Tor Bank School


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Skills Builder Bronze Award


Tor Bank is a supportive and empathetic community in which parents, teachers, classroom assistants, therapists, nursing staff and other interested parties share and work in collaboration to design and implement programmes to meet the holistic needs of the individual pupil with complex learning preferences.

We provide a specialist high quality curriculum for young people aged 3-19 which focuses on making the individual young person a more independently functioning member of a society in which he or she is expected to live and work. As a school we are whole heartedly committed to celebrating all achievements and providing meaningful, varied opportunities and experiences which prepare the pupil for post school life. The Skills Builder Accelerator Programme encompasses our school ethos ‘Thrive, Believe, Succeed’ by supporting the develop of essential skills for post school adult life.


Overall impact

Due to the size of the pilot study, 2 groups with 4 students in each group, one group focused on the key skill of listening and the other group focused on speaking, the whole school impact was minimal. However, the pilot study group feedback was extremely positive. There was a marked improvement in the active listening of the pupils and a reduction in interrupting, during discussion time. There was an increase in clarity of speech when talking to others, an improvement in self-confidence when interacting with unfamiliar peers and staff .

Keep it simple

After discussion with the Senior Leadership, we started to look at two key skills ‘Listening’ and ‘Speaking’ when the pupils returned to school in September. This seemed a natural starting point as good functional communication enables social interaction within school, their local and wider community, helps to develop friendships. boost self-esteem and confidence thus promoting a better quality of life .


Initially a baseline assessment for the skill was carried out for each individual then an intervention programme was devised using the resources and language on the Skills Builder Hub which encouraged students to reflect on their learning each session and try and apply this learning across other learning opportunities.


Start early, keep it going

We had planned to use Skills Builder Programme with all classes in the Sixth Form Department and the oldest class in the Secondary however due to variety of reasons, it was only piloted with the oldest class in both the Secondary and Sixth Form Department. During Term 3 the language was introduced to the whole school at assemblies and teachers have started to include language into planning for next year


Measure it

We have been working through both the universal and expanded frameworks and these have been essential in helping the students understanding the steps involved in mastering the different skills. They also really enjoyed receiving the certificates in assembly when they had master step.


Focus tightly

The pupils began by having weekly, focused lessons on a particular skill using the planned lessons and activities on the Hub. These provided the pupils with the opportunities to practice the skill within the lesson structure through engaging in cross curricular activities embed them such as through discussion time, cookery, art and crafts, thematic units and completion of accreditation modules such as developing communication skills. Key skills/learning goals were also included in pupils PLPs Personal Learning Plans which are shared with parents and monitored regularly.

Keep practising

As part of the wider school community, students have been participating in a variety of experiences and opportunities to develop the key skills which we have been focusing on such as taking Assemblies, participating in Eco School Award, Educational Outings and embarking on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh.

Bring it to life

Students participated in internal functional tasks and a Careers Visits Programme to different industries preparing them for external placements in the forthcoming academic year. We also used some of the posters provided by the Skill Builder Programmes as visual reminders within classrooms for students.

What’s next

The next step will be to expand the Skills Builder Accelerator Programme to all post primary classes and embed the ‘essential skills ‘into our daily teaching, learning and planning thus further preparing and equipping the pupil for post school life.



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