John Lewis launches free practical skills programme


Following research by YouGov which suggests that young children struggling to learn practical skills from parents, John Lewis has launched practical skills programme Bringing Skills to Life.

The free programme is aimed at supporting development in primary school-aged children and will address skills gaps identified in the research, which surveyed 1,045 parents of children aged 16 or younger.

80 per cent of the parents surveyed felt cooking was the most important developmental area for children, with almost 1 in 4 parents (22 per cent) regretting not being better at it themselves. Many respondents considered imaginative storytelling (47 per cent) and public speaking (51 per cent) important skills for children and 1 in 3 parents (35 per cent) lamented not being better at speaking publicly.

John Lewis, which operate 39 shops across the UK, say they seek to inspire and support children‘s development of practical, creative and development skills and aim to work with more than 1,000 primary schools in its first year. The curriculum-aligned programme, written by educational experts, includes lesson plans for teachers and workshop and activity cards that can also be used by parents and volunteers.

The programme has been successfully trialled with eight schools nationwide, including Prospect Vale Primary School in Cheadle. Jan Novacki, Y3 teacher at Prospect Vale Primary, said: “The lesson immediately engaged the pupils; they were really enthusiastic about learning new practical skills. They gained confidence and felt that they had really achieved something.

“The programme is a lovely means of helping children to embrace their imagination and develop new skills that they can use in their everyday lives now and in the future. It‘s a useful curriculum-linked tool for teachers too.”

A dedicated website,, has been launched to support the scheme, which includes modules on: Design & Make, Cook & Share and Storytelling.

Christine Kasoulis, director, brand development at John Lewis, said: “We take our role as an active member of the community seriously and our community strategy is focussed on enhancing skills to create lasting change. Through each of our Bringing Skills to Life modules, we seek to provide a hands-on and inspiring platform to help build enthusiasm and knowledge of practical skills.”

The programme has received backing from the National Literacy Trust, the Design Museum and Wayne Hemingway MBE.