“It is expected that schools identify and teach the necessary skills within the 3-18 curriculum and progression of these skills must be evident. Children and young people should know that skills are transferable and demonstrate this in different contexts in learning.”
(Taken from West Lothian Council’s “Raising Attainment” document, January 2012)
Whitburn Academy views the development of skills in our pupils as an essential part of the curriculum. All staff are aware that planning the curriculum for learners must consistently take into account of the need to develop wider skills in all subjects and courses.. A working group consisting of around 12 teaching and non-teaching staff, was set up in August 2011 to focus on creating an effective, valuable and manageable skills programme for S1 to S3 pupils in the school. After its success in the Academy, the programme is now being introduced to all Primary 7 pupils in the Whitburn cluster. The assessment and recording of skills in the junior phase (P7- S3) will be used by staff and pupils to complete a profile at the end of S3.
All staff were asked to compile a list of skills they felt were important in their classes and subject area. From this extensive list, staff highlighted what they felt were the 10 most important skills for pupils to have. A final list of 10 generic and essential skills was then produced.
The skills programme step by step:
- Around March / April, all pupils complete a “Key Skills” self-evaluation sheet in all of their subjects. It asks them to rate how they are using each of the 10 skills on a 1 to 5 scale. To award themselves a 4 or 5 for a skill they must have sufficient evidence in the “example of how I used this skill” box. There is also room at the bottom to record any significant achievements in that subject over the year.
- A few weeks later, in PSE, pupils add up their scores for each of the 10 skills from all subjects to get a total. This score is then transferred into a “skills analysis pie chart”.
- After completing the pie chart, pupils can clearly see which skills are a particular strength for them, and which skills they need to work on. The final sheet for all pupils to complete is a “wider achievement record”. This is a chance to note any memorable achievements over the year from various subjects or after school clubs in Whitburn Academy. There is also a column to record successes they have achieved out of school over the year e.g. football clubs, Girls Brigade, golf, passing music exams.
The Whitburn Academy Skills Programme involves all pupils self-evaluating their skills across all subjects. Self-evaluation is an essential skill in itself, as it allows all pupils to reflect and get to know themselves better. Self-evaluation reinforces strengths and provides the opportunity to turn around any weaknesses.
For more information about Whitburn Academy’s Skills Programme please contact:
Neil Bulloch, PTC Science.