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Water Mill

Primary School

Anything is possible

Owl-standing Skills at Water Mill

Skill Development and Our Owl-standing Skills (Skills Builder)




Knowledge development is at the heart of our progressive, whole school curriculum. Within this we value the importance of both Substantive Knowledge and Disciplinary Knowledge.

For simplicity, we will refer to Disciplinary Knowledge as Skills.

At Water Mill we have planned and structured a fantastic and thorough curriculum that details the development these subject specific skills in a progressive manner.

Beyond that, we provide a solid framework of ‘Skills Builder Essential Skills’ that underpin learning in all subject areas. This framework has been developed in collaboration with industry (over 120 organisations and employers) to provide the skills pupils will need to flourish in future employment and broader life.


Our clear aim is to provide pupils with the skills they need to excel in life:

We want them to leave Water Mill as Proud, Creative and Independent Learners who are Prepared for their futures.





At Water Mill we have combined the 8 Skills Builder Skills with our 4 Values and the British Values to produce our ‘Owl-standing Skills’:

This framework underpins everything we do at Water Mill and is something that we see as key to achieving our School Mission statement.

On a daily basis, children reflect on the application of these skills in their work and behaviours.


The teaching of the skills is explicitly planned. Each month staff run sessions on a particular skill as part of their RSE/PSHE curriculum. These skills are also charted against the long term plans to ensure the skills are developed across the whole curriculum. In addition to the month focus, we run an ‘Enterprise week’ in the summer where children complete projects based planned around explicit teaching of the skills in a real life challenge (e.g. setting up, resourcing and running a Café or opening an Art Gallery).


Each week there is a focus skills that is celebrated in class, with children earning the chance to get a place on the coveted ‘ Owl-Standing Display’. These successes then are shared with parents in Celebration Assembly an Owl-Standing ‘Star of the week’ is chosen.


Information for parents is shared through Social Media monthly, letting them know what the school is currently focussing on, where they can find more information about the Skills Builder framework, signposting them to online resources to support their child’s development as well as offering skills development and employability opportunities for themselves


Teaching of the skills follows a detailed and progressive ‘step by step’ framework that is tailored to suit the needs of all learners, all the way from Reception class to CEO of an international organisation. Details of the framework can be found at:


In addition to all the above, teachers actively seek opportunities to pick out, develop and celebrate the skills in all we do, each and every day.



Our Owl-standing Skills framework underpins all we do. It is fundamental in supporting our children to be proud of what they’ve achieved, as creative, independent learners who will be prepared for the future.


Planned, structured and progressive lessons are taught frequently, complimenting and enriching our broad curriculum.


Children benefit from both academic and real life experience of the application of these skills.

Teachers expertly identify additional, informal opportunities to develop skills.

Children are confident in the language of skill development and can identify skills that they are using and how they are improving in their use.


Teachers assess pupils progress using a bespoke skills tracker (The Skills Builder Hub) that leadership monitoring demonstrates fantastic improvements year on year.

At its heart, the impact of our skills development approach can be seen in the type of children that we produce; well rounded, attentive, confident young people who we are hugely proud to see embody our School Mission Statement.


The impact of approach has received recognition in the form of both the Bronze and Silver Skills Builder Awards and we are optimistic about working towards the Gold Award by the end of the 21/22 academic year.

Click below for more information about the Skills Builder Awards and an example of how the our Owl-standing Skills have been developed in a variety of real life contexts as part of our Covid Recovery Plan.

The below documents are examples of how we plan coverage of the owlstanding skills; as whole school focusses (weekly and monthly) in curriculum planning and for big events like Enterprise Week or Challenge Days.


Contact Us

Water Mill Primary School Water Mill Close, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6TS
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