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Lifeskills Challenge supports school’s outstanding curriculum

Paul Lansley, Assistant Head at Cricket Green School, which educates pupils aged four to 19 with diverse learning needs, was looking for a way to accredit his sixth form life skills curriculum. He also wished to find an effective method of providing evidence for the achievements and progress of learners who are working at pre-entry to Entry level.

“Students were doing lots of great work in developing life skills and independent living skills,” Paul said. “But we were struggling to assess, evaluate and evidence students’ learning for these activities. We wanted practical accreditation that matched our life skills curriculum, rather than having to bend our curriculum to fit with the accreditation. Delivering Lifeskills Challenge has enabled us to achieve this because of the flexibility it offers.”

Lifeskills Challenge is an online bank of almost 1,000 challenges, enabling centres to provide a personalised curriculum for learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).

Learning to live independently

Cricket Green, Mitcham, Surrey, has 36 students in its sixth form who are divided into four classes. Students complete on average five or six Lifeskills Challenge activities a year over three years.

The school’s curriculum consists of a wide variety of practical activities that prepare the learners for adulthood. It includes:

  • a life skills class one morning a week where the students focus on travel planning and undertaking journeys locally
  • a community and environment lesson where activities have included creating mini-enterprises to raise money for charity, running a restaurant, selling sandwiches and cakes, and holding an art exhibition. In the summer, the students learn how to plant bulbs and grow vegetables in the school garden
  • helping run the school’s coffee shop, ordering stock, serving customers and making deliveries of orders
  • planning and cooking lunch one day a week, working as a team to select a meal, buy ingredients at the local shop, and eating together as a class

"The programme dovetails well with another of our priorities – ensuring learners achieve the outcomes specified in their education, health and care plans (EHCPs),” Paul said. “The wide range of challenges available ensures we can meet every learner’s needs.

“Lifeskills Challenge supports our school in building practical skills and understanding, leading to future employability and job opportunities through supported internships. With over 95 per cent of our students progressing to college after sixth form, Lifeskills Challenge is also a valuable asset in showcasing the skills students have developed during their time here.”

Providing personalised learning

Cricket Green has taken advantage of the option to create your own challenges through Lifeskills Challenge. The school holds education conferences regularly, which give students the opportunity to develop work-related skills such as organising and providing catering and setting up the facility.

“Having the opportunity to create our own challenge is an added bonus and allows for differentiation and accredition of specific activities – we’ve created Entry 1 and Entry 2 challenges for conference-related activities. This has enabled us to meet requirements for different learners. We have received a lot of support from ASDAN and the process of submitting and having challenges approved was very easy.”

Impressing education inspectors

Paul said Lifeskills Challenge contributed towards the school’s outstanding Ofsted rating in November 2017.

“I was very pleased to see how Lifeskills Challenge stood up to the scrutiny of inspectors – it was noted how the programme provides rigorous assessment and celebrates the skills and knowledge gained by learners. Lifeskills Challenge has helped us focus on providing an outstanding curriculum and no doubt played a role in helping us maintain our outstanding rating.”