by a strong team of education professionals who understand how schools work… The programme is easy to follow, easy to implement, and, most importantly, easy to make sustainable."
Tanya Watson, Headteacher

All-ages approach

It’s crucial to start young, so the school has structured a whole-school programme so that all students - from Nursery to Year 6 - develop the eight skills explicitly and measure progress year on year. This means that all students can articulate their strengths and focus tightly on what they need to learn.

Integrated curriculum

The school has built the approach into various aspects of school life, making sure students see the relevance of essential skills across the curriculum. For example, the skills are incorporated into debating and oracy, and are referenced regularly in assemblies.

Engaging experiences

The programme includes a range of experiences to bring skills to life, including Challenge Days, Trips to Employers and Projects. The school has even created its own classroom projects and developed connections with local employers as a way to further build and contextualise essential skills.

How do I apply?

It takes about fifteen minutes to complete an online application form. In your application, you will be asked to outline how you think the Accelerator will benefit you, your colleagues, your institution and, importantly, the students you work with.

We review applications after each deadline. You will be contacted via email within one week of the application deadline on the outcome of your application.

Can I speak to someone about the programme?

We are running free information webinars where you can learn more, preview resources and ask questions to our team. Pick the best date/time for you here. Alternatively you can email us at accelerator@skillsbuilder.org and we will get back to you.

Who can apply for the Accelerator?

Any school, college or specialist education setting can apply for the Accelerator. There are a limited number of programme places in the UK and a limited number of programme places outside the UK too. If you are outside the UK, please go to the Global Accelerator pages (coming very soon).

How much does the Accelerator cost?

The Accelerator core elements cost £1800 per institution per year. There are funded options for eligible schools and colleges. Please see below for eligibility. Premium elements have additional, associated costs for all.

Who is eligible for funding?

We fundraise through our employer partners, who want to directly support you to complete the Accelerator. Funding is restricted to state-maintained (and non-fee paying) schools, colleges and specialist educational settings. Schools and colleges who are on the Accelerator in 2020-21 are not eligible for a funded place in 2021-22.  Funding is limited: there are around 400 funded programme places in the UK and a further 50 for schools and colleges outside of the UK on the Global Accelerator. We anticipate that in some areas all programme places and associated funding will be allocated before the final deadline. You are encouraged to apply early for the best chance of success.

What happens if my application for funding is unsuccessful, do I have to pay?

No. If your application is unsuccessful it will be for one of two reasons. Either all the programme places have been filled or your application did not quite meet the threshold. If all the places are full, you may be placed on a waiting list and we will let you know if this is the case. Alternatively, if there are still programme places available but your application did not quite address the criteria we were looking for, then you will be invited to reapply in the next round.

What makes a successful application?

We can only work with the most committed schools and colleges. In your application, you will need to demonstrate your commitment to impact with the Accelerator. You will be asked to outline how you think the Accelerator will benefit you, your colleagues, your institution and the students you work with.

When do applications close?

There are three application rounds, opening on Monday 1st March 2021. Round 1 deadline is Friday 2nd April, Round 2 deadline is Friday 28th May and Round 3 deadline is Friday 2nd July. We anticipate that in some areas all programme places and associated funding will be allocated before the final deadline, so you are encouraged to apply early for the best chance of success.

I am not based in the UK, can I apply for the Accelerator?

Yes. We have a growing number of schools and colleges across the world using the Skills Builder approach. All training and materials will be provided in English. The same funding eligibility criteria apply for schools and colleges anywhere in the world. Information about the Global Accelerator is coming very soon.

I work at an independent or fee paying school/college, can I apply for the Accelerator?

Yes! Any school, college or specialist education setting can apply for the Accelerator. If your school or college does not meet the eligibility criteria for funding, you can still apply and self-fund your programme. Alternatively, you may prefer to purchase Digital Membership.

Round 1 deadline
2nd April 2021
Round 2 deadline
28th May 2021
Round 3 deadline
2nd July 2021

You can find out more about the Accelerator before applying in a few ways:

1
Register your interest
Stay informed with the latest updates on funded places in your area - click here
2
Come to a webinar
Find out more, preview resources and ask your questions about the Accelerator - click here
3
Send us an email
Still have questions? Email us at accelerator@skillsbuilder.org

We look forward to receiving your application.