Portlethen Academy: Raising the profile of skills in learning and teaching.
Every classroom has a poster for Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work. Pupil-friendly definitions of these skills were produced by a working group of staff. Teachers are asked to make reference to these skills in their learning intentions and success criteria and in the content of the lesson itself. The impact of DYW is discussed in the videos:
All S1 pupils are recording the development of these skills in a Skills Passport booklet during DCT. The main purpose of the booklet is to help the pupils document the skills they are developing, the subjects in which they use these skills and the evidence they have to support their judgements on how well they are progressing with particular skills in learning, life and work. The booklet also includes sections on profiling, SMART targets, reflection, mental health, recognising wider achievement, subject reports and self-evaluation.
The school has used several key methods to ensure that the strategy has the desired impact to the learners:
- Researched examples of skills frameworks and received valuable input from Larbert High School after seeing their materials on the National Improvement Hub
- Decided to develop their version of a skills framework and to link it to their tutor time programme for tracking purposes
- Established a staff team to develop the framework and materials
- Introduced the focus on skills to staff at collegiate session.
- Introduced the focus on skills to pupils at year group assemblies.
- Produced a set of posters for every classroom
- Obtained feedback on reference to skills for learning, life and work through pupil focus groups where 5 pupils are selected from various year groups once a week.
The school believes that the changes have impacted on their learners, the key indicators:
- Promoted skills development in learning and teaching
- Ensure staff are consistently embedding skills development in their classroom practice
- Ensure pupils know what skills they possess
- Helping pupils develop the ability to confidently articulate the skills they are developing
- Ensure pupils can utilise these skills across different subject areas
- Ensure pupils realise the value and importance of skills they develop in school and how these relate to the world of work
This is a journey for staff and young people, the key points are:
- Staff are referencing skills development in their lesson planning
- Pupils are noticing the increased focus on skills and realising the value as they progress through the school
- Pupils are becoming more aware of how often they are using different skills
- Pupils are realising the value of transferrable skills
- Pupils are realising the importance of skills for their future careers
It has allowed them to monitor it through their focus groups, and they can reference it more easily due to the visual nature of their posters. When they have speakers or reference areas of employment in their career of the week they ensure skills are highlighted.
Portlethen are working hard on partnership and engagement with industry. Curricular experiences through DYW include:
Breadth of careers
Air traffic control
Enterprise day (S2)
Hospitality (chef of the week, Royal navy chefs)
Porthlethen see DYW as integral and underpin out their work with young people by making the links between skills and the workplace. They refer to the school as just another workplace, which reinforces the link between education and skills for work. The skills framework has helped by providing a clear focus.
- Having a visual display of the skills you are focusing on
- Reference skills in all aspects of the lesson where appropriate
- Help pupils realise the range of skills they possess
- Ensure pupils know which skills they are developing
- Help pupils transfer these skills to different contexts and subject areas
They have started formally recording and documenting skills development and progression in S1. They are looking at creative ways to record and document skills development as the cohort become more mature and progress through the school. They will formalise the inclusion of skills development in lesson planning, learning intentions and success criteria to ensure a consistent approach by all staff.
“I like the framework because I can click on it and see what it means” S1 pupil
“Having the framework on your website helped me link my presentation to the skills required to work in the catering industry in a way that pupils could understand” DYW presenter.
“The framework diagrams give me a key point of reference in planning lessons and for reference in class.” Teacher