Skills Builder Gold Award for Treloar College
Last year, Treloar College started a partnership with Skills Builder, a global movement of employers, educators, and impact organisations working together to support individuals in building their essential skills.
We are excited to share with everyone that Treloar College has been awarded a Skills Builder Gold Award!
This puts us in a select group of schools and colleges that have demonstrated a commitment to building students’ essential skills.
Skills builder platform – impact
Skills builder has integrated well and added structure to the development of students independence and life skills that we already embed into College curriculum. Skills Builder platform is accessible, simple and clear to use and always ‘on hand’ when needed for a visual interactive lesson, a self-assessment for students or just as a visual prompt to recognise when good use of skills has occurred. Bringing Skills Builder into College has added so many positives, bringing social opportunities, assemblies and a healthy amount of competition to the groups. Skills Builder sits perfectly alongside College Employability programme, allowing learners access to a detailed platform of information enhancing their understanding of the essential skills. Students have benefited from the identification and recognition of their essential skill use. They have enjoyed celebrating awards/certificates they or their peers received in the weekly celebration assembly. College weekly celebration assembly is a special moment for students and staff to recognise achievements. Skills Builder has given teachers focus and motivation and allowed them to assess their learners thoroughly in the skills that will really make a difference to their futures. Students are more aware of their achievements and strengths and becoming more confident members of the community.
Outlined in College curriculum plan
Skills Builder is outlined in College curriculum plan/overview for the benefit of students, parents and carers. Further information can be found on the College website and and in our policies, also available through the website. All College classrooms contain a Skills Builder display which promotes the language of the universal framework. Group and one-to-one sessions are delivered using the Hub and students work independently using Benchmark to progress their learning and deepen their understanding of the essential skills. Staff are provided with a ‘Skills Builder Calendar’ which maps out the ‘focus’ skills each half term and details when staff should deliver sessions, planning and preparation for staff is really reduced and engagement is high.
Complimenting and focussing on vocational and employment skills
Skills Builder is delivered in each year of our three (or four) year College programme and really compliments or focus on vocational and employment skills. Skills Builder is delivered as an exclusive session in our first year programme of study to allow students to become familiar with the essential skills, the universal framework and the common language used to express these skills. As students progress through the College programme, they are regularly exposed to the essential skills and universal framework through projects, work experience and group work during tutorial periods. At the beginning of their first year, students start a Skills Diary. This diary travels with them through their years at Treloar’s and becomes a record of their demonstration of the essential skills.
Using Skills Diary to record examples of the essential skills
Students use an online Skills Diary to record examples of them demonstrating the essential skills. They record an array of examples from all areas of college life including lessons, therapies, community skills, work experience and on the residential houses. Students spend time detailing and logging the skills they have demonstrated and explaining the impact this has had on them and what they feel they have achieved. Staff and students provide weekly nominations for those who have demonstrated the essential skills well. All nominations are celebrated in College weekly Skills Builder assembly. All staff and students attend to share in the successes of others and award prizes for the best demonstrations of the essential skills. Staff use essential skills ‘tokens’ in lessons, therapies, and residential settings if they witness good demonstration of the essential skills; these tokens are useful to remind students to record these examples in their skills diary.
Students complete self-assessments of the focus skills at the beginning of each half term. Staff also complete the same assessment for their classes. Using the reports/outcomes of these assessments tutors are able to choose bespoke Hub resources to address the specific areas of development of groups and individuals. Students are able to work on identified activities using the weekly Benchmark tutorial session.
Practice makes perfect
Students are given many opportunities to practise their essential skills through all areas of college life. The common essential skills language is embedded into the curriculum and all areas of academic study. Visual displays in all classrooms and the signs on classroom doors remind students that the essential skills are always a focus. Students access the Hub resources and Benchmark on a weekly basis. At Treloar’s, students access an extensive internal, external and virtual work experience programme and spend time in the community which allows them to practice their essential skills in unfamiliar situations.
Using essential skills in wider life
Students at Treloar’s are able to practise and use their essential skills in wider life on a daily basis. College community skills and residential programmes encourage and challenge students to continually develop their essential skills. Treloar’s extensive internal, external and virtual work experience programme also compliments this. Regular opportunities to meet and speak with employers is facilitated through Treloar’s transition programme. College weekly Skills Builder assembly celebrates the examples of students demonstrating the essential skills in their everyday college life.