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I'm a school leaderI'm a teacherI'm an employerMy organisation builds skills

Why these skills?

These are the skills that underpin success at every stage of life - they unlock learning while at school, ensure young people are prepared for the independence of university and college, and empower workers to land their dream job.

¹ CBI (2016), ‘Education and Skills Survey’, CBI
² Gadsby B, (2017) ‘Challenge the Impossible’, Teach First

A rapidly-growing partnership.

We work to ensure that one day, everyone will build the essential skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.

To achieve this aim, we have built a partnership of schools, employers and other organisations all using the Skills Builder Framework to develop skills with children and young people.

A complete framework that goes step by step.

The Skills Builder framework underpins our programmes. It takes each of the eight skills and breaks them down into teachable and learnable nuggets - from the age of three through to adulthood.

Explore Framework  

Where to start

As an organisation reflect on which of the eight essential skills on the Skills Builder Framework you focus on building in the children and young people you work with. Do your programmes encompass all eight of the skills or do they particularly focus on a few of the skills?

How the framework can be used

1. Assess young people. We have built two assessment tools from the framework: a teacher/practitioner assessment tool and a young person self-reflection tool (there are online and offline versions). These support organisations to work out which step children and young people are currently at in the skills so they can differentiate and focus their teaching.

2. Target your teaching and practice. Once you know where the child or young person you’re working with is at in the essential skills you’re working on then you can focus the activities you do to the specific next skill steps. We have created a bank of skill-step specific video activities and other suggested activities.

3. Embed a consistent skill language. The language of the specific steps from the Framework can be used:
• By all staff to praise young people making progress in theses skills
• To support staff to set specific skill objectives for activities and workshops
• To support children and young people to set themselves clear targets for what they want to improve in the essential skills

Mastery principles

Mastery learning breaks subject matter and learning content into units with clearly specified objectives which are pursued until they are achieved. Children and young people must demonstrate a high level of success before progressing to new content. Mastery of a step is evident when a child or young person is regularly able to demonstrate that step in different contexts.

Explore Framework   

We've created a toolkit for that offers advice for embedding the essential skills, the Framework and the principles into your everyday work.

Listening
The ability to listen and understand information.
The first few steps are about listening and responding to one person at a time. Learners then move to develop their listening in different contexts and use information or ideas they have heard in their own responses.

The next stage is focused on the analysis of why a speaker is engaging, being able to explain why they have made particular language or presentational choices.

From Step 11, learners are encouraged to engage critically with the content of what a speaker has said. At the top end, learners are able to critically evaluate the success of a speaker across different contexts.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can listen to others for a short time.
Teacher Explanation
Learners listen with enjoyment and respond appropriately to stories.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can listen to adults, follow instructions and tell you what I heard.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can listen to an adult, such as a teacher or teaching assistant, and recall and follow simple instructions.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can listen to others and ask questions about what I heard.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to listen to peers and ask relevant questions based on what they heard.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I can follow a conversation and tell somebody else what it was about.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to listen to multiple speakers, retain the information and give a basic account.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain that there are different purposes to speech and how to identify them.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are aware that there are different reasons why people communicate (e.g. to ask a question, give instructions, provide information or persuade) and identify some simple language features of each one.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can listen to extended talk and identify the key information I need.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can listen to and respond to extended talk, identifying the key information they need and retain it.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can take part and respond in a group discussion.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to follow and take part in a group discussion and express opinions when called upon.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can analyse how a speaker uses language and gesture to engage the audience.
Teacher Explanation
I can analyse how a speaker adapts language  for different purposes.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can analyse how a speaker adapts language  for different purposes.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can analyse how and why a speaker adapts their language to suit different purposes such as to persuade, entertain and instruct.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can analyse the tone, emphasis and status of the speaker and their effect.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can recognise the tone, emphasis and status of a speaker and consider their effect.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can ask probing and relevant questions to check and build my understanding.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to follow a speaker and create their own meaningful, probing questions to check and deepen their own understanding.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can identify and analyse different points of views of speakers.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify and analyse different points of views they hear in a discussion and explain how they are different.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can identify underlying themes, implications and issues when listening.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify themes, implications and issues in what is being said.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can analyse bias when listening, through a speaker’s language, omissions or ambiguity.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can analyse bias through language, omission and ambiguity.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain a speaker’s techniques and approaches in different contexts.
Teacher Explanation
Learners understand a speaker’s intentions and techniques and how they use a range of different approaches in different contexts.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can evaluate how a speaker can become an outstanding speaker.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate a speaker’s use of language, gesture, tone, emphasis, bias and the plausibility and validity of their point of view to make suggestions for improvement.
Presenting
The oral transmission of information
or ideas.
The first few steps are about learners speaking clearly and logically, to communicate their ideas. The next stage is about being able to make appropriate language choices, considering their audience and why they are presenting. Once they have mastered this, learners move on to how to create engaging presentations by thinking about gesture, expression and tone.

From Step 9, learners focus on adapting their presentations for their audience. The final steps support learners in developing their own personal presentational style and how to make this effective in different contexts.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can speak clearly to someone I know.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can convey simple ideas of immediate interest to one other person.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can speak clearly to a small group of people I know.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can convey simple answers or thoughts to a wider group, for example in  a group discussion.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can speak clearly and explain my ideas to a group of people.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can share a narrative or extended answer while speaking to a group.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I make points in an order that makes sense when I am speaking.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain ideas in a clear order with relevant detail, using conjunctions to structure their speech.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I choose an order for my points so that the audience can best understand me.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to logically order information in a way that could be understood by an audience. Learners begin to engage the audience with some presentational techniques.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can use formal language, tone and expression when I am presenting.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to use standard English when presenting to a group, avoiding inappropriate language or slang.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can change my language depending on the purpose and audience.
Teacher Explanation
Learners use appropriate language based on their understanding of the presentation's purpose and audience.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can structure my language in a way that makes my communication clear and engaging, and use examples for my points.
Teacher Explanation
Learners use appropriate structure and vocabulary, and also bring in examples to illustrate their key points.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can vary my language and level of detail to make my presentation interesting according to the context.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can vary the level of detail and the language they use when presenting to make it appropriate to the audience and their brief.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can adapt my language, structure and gesture to engage my audience.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can use appropriate language, structure and gesture for the context they are presenting in.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I am able to modify my language, tone and expression according to the listeners’ reaction and response.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to modify language, tone and expression according to the listeners’ reaction and response to increase the audience’s engagement.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can anticipate different responses from the audience and plan for them.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are also able to anticipate different responses from the audience and are able to plan accordingly. For example, by varying the mood to elicit different emotional responses.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can be flexible in my style during the presentation to better engage the audience. This might include changes to content and style of delivery.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can adapt their presentation during its delivery to better engage the audience.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I explore different styles of presenting and consider their effectiveness.
Teacher Explanation
Learners begin to develop a personal presenting style, adapting the content, structure, language and non-verbal features to the audience and purpose of the talk.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I reflect on the effectiveness of different styles of presenting and choose the best style for me.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can reflect and develop their personal presenting style and evaluate the effectiveness of their approach.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can deliver effective presentations in a personal style, adapted to the situation, and reflect on why they were effective.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to creatively adapt the content, structure and style of presentation to the purpose, audience and tone of the talk with distinct personal style and flair.
Problem Solving
The ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.
The initial stages are about learners being able to explain a simple problem they may have and recognise they may need help. Once learners are able to identify problems, they begin learning how to use strategies to solve simple problems. The next stage focuses on being able to identify complex problems and break them down before suggesting a range of possible solutions.

From Step 11, learners focus on using different processes to solve complex problems. Finally, learners are able to evaluate the approaches they have developed to solve problems.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can follow instructions to solve a problem.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can follow adult instructions to solve a problem.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can ask for help when I need it.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify when they require adult support in overcoming difficulties and will seek a suitable adult for help with this.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain a simple problem that I might have and get someone to help me with it.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify simple problems and ask for adult support to scaffold possible solutions.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I can find extra information with help from others to help me solve a simple problem.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify when they need extra information to solve a simple problem and can find that information with help from an adult or peers.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I can come up with different ways to solve a simple problem.
Teacher Explanation
Learners appreciate that there are frequently different ways to solve a problem and can explain different options in a given situation.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can use pros and cons to pick the best way of solving a simple problem.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can articulate a problem and  evaluate different potential solutions to choose the option they think will be most effective (with adult support).
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain the difference between simple and complex problems.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify complex problems (e.g. I can’t decide on a secondary school) and explain how these differ from simple problems (e.g. what I need to pack for holiday). They can explain why different approaches might be needed.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can carry out research to better understand complex problems.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can seek additional information to build their understanding of a complex problem.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can look at the causes and effects of complex problems, including carrying out research.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify extra information they need in order to consider the causes and effects of a problem and seek out that information independently.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can create a range of possible solutions for complex problems and identify the pros and cons of each.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can create a range of possible solutions, identifying the pros and cons of each approach.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can evaluate different solutions for a complex problem to pick the best one.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can choose between the options that they’ve created and use some justifiable method to do so – such as scoring and weighting outcomes.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can use logic trees to help solve complex problems.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can create simple logic trees to think through problems where there are different outcomes.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can use hypotheses to help solve complex problems.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to generate hypotheses in answer to complex problems, and suggest how they could test these hypotheses.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain deductive and inductive logic and how they can be used in problem-solving.
Teacher Explanation
Learners have a basic understanding of deductive and inductive logic and understand how these can be applied effectively to problems.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can identify assumptions that may be made about a problem and possible solutions, and think about how this might impact my approach.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain what assumptions might have been made in the process of solving a problem and developing solutions, and consider how understanding these assumptions will affect the approach they take.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can evaluate the success of solutions I have used to attempt to solve a complex problem.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can effectively evaluate different results from their attempted solutions to complex problems and adapt their approach if required.
Creativity
The use of imagination and the generation of new ideas.
The first stage is about learners recognising and using their imagination to express themselves. The next few steps focus on the learner’s confidence to use their imagination to develop new ideas using guidance or existing ideas.

From Step 6, learners are able to explain how creativity is useful to help in different areas of life.

The next stage is about learners using different strategies for creativity, both when working alone and in groups. Finally, learners are able to evaluate different strategies for creativity and reflect on what works well for them.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can use my imagination in role-play.
Teacher Explanation
Learners feel comfortable with the idea of using their imagination. They might do this in the context of familiar, real-world settings.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can talk about when I use my imagination.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can talk about using imagination and when they use their imagination.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can share what I imagine through writing, drawing or acting it out.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can express and share what they are imagining through writing, drawing or other forms of expression.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I can use my imagination to come up with ideas when I’ve been given success criteria to help me.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can produce ideas when they are given a simple brief, some success criteria or broad guidelines as support.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I can use my imagination to come up with ideas linked to a starting point.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can generate multiple ideas when they are given a stimulus or initial idea as a starting point.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can combine ideas or concepts to create new ones.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can merge simple ideas to create new ones and can identify that ideas have different components.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain what creativity is and how it is used in different settings.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain what creativity is, how it might be seen in different settings (the arts, design or day-to-day situations) and how it is used by different groups of people.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain how I use creativity in different areas of my life.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can reflect on the role creativity plays in different aspects of their life: in different lessons, during extra-curricular activities and at home.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can use mind mapping as a creative tool to help me generate ideas.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can use mind mapping as a creative tool to support how they generate, develop and link ideas.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can outline how introducing something seemingly random can support creativity.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can describe how a random stimulus (e.g. word, image or even sound) can spark creativity and support how they generate ideas.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain how considering different perspectives can support creativity.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain ways to take alternative perspectives into account and how this impacts creativity.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain how to maximise creativity when working collaboratively.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain ways to overcome ‘groupthink’, which is the tendency for consensus in groups leading to a lack of diversity in ideas.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can reflect on how I have used creative tools.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can reflect on how different creative tools work and the different contexts in which they have used creative tools.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can select the most effective creative tools for my way of working and explain why.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can reflect on how they approach creative tasks and evaluate the effectiveness of creative tools for themselves.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can suggest multiple creative tools that would be appropriate for a given situation.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify the requirements of a given situation and justify more than one creative tool that would be suitable.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can select the most effective creative tool for a given situation and explain why.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate the effectiveness of creative tools with respect to the requirements of the situation and choose the most effective one.
Staying Positive
The ability to use tactics to overcome setbacks and achieve goals.
It starts with learners being able to recognise simple emotions and suggest why people feel these. The next stage is about developing learners’ capacity to keep trying when things go wrong. Once learners have mastered this, they move to being able to identify the positives in difficult situations, and sharing this with others.

The next stage is about recognising the advantages of risk taking and know when it may be appropriate to take a risk. The final steps are focused on learners managing their emotions in challenging contexts and choosing positive action.
Step 0
(ages 4-7
Learner Descriptor
I can say why people might be happy or sad.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can articulate basic emotions and understand that other people will have changing emotions too.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can say when things go wrong and why people can get angry or upset.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can see that people might get angry or upset when things go wrong and see how this links to their own experiences.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain why giving up when something goes wrong does not help.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can articulate why it is important to manage negative emotions when they face setbacks. They might not always be able to put this into practice.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I try to stay calm when something goes wrong.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can respond to setbacks calmly.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I keep trying when something goes wrong, and think about what happened.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can be seen to respond positively to setbacks but also try to understand why the problem occurred and overcome that.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I keep trying when something goes wrong and help cheer other people up.
Teacher Explanation
Learners continue to make an effort, even when they face setbacks, and can also cheer up their peers.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I keep trying and encourage others to keep trying, even when things are difficult.
Teacher Explanation
Learners keep trying and are effective in encouraging others to maintain their level of effort in the face of setbacks.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can look on the bright side in difficult situations and focus on that.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate a situation to identify positive outcomes and focus on those rather than the negative side of a situation.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain the positive side of a difficult situation to others.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can articulate a positive perspective to their peers and, while acknowledging challenges, explore them in a positive way.
Step 9
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can come up with ideas for changing difficult situations into positive opportunities.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can actively seek ways to turn challenging or difficult situations into more positive ones.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
In difficult situations, I choose the best way to move forward instead of giving up.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate the challenges in a situation and then continue to make progress in their tasks rather than giving up.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I’m not afraid to take risks where I might make mistakes as I can say how I might learn from them.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can confidently approach risks where they might make mistakes because they know and can explain that they will learn from them.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can assess and manage risks appropriately.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can approach situations that involve risks, and assess and manage those risks appropriately.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can effectively recognise and assess my own negative emotions and take positive actions.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can recognise and assess their emotions and choose an appropriate positive course of action.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can choose appropriate positive actions based on the context and impact they will have on others, when I am feeling negative emotions.
Teacher Explanation
Learners demonstrate awareness of how their emotions and actions impact on others, and choose the best response for different contexts.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can choose appropriate positive actions when I am feeling negative emotions, in unfamiliar contexts, and reflect on the effect of this.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can choose appropriate positive actions for an unfamiliar context, while acknowledging that they are feeling negative emotions.
Aiming High
The ability to set clear, tangible goals + devise a robust route to achieving them.
The first few steps are about effort: learners knowing why it is important to make an effort and what that might look like for them.

In the next stage, learners move into goal planning: being able to set their goals and break down what and how they will achieve them.  

The next progression is learners reflecting and using feedback from others to support achievement of their goals. Moving towards the top end, learners are able to create long-term goals and track effectively how they are moving towards them.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can say when I find something difficult.
Teacher Explanation
Learners will need to identify when something they are doing is difficult and articulate this to an adult.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can tell someone what 'trying my best' means.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can explain what ‘trying my best’ looks like in the context of their own work.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain why it is important to try my best if I’m going to get better.
Teacher Explanation
Learners show pride in their higher achievements and can articulate how it links to effort.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I can try my best and feel proud when I do.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are aware of when they are working at their best, and find this a rewarding experience that they can take pride in.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I look for chances to do something that I might find difficult and ask an adult to set me extra challenges.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can seek out opportunities to give themselves extra challenge to increase their achievements. Teachers will provide learners with an achievable challenge.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can choose goals with some help from my teacher or another adult.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can set a simple goal that is appropriate and achievable, with the support of a teacher or another adult.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can set my own goal that gives me a chance to try something I might find difficult.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to approximately gauge what a stretching goal looks like and define that for themselves.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can order and prioritise different tasks to help me achieve my goal.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can break down simple goals into steps and prioritise those steps to achieve the goal.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can identify and ensure access to appropriate resources to achieve my goals.
Teacher Explanation
Learners understand that they might need other resources (people, funds, tools) to achieve their goals and can identify those needed to achieve a simple goal.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can create a plan to achieve a simple goal, breaking down tasks and securing resources, independently.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can create a simple plan by setting a goal, prioritising tasks and securing resources.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can reflect on my skill set with accuracy and identify opportunities to improve further.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can analyse and justify their own strengths and weaknesses, and come up with sensible ways of developing themselves further.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can motivate myself to work autonomously to fulfil my plans and to achieve SMART targets to reach my goal.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to set SMART targets and apply themselves to seeing through their plans over a period of time.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I seek out feedback, including constructive criticism, to support me in achieving my goals.
Teacher Explanation
Learners seek wider input to achieve their goals and to chart their own progress against their plans, including both compliments and constructive criticism.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can create long term goals, taking into account my own strengths and weaknesses.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate their longer term plans in terms of their own strengths, weaknesses and ambitions.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can set regular milestones to help me reach my long term goals and keep me on track.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can break down their longer-term plans into steps with milestones that keep them on track to achieve their goals.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can modify my milestones and actions to respond to changes.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to incorporate setbacks or changing circumstances into forward planning and make appropriate adaptations to keep them on track for success.
Leadership
Supporting, encouraging and motivating others to achieve a shared goal.
The first few steps are about developing empathy: learners can first describe their own feelings and then those of others. At the next stage, learners develop their ability to support in decision making and ensuring tasks are completed.

From Step 8, learners focus on being able to identify the strengths and interests of the people they are leading, before applying their understanding to effectively motivate their team. In the final steps, learners build their understanding of different leadership styles, their strengths and limitations and how they might be adapted for different scenarios.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I can sometimes describe how I feel.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can sometimes articulate their feelings, in simple terms to a trusted adult.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can describe how I am feeling to my team.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to articulate and explain their feelings in a group situation, working with others.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can describe how my team mates are feeling.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can articulate how other members of their team are feeling, demonstrating a basic level of empathy and perception of others.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I can make sure that everyone has a job and can help team mates when they need me.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can allocate tasks between different team members and are able to identify when their peers might need support or assistance.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I take responsibility for my team mates completing their jobs on time.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can take a leadership role that requires them to divide roles between their peers, and encourage them to complete the tasks effectively.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
I can help my team come to a decision that most people are happy with and finish the task.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can contribute to team discussion to reach a consensus on what actions should be undertaken. Learners are able to then see a simple task through to completion.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I can make decisions to resolve disagreements between team mates.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can resolve disagreements between their peers when they are in a leadership position e.g. by voting.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain my own strengths and weaknesses and how to make my best contribution.
Teacher Explanation
Learners have developed the self-awareness to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and how they can make their best contribution to the group.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain my team mates’ strengths and interests.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to identify and articulate the strengths and interests of others in their teams.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I use my understanding of my team mates’ strengths to help achieve team goals.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to apply, in a basic way, their understanding of peers’ strengths and interests to allocate tasks in a justifiable way between them.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can see when disagreements are developing, and can use strategies to resolve these.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can perceive when disagreements might be developing and can use some basic approaches to resolve these through structured discussion.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain some different ways to motivate my team.
Teacher Explanation
Learners understand the role of motivation in leadership and can explain some basic approaches to motivating their teams.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can adapt the way I motivate my team, depending on the situation.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to judge the appropriate approach to motivating their teams in different situations.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can describe different leadership styles and share which style I think I use and why.
Teacher Explanation
Learners understand that there are different styles of leadership and are able to judge what type of leadership they tend towards e.g. autocratic; democratic etc.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain positive and negative aspects of different leadership styles and am aware of the limitations of the leadership style I tend towards.
Teacher Explanation
Learners understand that leadership styles have positive and negative aspects to them and can outline the negative aspects of their leadership style.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can adapt my leadership style depending on the situation I am in and who I am working with.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can assess a situation, identify which leadership style is most appropriate and adopt that style.
Teamwork
Working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goal.
The initial steps are about understanding why we work in teams before moving to the next stage which explores how learners can become effective team members.

The next stage is all about being a supportive and inclusive team member, focused on how learners can ensure everyone’s ideas are valued.

From Step 9, the developments are about understanding and managing team dynamics to help avoid negative conflict. Finally, learners look at how they can evaluate team performance to help make improvements.
Step 0
(ages 4-7)
Learner Descriptor
I am happy to take turns with other children.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able and willing to take turns with their peers.
Step 1
(ages 5-8)
Learner Descriptor
I can work with other children to do something together.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to make a contribution towards a bigger task as part of a group.
Step 2
(ages 6-9)
Learner Descriptor
I can explain why teams are sometimes better than working by myself.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to articulate why teamwork can be more effective than individual work in some situations.
Step 3
(ages 7-10)
Learner Descriptor
I help with different jobs in my team and take responsibility for finishing my job.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can take on different jobs in their team to complete the team task.
Step 4
(ages 8-11)
Learner Descriptor
I can get on well with my team and find ways to resolve a disagreement.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to address disagreements and disputes in an effective way, and generally work well with others.
Step 5
(ages 9-12)
Learner Descriptor
When I finish my task, I can help others complete their tasks on time too.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can think beyond their own part of a task and actively try to support other team members to complete their jobs.
Step 6
(ages 10-14)
Learner Descriptor
I help my team make decisions and I make my own suggestions.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can contribute to the decision-making process and are willing to put forward their own ideas.
Step 7
(ages 11-15)
Learner Descriptor
I recognise the value of others’ ideas and make useful contributions myself.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can see that their peers will also contribute valuable ideas, and will be willing to compromise to reach a joint decision.
Step 8
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I include all team mates in group discussions and encourage them to contribute.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can see the importance of including all team members in discussions and actively encourage contributions from their peers in their team.
Step 9
(ages 12-16)
Learner Descriptor
I can spot when I might be getting into an argument and take steps to avoid it.
Teacher Explanation
Learners are able to perceive when conflict with their peers might be negative for the team and take steps to avoid it.
Step 10
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can spot when others might be getting into an argument and make suggestions to avoid it.
Teacher Explanation
Learners demonstrate an awareness of the wider team dynamics and work to avoid negative conflict in the team.
Step 11
(ages 13-17)
Learner Descriptor
I can contribute to team meetings in a measured, valuable and concise way.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can make a valuable contribution to team discussions which builds on previous conversations and addresses the particular challenge the team faces.
Step 12
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can reflect on the team’s progress and make suggestions for improvements.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can accurately analyse the performance of the team and suggest improvements.
Step 13
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can reflect and evaluate on the team’s approaches to tasks and carefully influence to get better results.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate a team’s approach, and use their influence to improve a team’s performance and the outcomes of a task.
Step 14
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can evaluate the team leader’s strengths and weaknesses and actively support them when they need me.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can evaluate the performance of a team leader, and actively engage to support the performance of the leader, improving the outcomes for the team.
Step 15
(ages 18+)
Learner Descriptor
I can identify the skills of my team members and explain how we can support each other to improve.
Teacher Explanation
Learners can identify the skills of other team members and are able to give and receive peer feedback focused on improving team performance.

The Skills Builder Principles

We’ve developed and refined our approach to make it easy for teachers, youth workers and students to build essential skills. We have six simple principles - our approach in a nutshell.

1. Keep it simple.
Teachers and students have a lot to think about. We keep language clear and consistent, and follow a simple framework so everyone is on the same page.
2. Start young, keep going.
These are complex, lifelong skills that need time to blossom, so we start from Early Years and keep going. This allows the skills to unlock other learning too.
3. Measure it.
We take tracking progress seriously: it ensures a balanced understanding of strengths and weaknesses, allowing teachers to decide their next steps.
4. Focus tightly.
We make sure to give the skills their own dedicated learning time, otherwise they can quickly be lost in a sea of confusing objectives.
5. Keep practising.
Outside of their dedicated lessons, we support lots of opportunities to apply the skills to different situations. This way, they become genuinely transferable.
6. Bring it to life.
The skills are for use in the real world, so we make those links by taking students out of the classroom and bringing real-life problems and challenges into lessons.

News and awards

Our work has won and been nominated for a number of awards over the years. Here you can also see our work highlighted in the press, along with all the latest news.

Profile: Tom Ravenscroft
Tom Ravenscroft is perhaps the most quietly passionate proponent of a “skills” curriculum in education today – and if that rings alarm bells, keep reading.
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Education must transform to make people ready for AI
We are doubling down on the idea that if we get children to know things and regurgitate them in a certain way in an exam, then we are setting them up...
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Education’s missing piece
Tom Ravenscroft, Founder and CEO of Enabling Enterprise, explains how he is trying to reduce the skills gap. There is something fundamental missing in education. I saw it first hand a decade...
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School reports miss the talents that matter - just look at Alan Turing
The education system can sometimes struggle to cope with lateral thinkers. Learning has become formulaic – a case of regurgitating knowledge in...
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‘The Missing Piece’ book review - Dr. Mary Bousted
Ravenscroft has not only done his research – the sources in his book are wide and varied – but he also wears his learning lightly. The result is a very...
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Start-up success: six lessons for aspiring social entrepreneurs
While it may sound poetic, Enabling Enterprise was not born in a flash of inspiration. Rather it emerged from my desperate attempts as a naïve new business studies teacher to engage...
Read article

Publications

Here you can find our brochures, end-of-year impact reports, and any other major documents we've published or collaborated on.

Our team

Many of our team - and all those working directly with schools - are qualified teachers, operating from our different bases in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

See our job vacancies

Tom
Ravenscroft
Founder & CEO

More

Alice Faulkner
Head of Programmes

Simon Hill
Head of Partnerships

Robert Craig
Head of
Strategy & Operations

Claire Bayley
Regional Manager

Chris Cuckson
Regional Manager

Maryam Ben Rabha
Regional Manager

Richard Hart
Regional Manager

Mike Zatyka
Development Manager

Alison Gale
Senior Associate

Chantelle Scott
Senior Associate for Early Years

Alanna Hume
Innovation Manager

Sarah Ritchie
Curriculum Manager

Samantha George
Senior Associate for Research

Rachel Mowle
Education Associate 

Billy Pretsell
Education Associate

Kathryn Dann
Education Associate

Evelyn Haywood
Education Associate

James Prideaux
Education Associate

Tom Varley
Education Associate

Emma Reay
Education Associate

Alastair Phipps
Associate for Systems and Impact

Simon Camp
Comms Associate

Jana Dubovska
Partnerships and Events Coordinator

Jayces Garello
Finance & Operations Assistant

Stéphane Auberval
Programmes Assistant

Board and Advisors

Charlotte Ravenscroft
Board of Directors

Honor Wilson-Fletcher
Board of Directors

Richard Mallinson
Board of Directors

Tom McErlain
Advisor