This article charts the evolution of key skills from 'A Basis for Choice' to the present day. It is an annotated history of key skills and seeks to present a coherent view of how the current list emerged, and why issues such as formal assessment, integration and a two-tier skills structure have become part of post-16 reform. <br/><br/>The article examines the social, economic, political and philosophical influences on the evolution of key skills and, in particular, how the Dearing Report and current government thinking has been influenced by the thinking of R. H. Tawney. <br/><br/>The article identifies the emergence of a new compromise paradigm based on Tawney and concludes with a brief discussion on the likely future development of key skills within the context of a new flexible qualifications structure
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