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Fair Education Alliance backs essential skills

Following the result of the General Election, the Fair Education Alliance (FEA) has published a new report Fair Education in 2024: Priorities for a New Government. The FEA brings together more than 250 education bodies across England to champion policies and approaches to make education more inclusive and equitable, and Skills Builder Partnership is a proud founding member.

We welcome this new report drawing on cross-sector practice happening right now, and the scalable solutions FEA provides for this new government to create a fairer education system. 

The report is clear that ensuring every child and young person hones their essential skills through the curriculum and a broad co-curricular offer is paramount. It backs the Skills Builder Universal Framework, already used by dozens of FEA members, as the shared model to make that happen.

Strengthening the case for essential skills

The FEA calls for an education system that prepares every child and young person to thrive in work and life, evidencing the transformative impact of building essential skills including communication, collaborative, critical and creative thinking, and self-management because:

  • These skills are in demand from employers, and projected to be more so in the future
  • They are helpful for adapting to new contexts and remaining resilient in the face of unexpected change, and they will be increasingly important in the future. 
  • Regardless of social advantage, without strong basic and essential skills, individuals will not experience the benefits of a “good” education
  • Young people from low-income households are less likely to access opportunities to build these skills such as extra-curricular activities 
  • Without building essential skills, individuals starting from a position of disadvantage do not manage to break out of a cycle of low education, basic skills, and essential skills
  • Essential skills help young people to realise the benefits of academic learning.

The new FEA report aligns with our own recommendations for a national model that explicitly develops essential skills as a critical part of a good 4-19 education. 

The FEA urges the government to build essential skills and physical and emotional health alongside academic and foundational skills and to adopt the Skills Builder Universal Framework to align goals and articulate progress.

This means the government taking action to integrate essential skills into the curriculum for their explicit teaching. It also means ensuring that every child and young person has access to experiences and activities known to build essential skills 

Growing calls to action

Strong evidence is growing, highlighting the robust impact these skills have on individuals' lives and future prospects. This evidence is further supported by hundreds of organisations already actively building essential skills and the growing number of reports and manifestos calling for essential skills in education from organisations such as The Entrepreneurs Network, ICAEW, NFER, Skills 2030 commission, IoD, NCS, Careers & Enterprise Company, and in LSIPs and Chambers of Commerce across the country.  

Skills Builder Partnership with its 900 partners representing all sections of the education and employment landscape have 15 years of experience in building the essential skills needed for children and young people to thrive in their lives. 

We are also calling on government to make the policy changes required to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to build the essential skills to succeed. 

Tomorrow, Wednesday 10 July, we launch our paper for policymakers, outlining a blueprint for building essential skills at scale, going into the detail of how we can realise this shared ambition together.


We welcome this growing call for action to make essential skills a core part of a good education for every child and young person, and look forward to working together to seize the opportunity.