Minimum core skills

This page covers:

  • What is the minimum core?

  • Support for the minimum core

  • Demonstrating the minimum core

  • Example of embedding English, maths and digital skills 

  • Sustainability

  • Equality, diversity and inclusion

  • 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 within 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.

Besides English, maths, and digital skills, there are other skills which can be embedded within the curriculum. These are known as wider skills and you can find details by scrolling down this page.

NOTE: The minimum core is due to be revised in autumn 2022, when this webpage will also be updated. It applies to all trainee teachers working towards the CET and DET.

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 English, maths and digital skills

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 about 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.

Digital skills

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 technology to support particular learning needs.


This applies to everything you and your learners do, and aims to meet the needs of future generations whilst considering the planet and the environment. You should be able to equip your learners with the knowledge, skills, behaviours, values and attitudes needed to recognise and solve sustainability challenges

Sustainability is about climate change, as well as how to use social structures and social responsibility to promote a good quality of life and economic prosperity for all. You can find out more information from the Education and Training Foundation.

You are probably aware of the terms: reuse; recycle; and reduce waste. These are aspects you might need to demonstrate as part of the Minimum Core. Other terms include: repurpose; regift, repair and rethink.

The United Nations states “Sustainable development requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development.” Take a look at their website to find out more.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

EDI is about promoting the ethics and values of human rights; equality; diversity and inclusion throughout the teaching and learning process. You should be able to recognise and take seriously how inequalities and injustice–poverty; prejudice; discrimination; and violence create trauma, and how they limit life chances. 

The learning environment should support equality; diversity and inclusion, and ensure that lighting; sound; heating and distractions can all support access and inclusiveness. The physical space and seating should enable learners to feel comfortable and safe, and enable them to socially interact and not be socially excluded.

It's also important to know how knowledge and skills can impact on your learners' attainment; destinations; life chances and success in employment, and to keep up with the requirements of equality and human rights and related legislation.

You should appreciate the diversity of people and values in society: that there will always be ignored existing inequality (such as social class) and new and emerging inequalities.

Learning opportunities should be inclusive (noting the difference between inclusion and inclusive) and embedded in practice throughout your subject specialism. 

It's good to use specific EDI related events and celebrations, as well as naturally occurring moments to create discussions within your teaching.

Useful weblinks

The websites are not endorsed by me, they are for your information, and I recommend that you check their legitimacy before agreeing to anything.

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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