I've discussed the minimum core in a previous article. However, I felt it would be useful to revisit it, since it is specifically included in the teaching qualifications. Details of the documents to support the delivery and assessment of the minimum core are listed at the end of this article.

The minimum core consists of four elements:

  • literacy
  • language
  • numeracy
  • information and communication technology (ICT).

If you are working towards a teaching qualification in the FE and skills sector, these core elements are the minimum which should be demonstrated as part of your role to at least level 2. It's good practice to demonstrate them, even if you are not working towards a teaching qualification. This will enable you to support your learners with their skills in these areas. It will also ensure you teach your area of specialism as effectively as possible.

The minimum core skills consist of Part A: knowledge and understanding and Part B: personal skills. This is due to the referencing of the sections in the document within which they are listed.

The knowledge and understanding aspects should be taught as part of the teaching qualification you are taking. The personal skills are those you will be required to demonstrate during your teaching practice, and will enable you to effectively fulfil your role as a professional teacher.

When planning and delivering your sessions, consider how you will demonstrate the four elements. Also consider which aspects you want your learners to demonstrate, for example, the use of language when they are writing. When reviewing learners' work, you could comment on any errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation to help them to improve. This is demonstrating your own skills and also helping your learners to improve. If you don't point any errors out, learners might never know any different.

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The minimum core aims to:

  • promote an understanding that underpinning literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills may be needed for learners to succeed and achieve their chosen qualification
  • encourage the development of inclusive practices to addressing the literacy, language, numeracy and ICT needs of learners
  • raise awareness of the benefits to learners of developing embedded approaches to teaching, learning and assessment of English, maths and ICT
  • provide signposts to useful materials which will support collaborative working with specialist teachers of literacy, language, numeracy and ICT in understanding how to integrate these skills within other areas of specialism (LLUK 2007 page 6)*.


Developing and improving your skills in the four elements will enable you to consider how to best teach your subject in ways that also support the development of your learners' skills. You 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 therefore need to ensure your own skills are adequate, to help improve those of your learners. For example, you might encourage your learners to use a particular online learning programme, but not feel confident at using it yourself.

If you took the Award in Education and Training, you would have already embedded English, maths, and ICT skills within your teaching, and therefore be familiar at enabling your learners to demonstrate these skills.

Some examples of embedding elements of the four skills into your sessions are:

  • Literacy – reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax
  • Language – speaking, listening, role play, interviews
  • Numeracy – calculations, interpretations, evaluations, measurements
  • ICT – online learning, e-learning, word processing, use of a virtual learning environment (VLE), use of social media, e-mails, using new technology, video conferencing.


You might like to take additional learning programmes if, for example, your computer skills need further development or you feel your spelling and grammar need to be improved. When you are teaching, your learners will want to trust and believe you. If you spell words incorrectly in a handout or a presentation, your learners will think the spelling is correct because you are their teacher, and they believe what you say and do.

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Further information

Minimum core information and text books: http://www.anngravells.co.uk/minimumcore.html

* LSIS (2007, revised 2013) Addressing literacy, language, numeracy and ICT needs in education and training: Defining the minimum core of teachers' knowledge, understanding and personal skills – A guide for initial teacher education programmes Coventry LSIS
http://repository.excellencegateway.org.uk/fedora/objects/import-pdf:93/datastreams/PDF/content

* A companion guide: Inclusive learning approaches for literacy, language, numeracy and ICT (2007) is available at:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/LLUK-00680-2007.pdf

(If the above link doesn't work, copy and paste it into a browser)


Ann Gravells
 is an author, creator of teacher training resources and an education consultant - she can be contacted via her website: 
www.anngravells.co.uk

This article is copyright Ann Gravells - the next article from her will be: Questioning techniques

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