From education to employment

The Minimum Core (2022 version)

Ann Gravells

If you are a teacher educator, you will know that all teaching qualifications which are level 4 or above, include the minimum core as part of their learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Did you know that the minimum core changed on 1st September 2022?

The new version of the Minimum Core from the Education and Training Foundation aims to:

  • Clarify the expected minimum level of further education teachers in the relevant areas
  • Emphasise that learners may need to be supported in all these skills for them to achieve their qualification
  • Encourage the development of inclusive practices to meet the needs of all learners
  • Promote collaborative practice between vocational and technical specialists and English, maths, digital skills, sustainability and EDI specialists
  • Provide links to useful reading, resources and CPD activities to support teachers’ own skills and those of their learners.

The minimum core was introduced in 2004 (and revised in 2007 and 2016) to support awarding organisations and teacher education programmes to equip trainee teachers in developing inclusive approaches to addressing the literacy, language, numeracy and ICT needs of their learners. It now also includes sustainability; and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

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

The ETF guidance is in two parts: Part One and Part Two.

Part One details the elements and objectives (what ‘a teacher should’ do – as in the second column in the table) regarding the minimum core.

The Minimum Core elements are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Digital skills
  • Sustainability
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Each element is linked to an objective which defines what a teacher should do, and how they might evidence their knowledge, understanding and skills. These are referenced from A to G for each of the elements, and are in categories (as listed below).

Within each of the elements are the following categories:

  • A  planning your teaching
  • B  approaches to teaching
  • C  supporting learners to develop employability skills
  • D  subject and industry specific teaching
  • E  assessment (and feedback)
  • F  accessibility and inclusion
  • G  self-development.

The elements are areas that every further education teacher should know, understand and be able to use for each category. The objectives can be used as a guide as to how to demonstrate skills and knowledge for each element.

Part Two of the guidance gives examples of approaches and weblinks which can be used to support each of the categories.

See the table (below) for an extract which relates to the element of ‘English’ in the category ‘Approaches to teaching’. 

Minimum Core English: approaches to teaching­­­
ElementA teacher should
B1 Search for and evaluate suitable materials to use with learners and adapt appropriatelyB1 Use strategies to search for and recognise what materials/resources are appropriate for their learner group.
B2 Design, create and adapt inclusive resources and assessment materials to use with learnersB2 Design and create own resources for use in the learning environment suitable for learner group and/or adapt existing resources as appropriate. Recognise and apply copyright laws when creating materials.
B3 Be aware of language and dialect in verbal communicationB3 Have an awareness of their own language and dialect and the impact this can have on all learners especially non-native speakers. Avoid colloquialisms.
B4 Use appropriate format, style, structure, language and tone in written communication with learnersB4 Make explicit key features of text to support learners with the writing process.
B5 Use standard English grammar, spelling and punctuation in written communication with learnersB5 Use upper/lower case appropriately and avoid writing solely in capital letters on the whiteboard, on feedback, on digital resources they produce, etc. Read and spell correctly key terminology.
B6 Use appropriate vocabularyB6 Explain course/industry related/specialist jargon being used.
B7 Use clear instructions and confidently present/explain/describe information to learners in a range of waysB7 Use very clear instructions in a variety of ways (e.g. written and verbal) and check how well the information has been received. Adapt teaching to the level, needs and prior knowledge of the learners.
B8 Promote learner independence to developing English skillsB8 Encourage learners to develop a range of strategies to support their English skills. For example, ask learners to keep a course glossary/contribute to a group online course glossary to explain key terminology in context.
B9 Use appropriate tools to support the development of English skillsB9 Recognise the importance of dictionaries/digital devices to help explain and/or translate unfamiliar terminology.
B10 Model effective communication skills and support learners to communicate effectively  B10 Use non-verbal techniques to help convey meaning. Explain conventions of active listening and responding during discussions.
B11 Support learners to produce effective written workB11 Identify different stages of production of written work and explain the importance of this. Provide models of different texts, where appropriate, and their purpose in different contexts. Support with spelling – identify significant features of English spelling.
B12 Support learners to read a variety of course/technical textsB12 Explain how to guide learners to read different text types especially when unfamiliar. Explain importance of reading in context. Explain a range of different reading strategies (e.g. skimming, scanning, detailed and critical reading).

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

By Ann Gravells, Education and training author

Please check out my website for further information regarding the minimum core, weblinks and downloadable resources:

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