At St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School, it has never been more important to build a set of essential skills to succeed in life for our children. The ability to creatively solve problems, to self-manage, to communicate effectively, and to work well with others. These are skills that are needed to do almost anything well. The need for these skills is clear, but there is still a gap – too many children do not build these skills to the level they need, and so miss out on opportunities to thrive in other parts of their lives. Too often this is an area where terminology is confused and confusing. The Skills Builder Partnership is supporting us to do this by refining a consistent approach to these essential skills.

The essential skills are: Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

At St Thomas Aquinas, we are following the Framework which supports children to:

  • Understand their existing skills: Reflecting on where their essential skills currently are, and being able to identify any gaps they might have.


  • Join the dots: Using a consistent language and understanding of essential skills to understand how they are used and practiced in lots of different settings.


  • Capturing success: Seeing progress and being able to better articulate their skills.


  • See what progress looks like: Being able to see what the next steps are to improve their essential skills further.

Every half term, children will be introduced to one or two essential skills via an assembly, focused lesson or a social story. Children will have opportunities to develop in the skills across the curriculum.


Autumn 1: Aiming High and Staying Positive 

Autumn 2: Speaking and Listening

Spring 1: Home learning challenges linked to all skills to support well-being of all pupils

Click here to view home challenge        Click here to view school challenge

Summer: Problem Solving and Creativity 

Summer 2: Whole School Challenge using all skills 


Autumn 1: Teamwork


Each class displays the skills builder symbols. We have a whole school display that shows what the children now know, which shows clear progression of skills. 

Click here to view the progression of skills across the school document.