Essential Digital Skills CPD programme

The Department for Education (DfE) has introduced a new Essential Digital Skills (EDS) framework and associated national standards, which set out essential digital skills for life and work.

As of September 2020, adults aged 19+ with no or low digital skills are now entitled to take EDS qualifications free of charge under the Adult Education Budget, in line with existing entitlements for English and maths.

The new standards cover five areas:

  1. Using devices and handling information – using devices, finding and evaluating information, managing and storing information, identifying and solving technical problems
  2. Creating and editing – creating and editing documents and digital media, processing numerical data
  3. Communicating – communicating, sharing and managing traceable online activities
  4. Transacting – using online services, buying securely online
  5. Being safe and responsible online – protecting privacy and data, being responsible online, digital wellbeing.

ETF Enhance EDS Diagram

In 2019, DfE commissioned the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) to deliver the start of blended CPD programme to prepare teachers, trainers and leaders to deliver the new qualifications based on the standards. The ETF commissioned a team led by Sero Consulting with DESQ, Angela Sanders and SkillsLogic to deliver the programme, which was designed around a blended training model with four modes of delivery:

  • An interactive self-assessment tool to identify training needs, linked to training modules to respond to the differentiated spiky skills gap profiles of practitioners.
  • A series of 20 short online learning modules with teaching exemplars and advice on teaching contexts, as well as digital badges to recognise achievement.
  • Face-to-face training and online webinars to build confidence and share practice related to different teaching contexts.
  • Online community of practice to offer peer-to-peer support.

All online elements of the programme are hosted on the ETF’s Enhance Digital Teaching Platform alongside the ETF’s Educational Technology (EdTech) offer based on the Digital Teaching Professional Framework.

The first phase of the EDS workforce development programme was fully launched on 17 February 2020 and concluded on 31 March. It proved popular and interest in the online resources has continued.

The second phase of the Essential Digital Skills CPD programme has now launched, delivered by the same team and responding to feedback from the sector (click below for more information).


Essential Digital Skills CPD programme

A rich and diverse programme of training and professional development has been designed including the following core elements:


  • Understanding the EDS CPD programme for teachers/managers
  • EDS for leaders (Training the trainers)
  • Exploring EDS pathway-specific delivery: ESOL, Offender Learning, Preparation for Life and Work and SEND
  • Skills-focused sessions covering the five skills areas in the national standards

Community of practice:

  • Animating an online EDS community of practice
  • Engaging expert contributions including for pathway-specific areas
  • Running a number of live exchanges addressing Q&A topics

Pedagogy and evidence-based practice programme:

  • Roundtabe discussions and associated ‘thought pieces’ to foster discussion
  • Case studies to illustrate pedagogy and effective delivery of EDS
  • Pathway specific meetups for people working in ESOL, Offender Learning, Preparation for Life and Work and SEND contexts

EDS Pathways Diagram Graphic

Initially all CPD events will be hosted online but it is hoped to run some face-to-face events from January 2021 onwards.

To see the CPD events currently available and to book your place, please visit the ETF booking system.

The programme is supported by an Advisory Group including members of the original Consultation Group which helped to inform the design of the programme. The Advisory Group includes representatives from all the pathways indicated above.

All elements of the programme are fully-funded by the Department for Education and are therefore free to the sector.

Management Dashboard

For providers wishing to take advantage of the online Essential Digital Skills offer on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, there is a new Management Dashboard facility to enable tracking and reporting on staff progress completing EDS self-assessments and modules and gaining digital badges. This enables providers to harness the free resources on the platform as part of a structured CPD programme.

Subscription to the Management Dashboard is currently free for a period up to 31 January 2021. To subscribe please visit the ETF booking site.

Communication Tools

The following assets are available to help you raise awareness about the essential digital skills professional development programme in your organisation:

To keep in touch with the programme developments, please contact Sero Consulting.