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.

At St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School, we are working with The Skills Builder Partnership to ensure every learner has opportunities to build eight essential skills to support them now and in the future. Research has shown that building these eight essential skills can support the emotional wellbeing and academic success of children and young people, as well as preparing them for life beyond school.

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 term, children will be introduced to two/three 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

Autumn 2: Leadership

Spring 1 Aiming High

Spring 2 Staying Positive 

Summer 1: Listening

Summer 2 Speaking


Whole School Skills Builder Challenge Day 2022

What an amazing day we had for our Skills Builder Challenge Day this week. Our challenge this year was to become entrepreneurs and set up our own new business. Over the course of the day, each class had the opportunity to work on all eight of the essential skills as they considered how to set up their own business. Our pupils also explored the world of entrepreneurship by designing, making and selling a range of souvenirs to show off the best aspects of their chosen country/city. The children showed outstanding skills throughout the day - we definitely have have future entrepreneurs in our midst!


Skills Builder has developed a Universal Framework that breaks each of the essential skills down into 16 teachable steps. We use this framework to teach and practise each of the eight skills at the appropriate level throughout school life.

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


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 and steps. 

Click here for additional  parent information