I was reading a debate this week about whether cooking should be part of the National Curriculum, and felt very grateful that at BPS we are able to teach our children this fundamental life skill. Of course, the challenge for most schools is time and facilities and whilst we are blessed with our cookery room, we have also dedicated space and time in our curriculum to life skills, which is half the battle. Our life skills programme is often commented on by parents as an aspect of our provision that stands us apart. We place great significance on the importance of the wider aspects of education along with the softer skills we develop through our attitudes for learning and I continue to be surprised that more is not being done across the primary age ranges to prepare children for life beyond the classroom.

We start teaching life skills in Nursery, supporting our youngest BPS children to navigate their way into their exciting new world of school, particularly developing their Independence. Something we frequently get comments from visitors about, is how well our children tidy up and take responsibility for their school and care for equipment. (I can only apologise if this skill has not yet transferred to life at home, hopefully one day it will). As our children move through BPS the programme evolves to not only prepare our children for life beyond school but also to engage them to understand their strengths, interests and help bring many of our subjects to life! This term we are working on a fantastic variety of skills, led by Mr Ayling who says

“The life skills curriculum helps target and develop transferable skills for life in a fun and practical way, helping all our children get the best out of our wonderful facilities. They learn so much by participating in these activities, developing skills they are sometimes not even aware they are using”

activities currently taking place are:

Y3 – Prototype product design (felt hand puppet) – challenging gender stereotypes (the children look at toy packaging and do activities; ‘draw a firefighter, jet fighter pilot & Surgeon)

Y4 – Money Skills (budgeting, good value, wants vs needs)

Y5 – Currently working on an independent project (based on the residential). Next term the children will do group design challenges, targeting our learner attitudes; particularly collaboration, curiosity (problem solving) and communication.

Y6 – Group design challenges (collaboration, communication, creative thinking, problem solving). Also lots of interview and exam preparation.

NB – Careful what you wish for…I have just returned from covering a Year 3 cookery lesson! I’m not who was teaching whom, but we had a great time and some of you might be lucky enough to sample the superb creations we made. My group went for pebble cakes vs rock cakes… in case any photographic evidence should appear!