News & Updates

Real Life Skills at the Raedwald Trust

The Raedwald Trust has developed a Real Life Skills programme for pupils across the Trust.

The aim of the programme is to strengthen young peoples’ social and emotional capabilities with activities complementary to their academic work, whilst also giving them skills they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

The bespoke programme has been designed on a model of learning that focuses on pupils being able to achieve and develop core skills through a range of activities. Shelter building, problem solving, an allotment project, climbing, swimming and crafts are all examples of activities that are included in the Real Life Skills programme.

The programme is centred around five key phases of learning:

Inspire – pupils are given information on their topic or theme of learning and are then invited to share ideas and plans.

Explore – pupils explore and implement their ideas and learn through trial and error and planning and designing.

Create – pupils’ learning is a blend of teamwork and independent learning opportunities designed to develop targeted skills and learning.

Retry – pupils have the opportunity to retry and repeat learning to reinforce the skills they are developing.

Reflect – pupils are given time during the learning activities to reflect on their own participation and social and emotional development as the programme develops.

Each of the Key Stage 3-4 schools in the Trust have dedicated time each week for the Real Life Skills programme which runs on a half-termly cycle. Pupils identified by their school as requiring to develop certain personal, social and emotional development (PSED) skills are put forward for the programme, and once a pupil has been selected, their PSED needs are assessed. On the programme, pupils are set group targets and their own individualised goals, which are taken from their own individual learning plans.

The dedicated Real Life Skills coordinator monitors group and individual pupil targets on a week to week basis during the programme. Pupils have an ‘entry’ profile at the start of the half term and an ‘exit’ profile at the end of the half term which shows their progress over the 7 week programme.

Feedback has been very positive from participating pupils, with some Key Stage 4 pupils even going out of their way to thank staff members, asking: “Can we do this more often, we missed out doing this when we were younger?”

Another pupil was initially very reluctant to join their Real Life Skills group. However they first joined for a climbing session, then some swimming sessions and now attend confidently each week.

Martin Weston, Raedwald Trust External Provision Lead, said: “The main focus of the programme has been around positive social interactions; giving pupils a safe social environment where they are able to ask questions, make mistakes and most importantly learn and improve their social skills with high levels of staff support if required. Many of the pupils now not only use their time to explore social interactions within the group but also take the opportunity to discuss concerns and anxieties about their wider lives, in and out of Raedwald Trust.

“It has been amazing to see the pupils’ self esteem and confidence grow as they gain new experiences and realise that they are able to happily access activities, social groups and friendships that have previously seemed out of reach.”

The Real Life Skills programme is just one of the avenues that the Raedwald Trust is using to give its pupils’ opportunities that they would otherwise not experience, and skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. For more examples of events and programmes taking place for the benefit of the pupils at the Raedwald Trust, click here.