Curriculum staff are time poor. Exam boards inflate syllabus on a yearly basis. Politicians and governing bodies pile responsibilities onto teachers already-full plates. Gatsby requires the embedding of careers in curriculum and teachers are struggling to cram more into creaking schedules.
Hitting this benchmark requires an approach that fulfils the following criteria: –
- It must not require any further time commitment
- It must augment current syllabus
- It must have an impact on understanding
The first step in this process is to develop a skills framework.
A skills framework provides common vocabulary across your institution that enables your staff to inject employability into every activity.
How to develop a skills framework
The first step in developing a skills framework is to discuss with your staff what skills you want your young people to leave your school or college with.
These skills will be a reflection of your collective attitude towards education. Do you value resilience? Life-long learning? Communication? Practical skills? It is vital to involve staff members in this discussion so they all buy into the framework you produce.
Secondly, you should ensure you present a draft of the skills to employers. Young people want to feel that their education is relevant and working towards a future career. Liaising with employers in the creation of your skills framework is important in order to identify skills employers are crying out for. Select employers who have experience in hiring young people. They will be acutely aware of the skills young people lack when they enter the workplace. They will be grateful that you are trying to proactively develop these skills.
After presenting your brainstormed list to employers and solicited their feedback, you should finalise the skills that will be in your framework. We suggest that no more than 25 skills should be included, and no fewer than 5. We have seen lots of different approaches to selecting the skills that make it onto the final list. The main categories that are common to all seem to be: –
- Communication / interpersonal skills
- Problem solving / creativity
- Attitude / resilience
- Attitudes towards work??time keeping etc
- Life skills??money management etc
The number of skills you have in each category can vary, but the broad skills represented above are a good idea to cover.
Next, you should look to produce documentation around the skills you have chosen. It is important to communicate this framework across your organisation. These skills will filter into all activities you pursue across your organisation: enrichment leaders should be able to identify aspects of their activity that corresponds to a skill in your framework, as should academic staff, careers staff and everyone else who cares to think about what they are doing through the lens of your framework.
In order to enable staff members to do this, they must understand: –
- Why you have developed the framework
- Why you have chosen the skills you have
- How they can begin to use the skills in a lesson
You should produce a framework manual that includes: –
- The list of skills you have chosen
- A page for each skill describing the reason you have chosen the skill, a detailed description of the skill and why employers find the skill important
- Example activities that can be undertaken to improve and develop each of the skills.
Finally, in order to really ensure mass scale adoption of your skills framework, you should provide staff training to help increase understanding, as well as provide tips on how the framework can be used to improve everyday teaching practice.
Your training can cover how the skills framework can be used in everyday lessons. We once had a conversation with an Ofsted inspector who told us that
embedding careers into the curriculum is as simple as shifting the focus away from the content being taught to the skills the lesson is developing
The example we always use is that of standard deviation. A maths lesson can teach standard deviation, or it can develop analytical skills through learning about standard deviation. The first way of framing the lesson seems closed, and the second very open: developing a skill demonstrates to students that there is broad applicability to the lesson.
By having a skills framework, your staff can reframe all of their lessons, as well as the activities in them, through the lens of careers skills the lesson is helping to develop. You might be developing teamwork through a chemistry practical, written communication skills through composing an essay on Shakespeare, teamwork through PE, empathy through learning about different religions in RE ad infinitum. The list goes on. Teachers creativity becomes the limiting factor to how your skills framework can be interpreted.
Your skills framework contextualises every lesson and activity and demonstrates how each lesson is impacting your learners future careers.
Kloodle can then help record all of these activities, as well as augment the impact of your framework through designing skills weeks. We can also help you develop a skills framework, or provide you with our existing framework (complete with manual, skills weeks and training).