Leadership programme

Teaching skills for the future

Helen Gourley

Assistant Head Teacher & Phase 1 Lead

School 360

At School 360, we believe in an expansive education of the Head, Heart and Hand. Through our project based curriculum, we aim to support learners to develop a range and depth of knowledge, underpinned by the teaching and learning of foundational, expert and critical thinking skills. We know that a balance of teaching and learning between knowledge and specific skills is important. Much time has been spent thinking about the most effective methods of transferring knowledge and developing foundational skills. How best can we support pupils to develop other, more transferable skills such as problem solving, collaboration, curiosity, resilience? Our participation in the Next Big 10 Network has enabled us to explore this question, in collaboration with other like-minded colleagues across the UK.

In our Working Group we are focusing on the feasibility of implementing the teaching and learning of transferable skills in schools. Our main aim was to ensure that it did not become tokenistic but instead, is embedded throughout the curriculum: working with knowledge, not in opposition. Drawing on research and our own practices, we identified four areas of teaching and learning which need to be considered: curriculum; pedagogy; assessment; reporting. Here are some of the initial questions we asked ourselves.

Curriculum:

  • What skills are relevant for your context?
  • Where will skills be taught and developed in your existing curriculum?

Pedagogy:

  • What pedagogies in your school support the development of these skills already?
  • How will you create a culture of reflective practice within your teaching team to review?

Assessment:

  • What assessment rubric will you use? How can it be adapted to your setting?
  • Will you use the rubric as an assessment or self-reflection tool?

Reporting:

How will you create a culture where the reporting of skills is valued by all?

What systems of reporting do you need to put in place to reflect this?

As part of our work, we each took these principles back to our own settings and are in the process of embedding skills work into our own curriculums. At School 360, we are at the early stages of developing our skills development pedagogies and curriculum.

At School 360, we strongly believe in the power of play. The children have continuous provision throughout the EYFS and KS1. The three skills which we have chosen to trial are: creativity, collaboration and communication. We believed that the ‘three C’s’ skills were most relevant to our young learners to be successful in their play based learning and will upskill them for the future too.

We thought hard about how we would embed the teaching and learning of these skills across the curriculum. We decided to link the teaching and learning of these skills into an existing curriculum: our values curriculum. Our values curriculum maps out the explicit teaching of our five values which govern how we ‘are’ at School 360 from Reception to Year 2. Just as our Values underpin our very being at School 360, the Three C’s we hope will underpin our behaviour for learning in and out of the classroom at School 360, across the curriculum.

We are fortunate to employ numerous existing pedagogical approaches in our context already that support the development of these skills: project based learning, play and continuous provision, mixed achievement groupings, Oracy curriculum, Let’s Think and Learning Trajectories for the teaching of maths, storytelling approach to literacy. These will support the development of the Three C’s.

After lots of research, we have found numerous existing rubrics which map out progression of these skills. We have decided to work alongside Competency Compass to trial an adapted version for School 360. This progression map has enabled us to map out key objectives within each skill alongside our values curriculum progression map so that teachers have a clear idea and understanding of the sequence of learning.

At School 360, we create digital portfolios of work instead of annual written reports. Each learner has a website and each year they create a new page. Our vision for these portfolios is for children to reflect on their development of the Three C’s to present to their family.

Whilst the impact of this work has yet to be seen, we strongly believe in the importance of creating a curriculum that enables our learners to be successful in the Head, the Heart and the Hand not only in school but beyond. Crucial to this work is ensuring a well sequenced and research backed approach to explicit skills teaching. We hope that through our work in the Next Big 10 we will be able to share our experiences and offer guidance and advice – watch out for our ‘how to’ guide coming soon!

Helen Gourley, Assistant Head Teacher & Phase 1 Lead at School 360

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This blog is from a school taking part in The Next Big 10, a programme for schools who are transforming education against strong headwinds

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