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Undershaw receives national Flagship Award

By October 10, 2023No Comments

We have had the most wonderful start to our 2023-2024 academic year with the news that we have been awarded Flagship status from the Skills Builder Partnership.

The Undershaw Employability curriculum has been transformed over the past few years and is now setting the standard for life skills education across SEND education.

Essential skills unlock learning in the classroom, boosting academic outcomes, perseverance, and self-belief. They halve the likelihood of being out of work and increase earnings across a lifetime. They even boost wellbeing and life satisfaction. But access to these skills isn’t fair. And where they are missed, it undermines social mobility, productivity, and wellbeing. We think everyone, at every stage of their lives, should have the opportunities to build them.

The Skills Builder Partnership

Our Employability and Life Skills team has been working tirelessly to embed the essential skills framework throughout the school and evidencing this in our award application towards the end of the summer term.  Our application took account of the multi-faceted approach we take across initiatives such as work experience, Industry Insight Talks, Careers Week, our Therapy provision, and a multitude of other activities.

I'd like to offer a big congratulations and warm thanks to all the staff at Undershaw for their ongoing commitment to building learners' essential skills. Undershaw started their journey with Skills Builder in 2019. Now, every learner is provided with many opportunities to reflect, learn and apply their skills on a daily basis. To gain Flagship status, Undershaw has taken a truly whole school approach. Not only have they provided high quality opportunities for students to build their skills, but they have started to encourage staff to do the same through their skills spotters initiative and recruitment processes. We are proud to continue working with them in 2023-24 and learn from their great practice.

Evelyn HaywoodDirector of Education, Skills Builder Partnership

We were so delighted with our Gold Award last summer. As the academic year turned, we became increasingly aware of just how important it is to model what we teach. We focussed on our Creativity and Aiming High as we set our sights on the Flagship Award. The criteria are strict, and we knew that this wasn’t just about what we were doing within the school. We channelled our Speaking, Listening and Leadership skills as we knew this award application would assess the extensive work we do with our external network too; every business we work alongside to deliver our work experience programme; every professional we invite into our school to deliver Industry Insight Talks; all our Rotary and community-based charitable activities; even our recruitment and talent retention priorities. This award is about more than teaching. It is about becoming visionaries for a Life Skills Programme we believe in and advocating for the changes we know are possible for the benefit of all our young people. We have a responsibility to add our voice to change and with this Flagship award, we have placed Undershaw at the forefront of the evolution.

Leilah SheridanHead of Employability and Life Skills, Undershaw

I am so proud of our Employability Team for driving this award application, and the extensive work undertaken by the entire staff team to support, embed and deliver the Skills Builder Programme. Our school is peppered with an increasing number of initiatives that enrich our life skills. We have a language, a way of being conscious of our actions, and accountable for them. We have a responsibility to leave a legacy of impact within all our relationships, both individually and as a school. I’m so proud of the impact that Undershaw has, both with our students, and as we secure our place in our wider community. We are trusted friends and partners. Thank you to all involved. This award is very gratefully received, and we will continue our Skills Builder work long into the future.

Emma WestHeadteacher, Undershaw
For a more detailed look at our comprehensive Careers Programme, please see our latest Employability Spotlight
If you are a professional and would like to offer an Industry Insight Talk or be involved in our Careers Week Programme, please email Leilah Sheridan, Undershaw’s Head of Employability and Life Skills on
We are always on the lookout for new partners and Friends of Undershaw. If you would like to explore aligning your business with our school through our Employability curriculum, please email