Bramble Brae School worked with all stakeholders to redesign a bespoke curriculum for the school. Creativity and employability skills are being developed within the curriculum as they engage with local employers to create an enriching and inspiring learning environment: making connections across different areas of learning and using whole school themes to encourage involvement and deepen understanding.
Through this, the school is developing materials and opportunities for learning in a wide variety of contexts and settings: from the local supermarket; to a nearby building site and visits from local musicians to share stories about local history and traditions throughout the school. Displays, open mornings, assemblies and local radio interviews are some of the ways in which the children share their skills and the value of their experiences with others.
The school motto: Belonging, Believing Achieving encapsulates the vision, values and aims that Bramble Brae aspire to. To support this the school embarked on a unique approach by employing a Business and Community Ambassador, more commonly known as the ‘Good Fairy’ by staff and pupils; a first for Aberdeen City. Through working collaboratively with teachers and pupils, she initiates and develops relevant links with businesses, employers and third sector partners across the city, country and even the world! This has resulted in the ‘World of Work’ being embedded across the curriculum and throughout the school, with links from Nursery through to P7. This role also provides flexibility to meet with potential partners and provides valuable and meaningful communication between all partners to share information about the particular and specific needs and aspirations of children and allows freedom to develop learning materials which can be built upon for successive year groups. The partnerships benefit pupils within school and in after school activities. The school runs entrepreneurial activities throughout all classes and has an annual showcase, celebratory event that all are invited to.
In P6 employability skills are developed with partners to provide a real insight into the skills pupils are developing: their strengths and preferences in how they make choices in different situations which leads to them analysing and then ultimately becoming mini-apprentices in real life roles within the school. This work augments the world of work ‘Animal Me’ exercises by involving a local psychologist from a business consultancy introducing personality tests to build confidence then looks at what each individual child brings to the world. The school have then built links with the University Business School and lecturers help them to understand how skills they are developing are sought for specific roles in the world of work.
Mock interviewing is a brilliant way of building resilience and communication skills and each applicant works within their chosen role either within the school, or within the local community library or secondary school if they choose to apply for a librarian position. The School’s programme has been recognised by Skills Development Scotland who shared this as good practice with other schools after meeting the children involved. They have information for a case study which they are hoping to share online in the future. By looking at familiar jobs within the school the children developed an understanding of how people help them and have become more responsible in their behaviour and approach to others. It’s also helped them identify skills they have or can acquire for the work of work and widened their horizons. They enjoyed sharing this learning with other classes and parents/carers in the showcase celebration event too. It’s encouraged them to challenge perceptions of themselves and others as well as enhancing their learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Throughout the school all pupils develop employability and creativity skills with whole school contexts for learning across the year.
– A new theme starts with all pupils identifying their BIG questions
– These are shared with the ‘Good Fairy’ looks at possible links, resources or visits
– All work collaboratively to facilitate these.
– Through this approach, there is a focus on personalisation and choice.
Promoting equity, equality, diversity and inclusion through their partnerships to develop employability and creativity. This innovative approach enables access to world of work for the children. Many of whom do not have access to family and friends to ask about this. These experiences are particularly valuable for many of our children who live within an area designated as a ‘regeneration area’ and who have many different experiences through school which increase their social capital. Some examples include:
A female engineer visiting to talk about renewable energy. They embraced the chance to ask her about what she did in the oil and gas industry. Through this link, the children were then able to explore diversity and equality further through an expansive Flat Stanley activity by writing letters to her work colleagues across the globe asking about where they lived and what it was like there.
Event where they invited 4 local schools to take part in an event to tackle gender stereotyping and perceptions about the world of work. A huge benefit in reducing gender stereotypes and inspiring pupils was reported after this highly interactive event.
Looking at the local environment and visiting new housing close to the school that pupils were interested in. They arranged a whole class visit to the building site. Being with builders, architects and site managers provided an insight into skills for future jobs.
Impacts on the learners include an increase in self-determination, self-esteem, self-belief and enthusiasm plus suggestions of whom we might engage with to enrich their learning experiences. By having and building upon partner relationships the children and teachers, feel comfortable in asking questions and there are reciprocal benefits in terms of understanding for employers about current education practice, the value of their input in making a positive difference and, often, a renewed interest in their own role within an organisation having explained what they do and what they enjoy about their job to a class of inquisitive pupils. Also, with a move towards diversity, equality and inclusion within our business partners’ corporate social responsibility values, their involvement with our school and community supports these values. The school celebrates success together and within the community.
During the summer term, each class puts together activities and materials to celebrate and share how they’ve engaged with organisations to develop their employability and creativity skills. This whole school showcase is open to all parents/carers; partners and the community and, last year, was a lively and interactive session designed and led by the children to demonstrate how they’d developed and what they’d enjoyed learning throughout the school year.
Staff find that being able to introduce a topic with a practical example, finding someone who has expertise and resources to share with the pupils brings an extra dimension into the classroom and can support and develop interdisciplinary learning.