The Missing Piece: The essential skills that education forgot

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The Missing Piece: The essential skills that education forgot

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No-one is better placed than Tom Ravenscroft to write this wake-up call to all those who work with young people, calling for an explicit focus to develop the non-academic skills that will be essential to thrive in the 21st Century


There is something fundamental missing in education. Knowledge and good grades are not enough.

All of us, whatever we do, need some essential skills which go beyond the academic - to work with others, to manage ourselves, to communicate effectively, and to creatively solve problems. We draw on them as much as numeracy or literacy.

So why, as an education system, don't we value these skills even as employers, universities and entrepreneurs cry out for them? Tom Ravenscroft reflects on a decade of building these skills through an award-winning social enterprise with over 150,000 children and young people to ask this critical question and more: Why are we so quick to presume these skills are innate, or just picked up along the way? How are they really built and how can we use this knowledge as teachers, parents, or even in our own lives?

And facing a future of automation when these skills are going to be paramount, what would it take to ensure that every student mastered them?

About the author

Tom founded Enabling Enterprise in 2009, whilst a business and enterprise teacher in Hackney in East London.

Enabling Enterprise is driven to fill a gap in education. It ensures that students of all backgrounds develop the broader essential skills, experiences of the working world and aspirations that they need to be successful, alongside good qualifications: Skills like teamwork, leadership and communication.

Now in its seventh year, Enabling Enterprise is working with over 85,000 students across the country. It works with a diverse group of 130 top employers, including global businesses, hospitals, airports and charities. Recently, Enabling Enterprise was named Education Partnership of the Year in the Education Investor awards.

Tom's work has been recognised with the Teach First Excellence Award, and he was also the 2009 UK Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year. Tom has also been recognised as one of the UK's leading social entrepreneurs by being elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2017.


“No-one is better placed than Tom Ravenscroft to write about the essential sills that our youngsters are failing to learn while at our schools and colleges. The Missing Piece is a clarion call, a well reasoned treatise that everyone involved in the teaching of young people cannot afford to ignore if we are to develop a workforce fit for the 21st Century.” Jo Owen, co-founder of Teach First

Additional Information

Author Tom Ravenscroft
ISBN 9781911382393
No of pages 302
Format Paperback
Publication Date 9 Oct 2017

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