Minimum core skills

This page covers:

  • What is the minimum core?

  • Support for the minimum core

  • Demonstrating the minimum core

  • Example of embedding the minimum core 

  • Useful weblinks

  • Minimum core resources for immediate download

What is the minimum core?

All teachers should have a knowledge and understanding of literacy, language, numeracy, and information and communication technology (ICT) skills. 

These are known as the minimum core skills and are embedded in the teaching qualifications. However, they are often now referred to as English, maths, and digital skills. They were originally produced by Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), the Sector Skills Council for Lifelong Learning, in 2007. LLUK no longer exists, but the minimum core skills have remained a part of the teacher education programmes. The Education and Training Foundation now has the responsibility for updating them.

Demonstrating proficiency of the minimum core skills will help to ensure that you carry out your role professionally, and support your learners adequately with their own skills in these areas. 

Support for the minimum core

  • Reading lists for the minimum core can be found by clicking here.

  • Resources to support teachers and learners of the teaching qualifications can be found by clicking here

  • Videos can be seen by clicking here.

  • Scroll to the end of this page for downloadable minimum core resources.

  • An online module regarding the minimum core is available Ref T/19.

  • A free guide from the Education and Training Foundation: Minimum Core Guidance (2016) can be accessed here

The following text is adapted from the book in the picture.

Demonstrating the minimum core

If you are taking a teaching qualification, for example the Certificate or Diploma in Education and Training, you are required to demonstrate the minimum core skills throughout your teaching practice. 

If you wish to apply for QTLS status, you will need to evidence your literacy and numeracy skills to at least level two.    

However, the minimum core should really apply to everyone, not just those taking a teaching qualification or applying for QTLS status.

All trainers, assessors and anyone who supports the teaching, learning and assessment process should ideally be proficient in the minimum core skills.

Some ways of demonstrating the four minimum core skills include:

  • Literacy – reading, writing, checking spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax of own and learners’ work

  • Language – speaking and listening

  • Numeracy – carrying out calculations, interpretations, evaluations and measurements

  • ICT – using: e-learning activities, a virtual learning environment (VLE), e-mails, apps, video conferencing, digital devices, software and computer programs.

Developing and improving your minimum core skills will enable you to consider how to best teach your subject in ways that also support the development of your learners’ skills in these areas.

You may need to be prepared to meet the needs of your learners whose levels of literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills might otherwise jeopardise or hinder their learning. You can read about embedding these skills during your sessions here.

As a teacher, trainer and/or assessor, you need to ensure your own skills are adequate, to help improve those of your learners. For example, you might encourage your learners to use various aspects of new technology, but not feel confident at using them yourself. You might like to take additional training, for example, if your computer skills need further development or you feel your spelling and grammar need improving. The FELTAG Report Paths forward to a digital future for Further Education and Skills (2014) recommended an increase in the use of technology. When teaching, your learners will trust and believe you, for example, if you are spelling words wrongly in a handout or a presentation, your learners might think the spelling is correct, just because you are their teacher. There are some links towards the end of this article which you might find helpful.

Scroll to the end of this page for a downloadable minimum core handout and checklist. 

Example of embedding the minimum core

Here is an example taken from my book: Principles and Practices of Teaching and Training (the book in the picture at the top of this page).

This example is regarding demonstrating the minimum core skills when planning to meet the needs of learners in education and training.


Reading relevant internal and external guidance to ascertain the requirements for initial and diagnostic assessment. Reading the qualification specification and making notes regarding what will be taught and assessed. Completing templates and forms, checking spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax.


Speaking to learners about their individual needs. Asking questions to ascertain a learner’s prior knowledge and experience, and listening to their responses. Listening to questions and answering them appropriately.


Calculating how long initial and diagnostic assessment activities will take, and the time it will take to ascertain and interpret the results. Working out how many sessions and hours will be required when devising a scheme of work. Planning how long various teaching, learning and assessment activities will take during sessions.


Preparing online materials and uploading them to a virtual learning environment (VLE) or other accessible online system. Using a word processor or other application to create handouts and resources. Devising electronic presentations and resources. Using e-mail or social networking to communicate appropriately. Using new technology to support particular learning needs.

Useful weblinks

Do check out these tips for finding a legitimate provider before you sign up for a course.

Please contact me if any of these links no longer work.

Minimum core resources available for immediate download

Minimum core personal skills checklist (£2.00)

(Ref ATMC01)

A comprehensive 3 page checklist containing all the personal skills which a teacher (who is working towards the Certificate or Diploma/Cert Ed/PGCE) must demonstrate for literacy, language, numeracy and ICT.

This document is in Word to enable text to be added easily and is available for immediate download. It is based on the requirements in Part B of the ETF document at this link.    

Handout - The minimum core (£2.50) 
(Ref Z9H01)

12 pages covering:
· What is the minimum core?  · Demonstrating the minimum core  ·  Evidencing the minimum core when planning, delivering, assessing and using resources (lots of examples of how to achieve and evidence each aspect to the four areas of: literacy; language; numeracy; and ICT) · Improving personal skills · Reading list · Website list

  • Reading lists for the minimum core can be found by clicking here.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of the teaching qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos can be seen by clicking here.

  • More resources are available,

    click here for details. 

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