thj3budxqeBritish Values, English, Maths, IT, Equality and Diversity…all of these are areas that we know our learners need to develop in many cases, (even if the learners don’t always identify this themselves!), and they are high priority areas for Ofsted. Sometimes it can seem that these extra challenges are drowning out the actual course content that learners have signed up for, whether that’s Art, Spanish, cookery, confidence-building or something else…but a new initiative from the Learning and Work Institute may just have lots of the answers.  Read on to find out more…

The Citizens’ Curriculum

Citizen’s Curriculum is an initiative run by The Learning and work Institute (formerly known as NIACE) in answer to the challenge of raising the basic skills of the adult population, in terms of English, maths and digital skills, as well as being able to engage with society, community and government. It is described as “an innovative, holistic approach to ensure everyone has the English, maths, digital, civic, health and financial capabilities they need”. The aim is to tap into what motivates adults to learn, ideally giving learners a voice in co-designing curriculum content and with careful contextualization in real-life situations, ensuring that more people are learning skills which are relevant to their lives and their work.  The idea is to work with local areas to commission a Citizens’ Curriculum approach as the Adult Education Budget is devolved to the regions and to work with providers to design provision that embeds this approach.

Two rounds of pilots have been conducted since 2014, including at Midlands providers (Derby Adult Learning Service and Leicester), and have found that there was a particularly positive impact on learners’ social and civic engagement as well as on the employability of those taking part, and there was a tangible cost saving to the public sector (such as to the local council, DWP, NHS etc)

The pilots have produced some fantastic resources that we would encourage you to use – see links below. For each capability there is a framework which includes 3 themes (usually moving from Personal to Community and Engagement) and suggested skills or activities grouped by levels (Entry – level 2, or consolidating – developing).  Many of these are activities which you could (or already do!) incorporate into your courses.  The framework helps to identify what you and your learners are already doing and how you can continue to stretch them in these areas. If you highlight what you are already doing naturally embedded in your course with learners, it is easy to see how comprehensively you cover these areas, and what you might do to improve or increase your coverage.


For the full suite of 6 capabilities and more info please follow the links below:

literacy-language numeracy health-capability financial-capability digital-capability civic-capability

For example the consolidating skills in the Civic capability curriculum include among others:


  • Communicate clearly
  • Assert oneself
  • Manage time effectively
  • Plan daily/weekly activities


Once learners are demonstrating these skills you could focus on other areas of the “consolidating” list such as:

  • Know how to vote
  • Be aware of local attractions
  • Know how to use local services


or move on to the developing skills such as:


  • Know about volunteering/working in the community
  • Understand the needs of others
  • Identify local government representatives and structure

or even the extending skills:


  • Recognise the benefits of diversity in the community
  • Engage appropriately with government services including giving feedback


Please look at these resources and let us know what you think. Are they useful?  Do they cover things you already do?  Are there useful suggestions of new things you could try?  Do the resources help you to demonstrate how you cover these areas? Any comments (via the comments box below) very welcome!


The ACL service will be looking at these resources in more detail over the next few months to look at how we can best embed them in our provision. Look out for more info soon!


British Values

In addition to the Civic Capability ideas given above, here are some more pointers to help tutors – whether you are still getting going with this, or whether you have already made some progress.

British Values and WFL/FEML in schools and Early Years settings: 

At the planning stage you should ask the school/teacher what is being delivered in the curriculum in terms of British Values (by year or class) and can then use this information to embed similar content in your sessions or use as a discussion point with parents.

All other provision:

We have asked you to talk to learners about British Values from the start of your courses at Induction, using the materials in the learner handbook and the poster, but it should be much more than this.

There will already be many examples of where your organisation and course are demonstrating British Values in action:

  • Democracy – learners being treated equally throughout the delivery of the course, sharing of views and decision making; turn-taking, learners have the opportunity to have their voices heard (end of course surveys, focus groups, involved in lesson evaluation, informing content of course etc)
  • Rule of law – Safer learning (classroom and online) – negotiating and following class rules/charter/learning rules, the importance of laws (associated to subject where relevant) or specific to laws in the classroom
  • Individual Liberty – Giving confidence and sharing experiences, choices that learners have as part of their learning, individual learning plans with individual goals, and the choices learners have at the end of the course as to next steps
  • Mutual respect & tolerance – the course should be an inclusive environment with support for learners, and mutual respect encouraged amongst peers. Making the most of the different learners that you have to explore differences and diversity where appropriate, celebrating different events through the year.

Diversity Calendar

Please see the electronic Diversity Calendar 2016/17 here which has details of a multitude of different events to celebrate including religious festivals, National awareness days and months eg Mental health Awareness day, Black History month etc. You can save this into your electronic calendar and so you always have up-and-coming events at your fingertips!

Useful websites for understanding British Values:

  • Parliament website – loads of resources – quizzes and CPD online opportunities
  • Early Years Curriculum
  • School websites – all have information on how they instil British Values

Yes, there is something to celebrate!!

At a time when we all perhaps need a little boost, here are a few collections which have recently highlighted the importance of Adult Education and how it has the power to transform lives. Why not take a few minutes and enjoy! – Festival of Learning National winners website – Festival of Learning 2016 winners film 3 mins 38 UCU campaign to understand and provide evidence of how the further education (FE) sector is vital in transforming lives and communities in 21st century Britain.


Other interesting blogs and websites:

Association of College blog On the power of Mindfulness – a very comprehensive site with some great ideas.  Richard Byrne send out a regular email with some of the best free ideas for using ILT in a range of subject areas, for example a site to create wordclouds for free – lots of fun! 100 ways to use a VLE (for college based tutors) or if you don’t have a ready-made VLE, you could do lots of these using a blog (wordpress or blogger) or Padlet. free website for quickly creating single frame comics. To get started with ToonyTool simply go to site and either upload a background picture or choose one of their background picture options. Then you can choose comic characters to appear in your comic. Once your characters are chosen, select speech bubbles and add some text. When you’re satisfied with your comic you can download it, print it, and or share it on social networks.

That’s all for now – please leave a comment below if you have found any of the ideas here useful, or if you have any other questions or feedback!


2 thoughts on “Embedded skills – how do I fit it all in? plus British Values, heart-warming videos and useful websites…

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