An image of the Eight Essential Skill icons. Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

Prepare your secondary students for the future

These are the skills young people need to succeed in education and beyond into employment. Working with the Skills Builder Partnership supports your careers strategy, providing engaging resources for building essential employability skills.
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An image of the front cover of the Educators Toolkit.

Educators Toolkit

This free toolkit shares the Skills Builder Universal Framework, which breaks each essential skill down into teachable, learnable steps.
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The work being covered here is ground breaking. The best part is teachers begin to see it as part of the students' learning process.

Skills Leader at secondary level in London

Join a movement around essential skills

We're bringing educators, employer and impact organisations together to support everyone to build the essential skills for success.

schools and colleges
organisations and employers

Transform essential skills

The Skills Builder Universal Framework provides the national standard for teaching essential skills. It breaks each skill into steps, supporting progress for students of all ages and abilities - including those with special educational needs.

The Skills Builder Universal Framework.

Achieve long-lasting change

Refined over a decade, the Skills Builder Principles underpin a rigorous approach to building essential skills and will form the basis of your strategy. Your success embedding these Principles will be recognised with a Skills Builder Award.

The Six Principles. Keep it Simple. Start young, keep going. Measure it. Focus tightly. Keep Practicing. Bring it to life.

The resources are easy to use and allow staff to make clear progress assessments for the students.

Skills Leader at secondary level in Kent

Three ways to join the Skills Builder Partnership

Individual teacher
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Start building skills for free with your own group of students
Create your free account on the Skills Builder Hub
Access 300+ Short Lessons and a suite of supporting resources
Add and assess multiple groups, and see impact over time
Digital Membership
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Unlock Premium Resources to inspire students across multiple cohorts
Access Challenge Days and extended Projects via the Skills Builder Hub
Add and manage multiple teachers and their classes
Download assessment data and track progress over time
Accelerator Programme
Find out more
Embed a strategic approach with support on our flagship programme
Join a national network of 400+ Skills Leaders
Work closely with our team of teachers on strategy and training
Achieve the Skills Builder Award for high quality provision

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The leaders 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 at secondary level in Warwickshire

See how other Secondary schools are building essential skills

Ash Manor School

Ash Manor School

Secondary School
Surrey, UK

Ash Manor has only been working with Skills Builder since 2020 but have already made lots of progress. They have introduced the essential skills to their learners in line with whole-school priorities to provide opportunity to build skills for the workplace. They have introduced the programme for Years 8, 9 and 10.

Focus tightly

It’s been helpful for staff and students to have a clear focus on what needs to be learnt next. This year, Years 8 and 9 are focussing explicitly on Speaking and Listening whilst Year 10 are focussing on Aiming High. Form tutors use the Short Lessons for these skills to open up discussion and build these skills regularly.

Year 8 Challenge Day

Year 8 are going to run Operation Moonbase, which will be the perfect opportunity to apply those same Speaking and Listening skills to a specific set of “real-world” problems. While the challenge is about setting up a society on a distant moon, across the day the students become recruiters, town planners and politicians to design their dream society.

Highlighting transferability

The Skills Leader at Ash Manor is joining up the journey for the students who might take part in lots of different extracurricular activities. Provision like the Duke of Edinburgh now makes explicit links to the essential skills. This way, students recognise the many different areas they practise and strengthen their essential skills in.

Great Western Academy

Great Western Academy

Secondary School
Swindon, UK

As a newly established academy, GWA wrote skills development into its development plan from the very beginning and continues to strive to embed the Skills Builder Principles into its approach.

Right from the start we gave teachers packs of posters and resources to help them embed the language.
David Clarke, Assistant Principal

Embedding the Skills

GWA sought to make essential skills education central to its mission and curriculum intent from the moment it was opened. The Academy linked this focus to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework’s Quality of Education judgement and identified a key governor who would include a focus on essential skills during lesson observations, book reviews and student panel discussion groups.  

Curriculum statements

At GWA there is an expectation that all departments include teaching of essential skills in their Schemes of Learning and Curriculum Statements. Before the Academy opened, Skills Builder training and resources were provided to teachers to ensure the language was being used from the start.

Keep Practising

All GWA students are involved in enrichment activities from Monday to Thursday every week. Sessions are planned in such a way as to ensure there are multiple opportunities for students to practise their essential skills. Each student has an Enrichment Booklet, which references those skills.

Highgate Wood

Highgate Wood

Secondary School
London, UK

Highgate Wood Secondary School have been working with Skills Builder since 2018. They have used Skills Builder to support their careers strategy.

Skills Builder is central to our skills curriculum and we have built positive relationships to take the program forward.
Nick, Careers Lead

Careers strategy

Highgate Wood have integrated the eight essential skills into their career planning for Year 7 to Year 10 by mapping the steps from the Skills Builder Universal Framework to the different activities in each year group.  

Applying skills

Each year group has the opportunity to apply their skills on a dedicated drop-down day, using the Skills Builder Challenge Days. The stand-alone days provide a memorable experience for students, but by using the same eight essential skills the students are better able to join up the dots between these special days and the rest of their learning.

Sustainable strategies

The Skills Leader at Highgate Wood sees Skills Builder as a key component of ensuring that students develop employability. Over time, the skills are becoming more embedded across the school, using careers hook for why these skills are important. The teacher training sessions are used to widen the reach of the programme.

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Secondary School
Sheffield, UK

UTC OLP is a 13-19 school, specialising in Health Sciences, Sport Science and Computing. The school provides an integrated academic and vocational curriculum. They joined the Accelerator in September 2020 to teach essential employability skills alongside their core curriculum.

Our reward system has been revised to encompass the eight essential skills.
Kieran Loftus, Vice Principal

Maximising form time

Teacher training sessions have supported teachers to understand what resources are available and how to access them. The eight essential skills have since been introduced and regularly taught during the Form Tutor Programme. UTC OLP have devised a cycle where a new skill is introduced every two weeks so there is time to focus.

Reward Assemblies

UTC OLP are celebrating student success in essential skills by revising the school reward to encompass the eight essential skills. Students are encouraged to recognise essential skills across the curriculum. Reward slips are given to students in lessons and recorded in iSAMS, then achievements are recognised in the end-of-term Reward Assembly.

Social Media

Communication of their work is important to the school and social media is being used to update parents and students about the skill focus in school. Skills Builder logos and explanations are used to communicate the importance of each focus skill to specific careers.

Hornsey School for Girls

Hornsey School for Girls

Secondary School
London, UK

Since 2018, Hornsey School for Girls has been working on a strategic approach to building essential skills. They recognise that in a rapidly changing world, equipping students with essential skills is the best way to empower them in any career.

"If you’re a teacher, you can see the benefit immediately… A name for each skill and a way of demonstrating and assessing its use makes all the difference."
Chimene Peddie, Skills Leader & Head of Enterprise

Integrated curriculum

The school has a three-year plan for embedding skills and careers experiences, allowing them track progress. Essential skills have been integrated into tutor time, where staff deliver aspects of the PSHE curriculum. Department leads are also building essential skills teaching into their subject.

Use of resources

All teaching staff have been introduced to the plan and resources, including what best practice looks like. Teachers use short activities from the Skills Builder Hub, which require minimal preparation and encourage reflection. Wall displays are prominent, and teachers highlight and reward students applying skills, like great Leadership and effective Problem Solving.

Engaging experiences

A common language around skill development with students, teachers and external visitors. In conjunction with the school’s focus on STEM and meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks, they bring skills to life with Challenge Days, and inspiring Trips to local employers - as well as organising for professionals to speak to students about their journey and how they use essential skills every day.


Ensure accessible skill development for all your learners

The Skills Builder Expanded Framework provides further scaffolding to make building essential skills accessible for all learners, including those with additional needs.
Learn more