By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
A teacher encourages her student as he writes his name on a whiteboard to practice his spelling

Accelerator for Special Schools and Specialist Settings

2024-25

Apply

Apply early!
Get optional early access to training before this summer

Early Bird deadline:
Apply by 23 February to start the programme in March

Round 1 deadline:
Apply by 29 March to start the programme in April

Round 2 Deadline:
Apply by 24 May to start the programme in June

Round 3 Deadline:
Apply by 5 July to start the programme in September

Cost

£2,300 (200 fully-funded places available)

A map of schools in the UK that are on the Accelerator Programme

The Skills Builder Accelerator is the flagship programme for specialist settings. You nominate a ‘Skills Leader’ and a member of the senior leadership team to work closely with us. Together, we’ll develop a complete strategy for achieving excellence in building learners’ essential skills. At its core, the programme will upskill staff, including on how to best use our online resources and assessment tools.

At the end of the first year, you’ll have a sustainable, long-term plan, a team of confident teachers, demonstrable progress in line with individual needs and a Skills Builder Award.

Check my eligibility

We fundraise over £500,000 to create 200 fully-funded places on the Accelerator each year. Anyone can apply to join the programme, and you might be eligible to apply for a funded place.

A classroom of students are quietly concentrating on their writing. A teacher is kneeled down with their student to provide advice.

Teacher confidence

95% of Skills Leaders report impact in the first term on teachers’ confidence building essential skills
Two friends work side-by-side in an arts & crafts class, practicing their Creativity skills.

Learner Progress

Skill progress led by the individual needs of each learner
A teacher addresses their students - the class environment is casual and relaxed.

Demonstrable Impact

Achieving the Skills Builder Award demonstrates an excellent standard of essential skills teaching

What Secondary Skills Leaders say about the (Skills Builder) Accelerator

Truly amazing and inspirational to collaborate with other leaders, hear their successes and how they have overcome challenges

Skills Leader

It is, at heart, an inspiring concept that prompts better practice and therefore student outcomes.

Careers Leader

I'm developing a bespoke strategy that is manageable but also has impact - best of both worlds!

Skills Leader

It wasn’t until we really started the programme that we realised it’s what we’ve always been looking for.

Skills Leader

The programme can really tap into some of those talents,  aptitudes and skills that we may not see in the delivery of the regular curriculum.

Headteacher

The Skills Leader training has been very effective. The fact that we are going for an award makes us focus more and put actions in place to achieve.

Skills Leader

What Specialist Skills Leaders say about the (Skills Builder) Accelerator

Truly amazing and inspirational to collaborate with other leaders, hear their successes and how they have overcome challenges

Skills Leader

It is, at heart, an inspiring concept that prompts better practice and therefore student outcomes.

Careers Leader

I'm developing a bespoke strategy that is manageable but also has impact - best of both worlds!

Skills Leader

It wasn’t until we really started the programme that we realised it’s what we’ve always been looking for.

Skills Leader

The programme can really tap into some of those talents, aptitudes and skills that we may not see in the delivery of the regular curriculum.

Headteacher

It is easy to engage teachers when everything is there at the click of the button

Skills Leader

What College Leaders say about the (Skills Builder) Accelerator

I enjoyed that it had lots of breakout rooms with my own colleagues and leaders from other colleges and schools too.

Headteacher

It was fab to hear an adult learner recounting his delight at going into his placement school and realising they were a Skills Builder school!

Skills Leader, Solihull College

 It was perfect. Really good balance between instruction and activity. Great way to introduce all the platforms.

Skills Leader

The trainer was really engaging and passionate about it. I can clearly see how this programme will benefit our setting.

Careers Leader

Very well organised, knowledgeable, confident and positive facilitators and supportive discussion and reflection time.

Skills Leader

What Primary Skills Leaders say about the (Skills Builder) Accelerator

Skills Builder has become an inextricable part of our school's identity

Headteacher

I'm developing a bespoke strategy that is manageable but also has impact - best of both worlds!

Skills Leader

It wasn’t until we really started the programme that we realised it’s what we’ve always been looking for.

Skills Leader

The programme can really tap into some of those talents, aptitudes and skills that we may not see in the delivery of the regular curriculum.

Headteacher

I’ve found the CPD opportunities really, really helpful. Particularly around leading change, changing the culture of the school, and supporting colleagues… I feel well supported to make any changes.

Skills Leader

Accelerator overview

The eight Essential Skill icons: Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership, and Teamwork.

What is the Accelerator Programme? 

The Accelerator is a year-long training and development programme. 

At the end of the first year you will have:

  • An expert lead practitioner known as your ‘Skills Leader’
  • A team of confident trained teachers
  • Demonstrable learner progress in eight essential skills
  • A Skills Builder Award in recognition of best practice 

How does the Accelerator programme work? 

Places are limited. You’ll join a cohort of just 200 UK schools. We’ll match you with a dedicated Skills Builder Education Associate who is a qualified teacher. Your programme will include Skills Leader and teacher training, peer learning opportunities, planning meetings, and a complete curriculum and assessment model for your learners. Plus access to a suite of online assessment tools and engaging resources that can be used to best meet the needs of your learners.

What could you do on an Accelerator programme?

Specialist settings utilise the programme to support existing curriculum plans, careers related learning strategies and school priorities. 

Skills Builder, at its best, is embedded throughout your ethos and practices: policies, staff training, the curriculum, assemblies, and so on. But that can take time, here are some ways others have got started. You might: 

  • Use ready made, easy to access assemblies, posters and visual aids to introduce the skills with students. Start to use the icons in powerpoints to demonstrate to students when they are practising skills
  • Use the Expanded Framework to structure your life skills lessons, helping learners apply the skills to everyday tasks
  • Link the skills to your existing projects, or use project-based learning resources from the Skills Builder Hub to explicitly teach and practise the essential skills
  • Set individual skill and step targets for learners in support plans, and communicate the next steps with parents/carers during review meetings
  • Target specific groups of learners as a pilot group
  • Include the skills within your current Preparation for Adulthood provision
  • Embed the skills into your setting’s existing reward policy, recognising and rewarding the application of essential skills using stickers, certificates and badges.
Click on each of the Accelerator elements to find out more.
Scroll right to see the whole journey, then tap on each of the elements to learn more.
TERM 1
TERM 2
TERM 3
Touchpoints with Skills Builder
Skills Leader Training Days
Skills Leader Training Day 1
Skills Leader Training Day 2
Planning Meetings
Strategy Meeting 1
Strategy Meeting 2
Strategy Meeting 3
Teacher Training Sessions
Teacher Training Session 1
Teacher Training Session 2
Online all-through support
Premium Resources
Online Tools & Resources
Peer Learning & Events
Early Bird deadline:
23 February 2024
Round 1 deadline:
29 March 2024
Round 2 deadline:
24 May 2024
Round 3 deadline:
5 July 2024
1
Register interest
Get the prospectus, tips on applying and latest updates on funded places in your area - click here
2
Speak to us
Pick a time to preview the programme and ask your questions
3
Send us an email
Still have questions? Email us at accelerator@skillsbuilder.org and we will be in touch

Programme

How much time do I need to commit to the programme?
Should I be the Skills Leader?
Who do Skills Builder work with already?

Applications

How do I apply for the Skills Builder Accelerator programme?
What makes a successful Accelerator application?
What happens if my application is successful?
What happens if my application is unsuccessful?

Eligibility

How much does it cost, and am I eligible to apply for a funded place?
I am at an independent college, can I apply?
I am not in the UK, can I apply?

Implementation

How can this fit with the other priorities in my college?
Do I need to teach all eight skills?
Our curriculum is already full. How can this fit in with our timetable?
Where should we start? Tutor time or across the curriculum?
Which department should I do this with?
We’re preparing for Ofsted – how does this fit in?

Learners

Are resources appropriate for older learners?

Careers

How would our careers/work experience curriculum be enhanced by the programme?
We already use a careers management platform. How will this align with that?
Will using Skills Builder help me achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks?

Programme

How much time do I need to commit to the programme?
Should I be the Skills Leader?
Who do Skills Builder work with already?

Applications

How do I apply for the Skills Builder Accelerator programme?
What makes a successful Accelerator application?
What happens if my application is successful?
What happens if my application is unsuccessful?

Eligibility

How much does it cost, and am I eligible to apply for a funded place?
I am at an independent school, can I apply?
I am not in the UK, can I apply?

Implementation

How can this fit with the other priorities in my school?
Do I need to teach all eight skills?
Our curriculum is already full. How can this fit in with our timetable?
Where should we start? Tutor time or across the curriculum?
Can it work with vertical tutor groups?
Can I start with one year group?
Which department should I do this with?
We’re preparing for Ofsted – how does this fit in?
How can we communicate with and involve parents?

Students

Is this suitable for KS3 all the way through to KS5? Are resources appropriate for older learners - such as sixth-form students?

Careers

How would our careers/work experience curriculum be enhanced by the programme?
We already use a careers management platform. How will this align with that?
Will using Skills Builder help me achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks?

Programme

How much time do I need to commit to the programme?
Should I be the Skills Leader?
Who do Skills Builder work with already?

Applications

How do I apply for the Skills Builder Accelerator programme?
What makes a successful Accelerator application?
What happens if my application is successful?
What happens if my application is unsuccessful?

Eligibility

How much does it cost, and am I eligible to apply for a funded place?
I am at an independent school, can I apply?
I am not in the UK, can I apply?

Implementation

How can this fit with the other priorities in my setting?
Do I need to teach all eight skills?
Our curriculum is already full. How can this fit in with our timetable?
Where should we start?
We’re preparing for Ofsted – how does this fit in?
How can we communicate with and involve parents?
We are spread across more than one base. Do we have to do it with everyone?

SEND Learners

Are the resources appropriate for learners with SEND?
How does this support preparation for adulthood?
What will progress look like for children with SEND?
How can we assess our students against their skills?
How do you make resources accessible for learners with SEND?
Can resources be adapted to suit our SEND learners’ needs?
Is there a level of literacy/reading age required for learners to access the framework?
Is Skills Builder appropriate for PMLD and autistic students?

Careers

Lots of my learners may not ever enter the world of work, how is it relevant to them?

Programme

How much time do I need to commit to the programme
Should I be the Skills Leader?
Who do Skills Builder work with already?

Applications

How do I apply for the Skills Builder Accelerator programme?
What makes a successful Accelerator application?
What happens if my application is successful?
What happens if my application is unsuccessful?

Eligibility

How much does it cost, and am I eligible to apply for a funded place?
I am at an independent school, can I apply?
I am not in the UK, can I apply?

Implementation

How can this fit with the other priorities in my school?
Do I need to teach all eight skills?
How can Skills Builder support EYFS skills progression and key stage one pupils?
We use a values-based education approach. How might Skills Builder support what we’re already doing?
How can this fit in with project-based learning?
Can we tailor this to our school’s academic calendar of events, such as focus days and weeks?
We’re preparing for Ofsted – how does this fit in?
How can we communicate with and involve parents?
Is there a particular subject that Skills Builder has to be used in?

Pupils

Is there a particular key stage that this would be most suitable for?
Can my pupils self-assess online?
The Skills Builder Bronze Award
Recognises specialist settings who are making a commitment to building essential skills. Some teachers will be using the Universal Framework with some learners
The Skills Builder Silver Award
Recognises specialist settings who are embedding the 6 Skills Builder Principles. Majority of teachers will be building essential skills across the curriculum
The Skills Builder Gold Award
Recognises specialist settings who model exceptional practice across the institution. All teachers will confidently integrate essential skills into daily practice

What is the Skills Builder Award?

  • The goal is to equip your learners with the essential skills they need to succeed in their next steps
  • The Skills Builder Award recognises specialist settings who are delivering high-quality essential skills education at a Bronze, Silver and Gold standard.
  • You will achieve an Award by embedding principles of best practice outlined in the Award Guide.
  • You will work closely with your Education Associate in three Planning Meetings to develop and implement a manageable, long-term plan.
  • Awards are dated for three years and reviewed annually by our team.
 

Undershaw School

“We firmly believe that if we can equip a young person with these crucial life skills through their journey with us, they will springboard from Undershaw into independent adulthood with confidence.”

Leilah Sheridan
Head of Employability and Life Skills, Undershaw

Essential skills are threaded through the taught curriculum from Key Stage 2 to Post 16. There is allocated time on the timetable to develop essential skills, including weekly Discovery Days. Their AQA accredited Undershaw Diploma uses the Skills Builder Universal Framework. Students practice their essential skills as a matter of course throughout their day.

Read Undershaw School’s Case Study here.

United Kingdom
North West England
Primary
Culcheth Community Primary School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Yorkshire and the Humber
Primary
Co-op Academy Woodlands
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North East England
Primary
Central & Bothal Primary Schools
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
West Midlands
Primary
Knutton St Marys CofE Academy
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
East of England
Primary
Dale Hall Community Primary School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Yorkshire and the Humber
Primary
Co-op Academy Princeville
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
South East England
Secondary
Brune Park Community School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North East England
Secondary
Hexham Middle School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North West England
Secondary
Morecambe Bay Academy
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Greater London
Secondary
Oaks Park High School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North West England
Secondary
Penketh High School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North West England
Secondary
Pioneer House High School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Yorkshire and the Humber
Special
Craven Pupil Referral Service
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
South East England
Special
Bradfields Academy
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North West England
Special
Hillside Specialist School and College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
West Midlands
Special
James Brindley School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
South East England
Special
Cleeve Meadow School
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
East Midlands
Special
Maplefields Academy
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
North East England
16 plus
Newcastle College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
South East England
College
LINK19 College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
West Midlands
16 plus
Newfriars College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
East Midlands
College
Grantham College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Greater London
16 plus
Newham College of Further Education
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london
United Kingdom
Greater London
16 plus
Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College
scotland
northern-ireland
wales
north-east
north-west
yorkshire-and-the-humber
west-midlands
east-midlands
south-west
east
south-east
prim
secondary
colleges
special
gold
silver
bronze
alternative
greater-london

Skills Builder Partnership

The Skills Builder Partnership brings together 900+ education institutions, employers and leading organisations around a common approach to building eight essential skills. Central to our approach is our rigorous progression framework, a set of underlying principles and a complete suite of tools and teaching materials.

An image displaying our Collective Impact Partners. Organisations in this list include: The Adecco Group, Allen & Overy, Argent, Baker McKenzie, Birmingham Airport, BP, CIPD, Coast to Capital, East Sussex Careers Hub, Edge Foundation, Ednovators, Four acre trust, Gatsby, Heathrow Airport, hepp-SY, Higgins Partnerships, HS2, KPMG, LGT Wealth Management, Linklater’s, Lloyds Bank, London Stock Exchange Group, Network Rail, Oliver Bonas, Places for People, the Rural Payments Agency, Savannah Wisdom, Sir James Knott Trust, The Guinness Partnership, UBS, Wates, and Wembley Park.

The Skills Builder Framework

The Skills Builder Universal Framework is the national standard for teaching essential skills. It breaks each skill into teachable steps, supporting progress for all ages and abilities - including those with special educational needs. The Universal Framework was developed by Skills Builder with the Careers and Enterprise Company, Gatsby Foundation, Business in the Community, EY Foundation, CIPD and the CBI.

The Skills Builder Principles 

Refined over a decade, the Skills Builder Principles outline best practice in teaching essential skills for learning and life. The six principles will form the basis of your strategy, and your success in embedding them will be recognised with the Skills Builder Award.

The Six Principles: Keep it simple, Start early & keep going, Measure it, Focus closely, Keep practicing, And bring it to life.