Enabling Enterprise, supported by a partnership of over 60 leading skills-building organisations as well as 130 employers and 330 schools, have come together to develop a comprehensive approach to ensure every student builds eight essential skills. The Skills Builder Framework creates a shared language and common approach to ensure that that one day, all children and young people will have the skills needed to succeed in life.
These skills – listening and presenting, problem solving and creativity, staying positive and aiming high, and leadership and teamwork – are increasingly being recognised as an indispensable part of education.
Research released by the Sutton Trust in late 2017 revealed that 97% of teachers consider these skills as or more important than academic qualifications; 94% of employers in the same study agree. But in the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s 2016 survey, fully 50% of employers say these skills are lacking in school leavers.
To close this gap, and building on nearly a decade of work in the sector, the members of the partnership have collaborated and shared their expertise to launch the Skills Builder Framework. It’s a shared, step-by-step approach that makes it easy for teachers, youth workers and employers to teach these skills explicitly. A culmination of four years of learning, the framework has been independently reviewed twice, as well as tried and tested by over 200,000 learners in hundreds of schools and organisations.
Alongside the framework, organisations in the partnership commit to applying the principles that underpin building these skills with rigour.
These include: maintaining a simple focus on the eight skills; starting with children as young as three years old; measuring the skills to see progress; teaching the skills explicitly; allowing time to practise; and link with the world of work to bring the skills to life.
'We need to prepare our young people for a future we do not yet know'
Dr. Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We are entering the days of the fourth industrial revolution and we need to prepare our young people for a future we do not yet know.
“If we think a rounded education is to fill people to the brim with knowledge and assess that with a timed exam, then we are letting our children down."
Lyndsay Watterson, Head Teacher of Queen’s Park High School in Chester, said: ‘The skills set our students apart and are the skills they can evidence at interview beyond the academic. For many of our students, this is the way to open doors for them, let them see beyond their own context.’
Tom Ravenscroft, CEO of Enabling Enterprise, agrees: ‘Too many children and young people are leaving school and further education without the essential skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.
‘We need to teach all children and young people the same set of universally important skills, as we do with literacy and numeracy, to create a shared language and common expectations. By building a partnership of schools, employers and other organisations we hope the Skills Builder Framework will help develop skills that underpin success at every stage of life: unlocking learning while at school, ensuring young people are prepared for the independence of college or university, and empowering them to land their dream job.’
Paul Drechsler, CBI President and Chair of Teach First, said: “Skills Builder gives everyone working with children and young people important guidance on the behaviours and attributes they need to succeed. These eight essential characteristics are the foundation on which to build our next generation. I call on businesses to take these skills, champion them, embrace them, and use them to support their interactions with young people.”
The National Literacy Trust, one of the many organisations that have been piloting the Skills Builder Framework, used it to track student progress on its Key Stage 3 Words for Work programme. Teachers completed a baseline and end-of-programme assessment on five skills, allowing them to see if the programme is having the desired impact on young people’s skills.
Billie Dunne, Words for Work Programme Manager, said: 'As an organisation we invest heavily in the research and evaluation of our programmes. The framework gave us a solution to targeting the specific qualities we wanted to look at.’
Enabling Enterprise (EE) was founded by teachers in 2009, and now works with over 95,000 students nationally. A not-for-profit social enterprise, Enabling Enterprise's vision is to ensure that, one day, every student will leave school with the essential skills to succeed.
Its practical approach and its impact have been recognised by awards from Teach First and Education Investor who named them as “Partnership of the Year” in 2015. In 2017 Enabling Enterprise won Social Enterprise UK's 'Prove it' Social Impact Award.