At the heart of the PSB are the core skills. The PSB is about challenging perceptions of school and developing a love of learning. This is best achieved by children developing a clear understanding of their skills and their areas for development. By focusing on the core skills children are best equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities of senior school life and beyond.




Thinking & Learning

Review & improvement


In ‘The Pearson Report’ Professor Roy Anderson made the following observations about the ‘Skills Gap’ and itemised a list of old world and new world skills; those new world skills are at the heart of the PSB.

Making education work

A report from an Independent Advisory Group chaired by Professor Sir Roy Anderson, January 2014

The ‘skills gap’ at 18 puts significant pressure on young people – requiring the acquisition of the necessary skills in the first year of employment or their first term of higher education. Young people should not themselves be held responsible for their lack of skills; it is a direct consequence of the academic focus of the education system. The lack of these skills is making the transition harder, and may have an impact on retention at university, and, more generally, the success of UK businesses.

 The modern workplace needs workers who have broad cognitive skills which include being able to solve complex interdisciplinary problems, thinking critically about work tasks, communicating effectively with people from a range of different cultures, being able to collaborate with others, and also being able to adapt to rapidly changing environments or conditions.

'Old World' skills

  • Learning one or two specific technical roles
  • Physical strength and flexibility
  • Ability to follow fixed, unchanging procedures
  • General attention to production and safety procedures
  • Following orders
  • Operating, maintaining, designing machinery

'New World' skills

  • Mechanical reasoning, logic trouble-shooting and spacial visualisation
  • Personal flexibility, communication, and cooperation
  • Initiative, persistence, and independence
  • Attention to detail, self-control, and dependability
  • Making independent decisions
  • Operating computers or computerised machinery and using computers for a wide range of critical functions

The principles put forward in the Pearson Report have been developed into a PSB 21st Century view of education.

19th / 20th Century Education

PSB 21st Century Education

The Core Skills Grid is used by all PSB schools, although adapted for different year groups. By developing an awareness of these skills across the curriculum, pupils are able to understand better their strengths and areas for development and become effective life-long learners. Below is an example of one used by New College School in Oxford.